Guns n’ Roses’ St. Louis Riot Was 25 Years Ago Today
Today marks the 25th anniversary of an infamous day in St. Louis concert history. In only its third show EVER, the oft-renamed Riverport Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights (then UMB Bank Pavilion, then Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, then Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre) welcomed Guns n’ Roses as part of 1991’s Use Your Illusion tour (with opening act Skid Row).
Though the legendary band was notorious for showing up to shows late (and often intoxicated), the St. Louis show seemed to go off without a hitch for at least the first hour and a half.
And then this happened…
About halfway through “Rocket Queen” from Appetite for Destruction, Axl Rose spotted a fan in the crowd with a home video camera (such cameras were much easier to spot in 1991). And after concert security wasn’t quick enough to act (give ‘em a break, it was their third day!) Axl took matters into his own hands, leaped into the crowd, de-camera’d the amateur photog, crawled back on stage, cursed out security, and left. End of show.
And people freaking lost it!
I’ll let MTV News anchors Kurt Loder and...I’ll say…Dorothy Hamill explain what happened…
Approximately 2,000 of the 17,000 in attendance rushed the stage, tore up the turf, the chairs, and pretty much the entire venue as a whole…again, this stuff was BRAND NEW. Over 60 people were injured in the commotion including my aunt who suffered a broken leg in what was dubbed the “Guns n’ Roses Riot” (which automatically makes her cooler than your aunt). The melee went on well into the night until approximately 2:30 am. By that time, GNR was somewhere on 55 North on route to their Chicago tour stop…which was cancelled.
I saw Slash with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators back in 2013 and I remember him doing the general concert banter of “It’s always great coming back to ________” (in this case “St. Louis”). Neither he nor the audience could stop themselves from laughing at the absurd irony of this scripted address.
You want to know what GNR really thinks of St. Louis? Check out the liner notes on Use Your Illusion. Sorry, but the recently sort of reunited GNR ain't coming to town any time soon.
And if you have seven-and-a-half minutes to spare, check out this guy’s (extremely low quality) video from some of the news coverage from that night. It’s actually pretty captivating.