411 Report Of The Guns N’ Roses Incident At Reading
411’s own Daniel Wilcox was on the scene at the Reading Festival over the weekend when the whole Guns N’ Roses incident went down. Here’s his report:
The anti-Guns N’ Roses vibe around Reading Festival was evident even before the band took to the stage last Friday as the mere mention of their name by other bands was booed by the crowd. As previously reported, the band took to the stage one hour late for their set on Friday night, with the crowd entertaining themselves in the meantime with various anti-GN’R chants such as “Fuck Axl Rose! and “We want Slash!”
Reports that fans were dissatisfied with the setlist are somewhat unfounded however, as fewer tracks from Chinese Democracy were played in favor of the classics and many tracks from Appetite for Destruction. Fans were annoyed with Axl Rose’s frequent disappearances in order to change his outfit, something he did five or six times.
Clearly frustrated with the crowd’s lack of enthusiasm, Rose actually left the stage prior to the ending of penultimate track “Nightrain” after a foul-mouthed rant that ended with him saying he didn’t know why they’d bothered to show up and Rose telling the crowd “sorry, but fuck you.” After the band finished the track, Rose returned to the stage to continue his rant but it was at this point that his microphone was switched off. It took a good thirty seconds for Rose to realize this had happened despite the crowd mocking him. The band then attempted to play “Paradise City” before quickly realizing all of their instruments had been cut off.
Guitars were then broken and thrown into the crowd as the band left the stage, though drummer Frank Ferrer remained onstage and played the same monotonous drum beat for several minutes. Once the band returned numerous members of security and representatives of Festival Republic, the festival’s organizer, attempted to remove the band from stage.
At one point Rose very aggressively confronted a woman onstage who appeared to be a senior official of some kind. The band defiantly attempted to play using megaphones and acoustic guitars but this too was pretty unsuccessful though large portions of the crowd did get through a few choruses of “Paradise City.”
Other bands appearing at the festival criticized and/or mocked the band, notably blink-182, Arcade Fire, Lostprophets, Zebrahead, Kids in Glass Houses, Queens of the Stone Age and Marina and the Diamonds.
What no one seems to have mentioned however is that despite all of the controversy surrounding the performance, when they were playing, the band was absolutely phenomenal, Axl included, and I would recommend their live show to anyone who doesn’t mind waiting an hour or so to see one of the greatest frontmen of all time and his band.
The festival was further marred by technical difficulties throughout the weekend, including screens having to be removed leaving thousands with no view of the main stage, and The Libertines having to temporarily leave the stage when their sound was inexplicably cut off.
The full GN’R setlist went as follows:
1. Chinese Democracy
2. Welcome to the Jungle
3. It’s So Easy
4. Mr Brownstone
6. (Richard Fortus guitar solo)
7. Live and Let Die
8. This I Love
9. Rocket Queen
10. (Dizzy Reed piano solo)
11. Street of Dreams
12. You Could be Mine
13. (DJ Ashba guitar solo)
14. Sweet Child of Mine
15. (Axl Rose piano solo)
16. November Rain
18. Paradise City (sort of)