In my last post, explaining the hows and whys of the 1991 riot in St. Louis, there was so much information to cover that I had to leave out a few details. I’ll present them here because I think they are interesting and worth knowing about!
- During the course of the concert, Duff got nailed in the arm with a beer bottle, but didn’t want to tell Axl for fear he would stop the show.
Axl: Also, other things happened at the St. Louis gig that I wasn’t told about until two days after the gig. Duff didn’t want me to get excited.
Musician: Such as?
Axl: Such as Duff getting hit with a bottle twice during the show. Duff knows I would have called the show and he didn’t want to be responsible for whatever happened out of that. Duff’s attitude is, “I’m a man about things. I got hit with a bottle, big deal.” My attitude is that no, you don’t allow yourself to get hit by bottles because that encourages it in the future.Duff has the biggest bruise I’ve ever seen on an arm because he was hit by a bottle and he didn’t want to tell me onstage. If I had known that, we would have left the stage a lot earlier! And if it happens another night, we will leave again! [Musician “There’s a Riot Going On” Sept 1991]
- Guns N’ Roses contract at the time guaranteed at least a 90 minute show. Axl said they had met that obligation by the time he left. Concert footage on YouTube clocks in at 84 minutes, but I’m not sure if it had been edited down or whether 6 minutes makes that big of a difference in the end. GNR wasn’t sued for breach of contract, so all parties must have deemed it acceptable.
- Guns N’ Roses could not be legally held liable for damages because, according to the performance contract, if a venue sold alcohol on the premises, the band was then not responsible.
- The venue — Riverport Amphitheater (now called Verizon Wireless Amphitheater) — had only been open for two weeks prior to the Guns concert. Previous shows included the likes of Jimmy Buffet, Steve Winwood, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Mannheim Steamroller. Not exactly in the realm of GNR.
I [writer Babu Barat] had interviewed Gregg Hagglund from Contemporary Productions and asked him how Contemporary was going to prepare for a Guns N’ Roses crowd. He said, “We will be prepared. I don’t think, initially, that we’re going to change a lot of things. I think that the party revelers will respect the environment that they are in. It will be a lot bigger crowd. There will be a lot more of them. Those will be the only differences in terms of how we treat the crowd. We will just have more people to deal with, more customers.”
Axl’s response? “That’s not very intelligent.” [Musician Sept 1991]
- Because of the destruction to the stage, instruments, and equipment, Guns N’ Roses had to cancel their next two shows in Chicago and Kansas City to give the crew time to make repairs and for the band to secure new equipment. The tour resumed in Dallas on 8 July 1991.
- Stump admits to sneaking in not only the infamous camera, but also a knife and bottle of whiskey, “like I always have.”
- Once the settlement was reached between Stump and Axl and court adjourned, Stump approached Axl in the courtroom with his book of photographs and asked for an autograph. Axl — as can be imagined — wasn’t particularly enthusiastic, but he did sign it.
- About three years ago, a mini-documentary was made about the riot from the perspective of the venue staff and Stump. Scenes from the riot itself are also included. It can be seen here: Welcome to the Riot Show.
- Inexplicably, Axl’s hair and eye color are wrong on his St. Louis mugshot (correct answer: red and green).
- I mentioned in the previous post that Axl had a special shirt made to express his feelings on the whole incident. The shirt hadn’t been revealed yet by the time Axl participated in a November 1991 Rockline radio interview when a fan from St. Louis called in to ask Axl to justify his little addition to the liner notes of the Use Your Illusion albums. Axl’s answer can be heard here.
- Unrelated to St. Louis, but perhaps interesting to note is that, had Erin not suffered a miscarriage the previous fall, Axl would have been welcoming his newborn child into the world in July 1991. He never spoke publicly about it besides a slight mention in an interview about the altercation with his neighbor, but it’s possible he had “done the math” and that this played into his state of mind that month.
- July 1991 continued to be a difficult month as audience goers in Dallas pelted the stage with bottles; the band was met with a less-than-receptive crowd in Salt Lake City; in Tacoma, someone set off bottle rockets during “Rocket Queen;” before one of the shows at The Forum in L.A., a police officer detained Axl’s limo on the way to the concert and wrote them a ticket after another officer had directed them to take that particular route.
I hope these additional details help round out the entire riot scenario. It was a big, complicated night!