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20 years later - why was 2002 tour cancelled?


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I have been browsing thru my old clip outs collection recently. The 2002 era of the band is my fondest but the band received the worst press ever. The first and the last shows of the tour were cancelled and ended in riots. The band had court gag orders and couldn't comment why the tour was scraped after just a month. But that was 20 years ago and maybe today somebody knows what really happened, why the tour ended after the two best shows, the Boston 2002 and MSG 2002 (sold out) ?

 

I have a hard time believing Axl was a no show in Philly because he'd much rather watch NBA on TV, especially since the same rumour has already been re-hashed many times talking about the UYI tour.

 

Low attendances, around 7k per night, don't seem much lower than 2008-2013 US tours.

 

My theory is, the album was ready to be released in 2002/2003, which prompted Axl to tour behind it. But then something didn't go his way and he wanted to punish the recording company by his usual "I won't promote this record unless you do what you are told", so he refused to hit the stage. Same reason it took him a year to start touring behind Chinese in 2008.

 

Does anybody know? Has any ex members spoken?

 

 

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12 minutes ago, whatashame said:

I have been browsing thru my old clip outs collection recently. The 2002 era of the band is my fondest but the band received the worst press ever. The first and the last shows of the tour were cancelled and ended in riots. The band had court gag orders and couldn't comment why the tour was scraped after just a month. But that was 20 years ago and maybe today somebody knows what really happened, why the tour ended after the two best shows, the Boston 2002 and MSG 2002 (sold out) ?

 

I have a hard time believing Axl was a no show in Philly because he'd much rather watch NBA on TV, especially since the same rumour has already been re-hashed many times talking about the UYI tour.

 

Low attendances, around 7k per night, don't seem much lower than 2008-2013 US tours.

 

My theory is, the album was ready to be released in 2002/2003, which prompted Axl to tour behind it. But then something didn't go his way and he wanted to punish the recording company by his usual "I won't promote this record unless you do what you are told", so he refused to hit the stage. Same reason it took him a year to start touring behind Chinese in 2008.

 

Does anybody know? Has any ex members spoken?

 

 

Axl commented at the 2012 UCAP Philly show that he had cancelled the show in the early hours of that morning as he was sick, but his manager didn't tell the correct parties/promoter or something. If you have the Bootleg, it's right before You Could Be Mine.

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3 hours ago, Dean said:

Axl commented at the 2012 UCAP Philly show that he had cancelled the show in the early hours of that morning as he was sick, but his manager didn't tell the correct parties/promoter or something. If you have the Bootleg, it's right before You Could Be Mine.

Which seems like bullshit because they played MSG that night and he was fine (and he went to some club in the early morning and there was some controversy over his fur coat if I recall). 
 

something happened and I’m willing to bet it was Axl being Axl and not him having a case of the sniffles.  If you look at the tour itinerary, he was often in a different city than the band. He was basically flying into all the shows froM Chicago or New York

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2 minutes ago, BillConnor_1982 said:

Which seems like bullshit because they played MSG that night and he was fine (and he went to some club in the early morning and there was some controversy over his fur coat if I recall). 
 

something happened and I’m willing to bet it was Axl being Axl and not him having a case of the sniffles.  If you look at the tour itinerary, he was often in a different city than the band. He was basically flying into all the shows froM Chicago or New York

Ha, aye, he also makes reference to the fur coat at the 2012 show. I can't remember that reason right enough, but sounds about right for 2002 Guns N' Roses!

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I wouldn’t subscribe to the label/album thing. He already said the infamous words “I don’t know if soon is the word”… 

He was flying into the city the evening of the shows and going on hours late. It probably wasn’t the first time he said he was sick or couldn’t perform if that’s the story. It was most likely a disorganized mess plus everyone around him thinking the show would still go on. 
 

Philly just isn’t one of those cities to pull that with. They reacted to the news after being toyed around for the evening. Perfect storm happened and that was it. 2 riots were enough for the promoter. They knew a late cancellation would most likely happen again.
 

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice??? It’s a shame because they were cooking and performing well by Boston and NYC 

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thanks for the replies, guys

 

man, this must be mighty irritating dealing with Axl. The guy is just never to blame but in reality he rarely ever does the right thing. No show in Tacoma 02 ? "I would've gotten there eventually". No show in Philly 02? "I cancelled, but my manager forgot to tell ya". No show in Europe 2001? "My manager forgot to tell me we have a tour". And shit never changed, I was watching 2017 Munich the other day and he said "haven't played here since 1993. Promoter's fault".

