Guns n' Roses cancelled the Vancouver, B.C., opening date of their North American tour Thursday night, sparking an hour-long riot at GM Place arena.
After workers at the venue posted signs announcing the cancellation at 7:37 p.m., a crowd of thousands chanted "bullshit!" Some rioters then rammed steel barricades through the venue doors and box office windows, as well as threw rocks and fired bottle rockets at police, who responded with pepper spray and nightsticks. Police could not be reached for immediate comment, but News 1130 radio reported that between ten and twenty people were arrested.
According to a band spokeswoman, the cancellation was the result of technical difficulties on singer Axl Rose's plane, and Guns n' Roses' Friday night show in Tacoma, Washington, is expected to go on as scheduled. A representative from promoter Clear Channel Entertainment did not return calls Thursday night. The outing is the band's first American tour in nine years.
Fans, some of whom had traveled from as far away as Toronto and Calgary for the $80 show, largely blamed Axl Rose, the only remaining original member of Guns n' Roses, for the melee. "He tries to put on airs that he's changed, but he's not any different," said Beth Wood, twenty-one, of Toronto.
"He cancelled here before, twelve years ago, I think," said thirty-year-old Lori Hoffman of Vancouver. "I bought tickets both times. I'd be kind of reluctant to [do it again]. It's a waste of time."