By SHAWN POGATCHNIK / The Associated Press
DUBLIN (AP) — Axl Rose, it seems, needs a little more patience — and a much louder alarm clock.
The 48-year-old singer of U.S. hard-rock band Guns N’ Roses irritated thousands of his Dublin fans at the 02 Arena on Wednesday night by showing up nearly an hour late — a recurring problem on his band’s European tour — and then walking off after an unruly minority in the crowd hurled water bottles on the stage.
Most of the fans left, but Irish concert promoters MCD wouldn’t let Rose leave until he finished the gig. The band went back on stage an hour later to a mostly empty venue and didn’t stop playing until nearly 1 a.m.
MCD and the 02 issued a joint statement criticizing Rose for having “a long history for being late on stage,” but emphasized that “no artist should be subjected to missiles and unknown substances being thrown at them.”
Rose’s patience snapped after he warned the crowd to stop throwing things on stage.
“Here is the deal. One more bottle up here and we go. We don’t want to go. Your choice,” he told the crowd during an abrupt break to the band’s second song, “Welcome to the Jungle.”
But when introducing his other band members before a following number, up came another bottle — and off Rose went to a chorus of boos. “OK, that’s it. Good night. Have a nice evening,” he said.
Politicians called on the promoters to refund tickets that cost an average of €72 ($92). MCD declined to say whether anyone would get their money back.
“Reports say that the lights came on and the security people told concertgoers to go home. Confusion reigned and thousands of fans had left by the time the band came back again on stage to complete their set,” Irish senator Michael McCarthy said.
Rose is the only remaining original member of Guns N’ Roses, which was founded in Los Angeles in 1985 and achieved chart-topping successes with its first two albums, “Appetite for Destruction” in 1987 and the double-album “Use Your Illusion” in 1991.
The band effectively collapsed in the mid-1990s and Rose became a Malibu semi-recluse. He re-emerged in recent years with a completely new band that, after missing a decade of production deadlines, unveiled the album “Chinese Democracy” in 2008. It has received generally positive reviews but sold poorly compared to the band’s heyday.
The European tour has been marred by late starts.
At the first stop Aug. 27, an open-air festival in Reading, west of London, Guns N’ Roses arrived an hour late and had their microphones and amplifiers cut off by organizers during their encore.
Two nights later in the northern English city of Leeds, Guns N’ Roses again was ordered to cut its performance concert a half-hour short because of an hour-late start. The tour has 22 cities in 13 more countries to go.
Such tardiness is nothing new for Rose. Guns N’ Roses kept Irish fans waiting two extra hours during its 1992 European tour.