July 2, 1991: Guns N’ Roses Concert Riot

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In the midst of the Guns N’ Roses Use Your Illusion tour – which at over two years is among the longest rock tours ever – Axl Rose got upset at an unauthorized photographer in the audience snapping pictures at a concert on July 2, 1991, at the Riverport Amphitheater just outside of St. Louis. Part way through the 15th number in the set, “Rocket Queen,” he points to the lensman and orders security guards: “Hey, take that! Take that! Now, get that guy and take that!” Frustrated at no response, he jumps offstage into the crowd, tackles the photographer and grabs the camera as the rest of the band plays on.

Pulled back up onstage by the group’s crew, Rose barks into his microphone, “Due to the lame ass security, I’m going home!” He then slams the mike down onto the stage and as he stalks offstage says to the band, “We’re outta here.” The rest of the group soon follows.

When it became obvious after some 20 minutes that the band wasn’t going to return, the house lights came on and roadies began to clear the group’s gear from the stage. Crowd members began to pelt them with a hail of bottles and cans, then stormed the stage, started destroying equipment and the stage and got into a fracas with security guards and roadies. The rampage of destruction and fights between fans and guards and police spread throughout the hall and out into the parking lot. Some 500 police officers were eventually called in, 60 people were hospitalized and 15 arrested. Charges were filed against Rose for inciting a riot which a judge later threw out, saying he wasn’t responsible for the incident.

Watch a documentary on the incident

Related: 10 memorable rock concert riots

Check here and here for Guns N’ Roses concert tickets.

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