If you believe in the old adage “better late than never,” this has some meaning. If you subscribe to the “too little, too late” school of thought, however, then it probably doesn’t.
Guns N’ Roses screamer Axl Rose used his band’s February 27 show at Philadelphia’s Electric Factory to belatedly apologize for blowing off a gig a decade ago at the city’s First Union Center in a city he claims to love (see video below).
The infamous gig – or non-gig as it turned out to be – apparently happened back in December 2002 at the Philly basketball/hockey arena now known as the Wells Fargo Center.
According to fan postings on YouTube accompanying the video recorded at Monday's show - and corroborated by Ultimate Classic Rock - when GN’R failed to show by 11:15 pm that fateful December night, the concert was cancelled, prompting frustrated audience members to throw chairs and damage to the building.
Speaking between songs in Philly on Monday night, Rose rambled for a few minutes about the 2002 debacle, alluding to unspecified illness for his not being there (other reports had indicated the band was still in New York from the previous night’s gig).
He then goes on to blame his former manager and then-promoter Clear Channel for what he felt were counterproductive actions during that tour.
“So it’s good to be here with you people tonight,” Rose says in conclusion. “I want to apologize for my part of that [situation]. … I’m not saying I’m innocent.”
You know, just once it would be cool if Axl Rose could take responsibility for himself and his actions. Duff McKagan certainly came clean about the silliness of early Guns N’ Roses tours in his memoir last year; it would be amazing if Rose did the same.
Rock stars that can’t even turn up on time for a gig show profound contempt for their audiences, who buy tickets, travel to venues and hire babysitters to support the musicians they love. An honest apology – or better yet, playing the original gig as scheduled – was the way to go.
Nice try Axl. Then again, as one commentator on YouTube noted, Rose has “been giving fans awesome music for 20 years,” which is fair enough. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame here they come!