 

how do fuck you get sick on a tour anyway? you're on the job, take care of yourseful, fool, earn the money, promote the record so you can have a fuckin mini zoo at home, don't go out drinkin all night on tour so you call in sick the morning of the show and blame Dougie for it. People travel, people make arrangements, babysiters, shit like that , uugh

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8 minutes ago, guitarpatch said:

I wouldn’t subscribe to the label/album thing. He already said the infamous words “I don’t know if soon is the word”… 

He was flying into the city the evening of the shows and going on hours late. It probably wasn’t the first time he said he was sick or couldn’t perform if that’s the story. It was most likely a disorganized mess plus everyone around him thinking the show would still go on. 
 

Philly just isn’t one of those cities to pull that with. They reacted to the news after being toyed around for the evening. Perfect storm happened and that was it. 2 riots were enough for the promoter. They knew a late cancellation would most likely happen again.
 

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice??? It’s a shame because they were cooking and performing well by Boston and NYC 

This.

As @Dean stated, the official story from Axl was he was sick. At the 2012 show in Philly, Axl even said something like "it wasn't basketball games, it wasn't fur coats". He even obliquely referenced the basketball rumor in the 2008 chats. Someone asked him about being late and he said something along the lines of "I've always been that way. It drove Izzy nuts, but he'd  usually check himself and admit I was doing something important or prepping for the show and not just watching basketball." (Although we've heard from numerous other folks Axl really does just kind of dick around before shows). Also, the whole "I did the right thing, it was the manager who didn't pass along the message" seems to be a fallback for Axl.

My guess would be that even with "big" shows in Boston and New York City, the sluggish sales in other markets couldn't justify the two different riots, which probably chilled some folks' desire to even attend the shows. Easier just to pull the plug. As for why the radio silence, that would not be unusual if litigation was being prepared. I'd also guess the contract itself prevented anyone (including Axl) from talking about what happened. 

When the "Eat My Silkworms" guy met Axl in 2006, apparently Axl was very open about how, after the tour got cancelled, he fell into a deep depression and sometimes didn't get out of bed for days. 

Whatever happened, he kicked ass at that 2012 return show. 

Edited by themadcaplaughs
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I was at the Philly show and have always been fascinated with what happened.

I can fully believe Axl cancelled it the night before, the manager didn't cancel it, and then all hell broke loose.

What I found lame was Axl's interpretation of "Clear Channel wanted the tour to fail because they had some shit going in Florida."

I hate that we'll never really know. 

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I don't doubt Axl said that but I call it bullshit right away. Fakkin poor baby Axl was hard done by and got depressed. Bullshit ,man, he screwed up his own tour and he has nobody else to blame. As for not getting out for days, yea, that's Axl 1994-2009. Stayin at home, not going out for days, being fat and rich and lazy but not being man enough to admit it. If he had , advances would've stopped coming it and that's free money for that guy

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12 minutes ago, themadcaplaughs said:

When the "Eat My Silkworms" guy met Axl in 2006, apparently Axl was very open about how, after the tour got cancelled, he fell into a deep depression and sometimes didn't get out of bed for days. 

I remember reading this, but not where. Do you have a link to this?

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20 minutes ago, BangoSkank said:

I remember reading this, but not where. Do you have a link to this?

You'd have to search various treads. I could not even begin to tell you where to look. I also remember him saying that Del James was circling the two of them and kept trying to butt in and pull Axl away when he started opening up. Apparently after the third time Del tried to remove Axl, Axl said something like "if you bother us again you're on your own the rest of the night". 

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56 minutes ago, themadcaplaughs said:

When the "Eat My Silkworms" guy met Axl in 2006, apparently Axl was very open about how, after the tour got cancelled, he fell into a deep depression and sometimes didn't get out of bed for days. 

That Axl was struggling mentally at the time was also heavily rumoured in the press.

Earl Gabbidon would also deny the basketball rumour.

More here: (6) 24. NOVEMBER 2002-APRIL 2004: THE TOUR BREAKS DOWN, THE END OF GUNS N' ROSES? (a-4-d.com)

And here: (6) 24. NOVEMBER 2002-APRIL 2004: THE TOUR BREAKS DOWN, THE END OF GUNS N' ROSES? (a-4-d.com)

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53 minutes ago, whatashame said:

thanks for the replies, guys

 

man, this must be mighty irritating dealing with Axl. The guy is just never to blame but in reality he rarely ever does the right thing. No show in Tacoma 02 ? "I would've gotten there eventually". No show in Philly 02? "I cancelled, but my manager forgot to tell ya". No show in Europe 2001? "My manager forgot to tell me we have a tour". And shit never changed, I was watching 2017 Munich the other day and he said "haven't played here since 1993. Promoter's fault".

