Welcome To The Bungle: The Top 5 Guns N' Roses Riots
"The World's Most Dangerous Band." That was the tag applied to Guns N' Roses in their late '80s heyday, and though the smacked-out bad boys of Appetite for Destruction have largely mellowed into comfortable, safe middle age, Axl's crew can still lay a claim as legit as any to the title. Not for their most recent music, mind you -- although Chinese Democracy is banned in the People's Republic. The Gunners retain the top spot on the danger scale thanks to their ongoing legacy of inspiring spontaneous mayhem and destruction wherever they play (or don't play, as it happens).
More literal than metaphorical.
In an effort to prepare H-Town for the worst when Axl and, uh, the other guys shimmy into Toyota Center on November 4, Rocks Off has compiled a list of GNR's most memorable civil disturbances. If you dare attend, be aware of your surroundings: When seats start raining down from the Lexus Lounge, do yourself a favor and grab the first pedicab back to the 'burbs.
5. No Photos, Please
Guns N' Roses' first riot also happens to be one of the band's most memorable. The concert took place at St. Louis' Riverport Amphitheatre during Guns' marathon Use Your Illusion tour. A bit of a control freak at the best of times, Axl made little secret that he was unimpressed by the venue's security. By some accounts, the band had to contend with fans grabbing their ankles and throwing bottles at the stage. Already on edge, when Rose spotted an amateur photographer snapping away at him from the front row during "Rocket Queen," the singer snapped, too.
After his commands to security that the camera be confiscated were ignored, he dove into the crowd to take matters into his own hands. After landing a few blows, the singer stormed back on stage and told the crowd, "Thanks for the lame-ass security! I'm going home," and disappeared. When it became apparent that the show wouldn't continue, the amphitheater crowd went ballistic, tearing seats out of the floor and destroying the band's gear. Pretty much everything that wasn't welded down was hurled at the stage while the rest of the band, unsure what had happened, hid in the wings.
Chaos reigned in the venue for nearly an hour before police in riot gear finally got the situation under control. When all was said and done, 90 people were injured and 16 were arrested. The incident made world news and solidified the band's reputation for danger. To this day, more than a few St. Louis residents still have the wreckage they took home as a souvenir of one of GNR's most infamous concerts.
4. The Lingerie Model Riot
It isn't just the punters in the cheap seats with an appetite for destruction. International A-listers sometimes show up at GNR shows ready to kick the windows out of cop cars, too. Just last March, during the band's tour of South America, the Gunners were booked to play an exclusive nightclub gig in Sao Paulo, Brazil, that turned into a violent melee resulting in $60,000 worth of damage.
The band was apparently scheduled to play a "secret" show at a local club hosted by lingerie model Ana Beatriz Barros and friends, but word of the gig quickly spread via Facebook and Twitter, leading to a mass of party crashers showing up. It's not clear if Guns ever actually intended to play the gig, but by the time 3 a.m. rolled around with no sign of the band, the billionaires and celebrities in attendance got a little antsy. When it was finally announced that Guns N' Roses wouldn't be playing, the rich and beautiful folks in the crowd erupted, charging the stage, destroying furniture and equipment, and swinging bottles and fists at anything that moved. Possibly GNR's most bizarre civil incident, the "Lingerie Model Riot" proved conclusively that pretty people like to smash shit, too.
3. Argentine Aggression
Not all Guns N' Roses riots are perpetrated by the fans inside the venue. At least 12 people were arrested on March 22, 2010, after legions of metal heads without tickets tried to bum rush the band's concert at Velez Stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina. According to media reports, many of the pissed-off headbangers had purchased counterfeit tickets on the Internet.
The mayhem began when fans left stuck outside the stadium started getting rowdy and hurling bottles. A tad spooked, perhaps, by the throng of angry rock fans, members of Argentina's federal police infantry opened fire, using gas and rubber bullets to disperse the unruly crowd before it could tear down the gates. By all accounts, this action was unappreciated by the rioters. How bad did things get before the throng was put down? Firefighters were called to the scene after a tree was set ablaze. Not even plant life is safe from Guns N' Roses!