When Guns N’ Roses announced they were going on tour this fall after a nine-year hiatus, fans of the heavy metal band snapped up tickets. Axl Rose was back and there was talk of a new album.
But the comeback has been no “Paradise City.”
Rose, the mercurial frontman whose disappearing acts have long irritated fans, failed to show up for the opening show Nov. 7 in Vancouver, prompting thousands of ticket holders to riot outside the venue. The band was a no-show again last week in Philadelphia, and fans got unruly.
By then it became apparent that the “Chinese Democracy” tour was finished. On Wednesday, promoter Clear Channel Entertainment made it official: The rest of the tour has been scrapped. Clear Channel didn’t offer a reason.
The group’s management, Sanctuary, referred all calls Thursday to Guns N’ Roses’ label, Interscope Geffen A&M, which declined comment.
“In a strange way, this tour has been very reflective of pretty much everything that has happened to the band since about 1992,” said Chuck Klosterman, a senior writer at Spin magazine.
Led by Rose’s screeching vocals and Slash’s fiery guitar, Guns N’ Roses broke onto the scene in 1987 with the hugely successful “Appetite for Destruction.”
Containing the hits “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Paradise City” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” the album was filled with rage, paranoia and profanity, and provided a glimpse into the excesses of a band rising through the ranks of Los Angeles’ burgeoning metal scene.
But Guns N’ Roses was plagued by a series of ugly episodes. Drug and alcohol abuse was rampant, band members had numerous scrapes with the law, and Rose’s volatility and eccentricities put a strain on the group.
Still, the band managed to carry over the success of “Appetite” into the 1991 “Use Your Illusion” double set. The album and ensuing world tour enhanced its popularity, but infighting persisted and band members parted ways in the mid-1990s.
Rose became a recluse and reportedly began work on the long-running “Chinese Democracy” project.
All the while, Guns N’ Roses followers held out hope for a reunion.
That sort of happened this year, when a new core of band members played a boisterous, surprise finale at the MTV Video Music Awards in August. A new tour was announced; Rose and keyboard player Dizzy Reed were the only holdovers from the “Use Your Illusion” days. (Rose is the lone original member.)
Then, however, came the Vancouver no-show, which a band spokesman blamed on poor weather in Los Angeles that held up Rose’s flight. In Philadelphia, a promoter said the cancellation was because of an illness by a band member.
The band also was playing to thin crowds in venues they would have sold out a decade ago, Klosterman said. “They just must be losing money hand over fist,” he said.
One bright spot was a Madison Square Garden show earlier this month that won critics’ praise and sold out quickly.
Interscope Geffen A&M would not comment on whether a new album is planned.