 

how do fuck you get sick on a tour anyway? you're on the job, take care of yourseful, fool, earn the money, promote the record so you can have a fuckin mini zoo at home, don't go out drinkin all night on tour so you call in sick the morning of the show and blame Dougie for it. People travel, people make arrangements, babysiters, shit like that , uugh

You can obviously get sick on tour. It does affect things.

I’m also guessing that managers and promoters have heard their share of this person is not feeling great, something’s not right, let’s cancel the show as well. Not just from Axl but from other artists. Enough that it’s a wait and see until it actually happens on some circumstances 

He very well could have said to cancel the show. He could also very well had said that before half of the shows on that tour 

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47 minutes ago, whatashame said:

I don't doubt Axl said that but I call it bullshit right away. Fakkin poor baby Axl was hard done by and got depressed. Bullshit ,man, he screwed up his own tour and he has nobody else to blame. As for not getting out for days, yea, that's Axl 1994-2009. Stayin at home, not going out for days, being fat and rich and lazy but not being man enough to admit it. If he had , advances would've stopped coming it and that's free money for that guy

That's pretty rough, even if we are talking Axl. I mean, I'm not sure if you've ever experienced depression but it beats the hell out of you. You can't really just say "wah, wah! poor rich rockstar" all that stuff means diddly squat if you're depressed!

As for the dates, yeah I mean Axl was not ready for the road, reviews were so, so! there were riots and Axl was being Axl and turning up late as if it was 1992 and he was still the biggest rockstar in the world. he screwed up, but I'm sure he didn't see it that way. I'm sure he thought "I would have played the show, so what if I was little late".... which he basically said in his press release when he said he was in the air when the concert got pulled.

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1 minute ago, jamillos said:

Has there been any suggestion regarding an explanation as to why the whole rest of the tour was cancelled, though? We're talking about some 15 dates here. 

Promoter pulled it. 2 riots were enough 

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I'm always interested to hear about the period of 1994-2000 but late 2002-early 2006 is a 2nd recluse period that doesn't get talked about enough. After high profile the 2002 VMAs were and the ensuing Fall tour, Axl disappears again. In the middle of this he does voiceover work for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as DJ Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith. Welcome to the Jungle is also used heavily in the ads for the game. His first appearance since the aborted 2002-2003 tour is at a Korn tour launch party on January 13, 2006

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There were various different rumours in the press about what caused Axl's no show in Philadelphia: Axl watching a basketball game; the fur coat incident; the shows not selling well and Axl saying that the MSG show was the best they could do in that regard; Axl struggling with serious mental health issues and having his psychiatrist on tour, who advised him to continue performing, but Axl couldn't take it anymore and wanted to go to a mental hospital for treatment.

The mental health story is the most plausible (regardless of whether every detail in it was true), combined with another rumour about what specifically happened earlier that day: Axl was in great mood after the MSG show -  it had been sold out and gone really well - and stayed up, excited to read the reviews. But then he put oHoward Stern on the radio and when they were discussing the MSG show, Stern's producer, who was there, said that Axl was lip-synching, and hearing that caused Axl to have a nervous breakdown.

As @SoulMonster mentioned, in an interview (which was taken down as fake but was most likely real) shortly after the fact, Axl's bodyguard, Earl, said that Axl was dealing with emotional problems, didn't deny the mental hospital story, and stated that Axl cancelled the show early on, but the promoter went on with it (that's similar to what Axl himself said in 2012).

After the riot, the promoter, Clear Channel, cancelled the rest of the tour. The Philadelphia events in combination with the tour cancellation were followed by a lot of extremely negative press. Industry people were saying that it was the end for Axl and that no one would book a tour for him anymore or at least for a few years. And, of course, there were lawsuits (Axl said in 2012 that he had been sued for everything he said), which were still going until at least 2005.

Edited by Blackstar
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1 minute ago, mystery said:

Did Axl ever go on Howard Stern again after Stern's producer said this? Also how long was his bodyguard Earl employed by him? I'm surprised he was still there in the early 2000s.

Axl hasn't been on Stern since 1990. I don't think he would ever go there again, although you never really know.

Yes, Earl was still Axl's bodyguard in 2002. He wasn't there for the 2006 tour.

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I believe the mental health and possibly checking himself in to a hospital or something after msg. The pressure he was under and fighting a losing battle with the press. I don't blame him. One sighting in 2003 and nothing till 2006 after that, aside from some strip club visits. 

The bands comments were vague between 2003 and 2005, I really don't think much work was done on the album and Guns was pretty much on hiatus. 

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