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Fan Loses Patience With Axl's Late Start


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TITLE: Fan Loses Patience With Axl's Late Start

SOURCE: Chronicle Herald

DATE: Nov. 21, 2006

Fan loses patience with Axl’s late start

By GREG GUY Entertainment Editor

Mary MacDonald is furious with promoters of the Guns N’ Roses sold-out concert coming to the Halifax Metro Centre tonight.

The Halifax woman learned on Saturday that Axl Rose and his band will not take the stage until after 11 p.m.

"I’m in a wheelchair and if Axl Rose doesn’t go on stage until 11, we probably won’t get out of there until around 1 a.m. I have no way home because Access-A-Bus doesn’t pick up its clients after 11:30 p.m.," a disappointed MacDonald said Saturday night.

"There is no public transit for people coming into the concert by bus.

"I feel I was misled by the promoters and as a ticket buyer I’m more than upset. We should have been told he goes on at such a late time. The ticket buyers have a right to know."

The concert, presented by Gillett Entertainment Group, was announced in September and has an 8 p.m. start.

Since then, opening acts like Toronto’s Die Mannequin and an "alternative-burlesque show" called Suicide Girls were announced. Last week, Antigonish-bred rockers the Trews were also added as openers.

MacDonald said she kept checking the website and learned of the opening acts. She said when she saw three acts she got concerned about her transportation fromthe concert and decided to call the box office on Saturday.

"I wanted to see Axl Rose as far back as the ’80s. This was my chance and I was so excited I’d finally get to see him and now there’s no way. With everything that’s going on downtown these days, I can’t be walking home at one in the morning."

On Sunday she attempted to contact other means of transportation to get her home.

"I tried Casino taxi, which apparently has a wheelchair-accessible van, as well as Need A Lift, a local van service for wheelchair-users, but neither service is available after midnight. So, I’m stuck with having to cancel my ticket. If I could wring Axl Rose’s neck, I’d probably do so," she said on Sunday.

Scott Ferguson, executive vice-president of Trade Centre Ltd., said Sunday they had just found out within the last day that Guns N’ Roses would go on later than expected.

"The whole show starts at 8, he’s got three acts and he should have been going on the stage around 10:30 or 10:45," Ferguson said. "He should have been off the stage and people would have been out on the street by 1 a.m. . . . But what we’re hearing from Quebec last night and Ottawa and Toronto is that he’s been going on as late as 11:50 p.m, and he has been getting off the stage as late as 2:15 a.m. And he’s been off the stage other times before 2 o’clock."

Ferguson said when they are approached by promoters to put on concerts, they usually come with an estimate of when the ending time might be.

"But it often depends on the headline act and the decision they take once they get onstage as to what time they finish," he said."So it’s not uncommon for a show to finish later, it rarely finishes early. They often will finish late and they often will finish very late, but we really don’t have anyway of knowing that.

"The problem is with live concerts they are very unique experiences," said Ferguson. "Every concert is unique and we can’t control all the decisions. We try to control the safety and security side of it and it’s very difficult for us to control other issues."

After the band’s concert last Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre, Toronto Sun reporter Jane Stevenson wrote in her review that Guns N’ Roses didn’t hit the stage until 11:40 p.m.

"By the time the Gunners had started, at 11:40 p.m. — who else does this on a weeknight at an arena? — the audience was more than ready to rock despite the (centre) not being completely sold out," Stevenson wrote.

The review was published under the headline: "Patience pays off — to some extent — after long wait at the ACC."

Guns N’ Roses kicked off its Chinese Democracy tour Oct. 24 in Florida. Earlier this month they cancelled a show in Portland Maine., reportedly after being told they couldn’t drink on stage.

MacDonald says now that her transportation from the concert is not possible, she will have to cancel her ticket.

"There are people who are going to be arriving at the concert that are completely unaware of this. There will be people stuck with no way to get home," she said. "I live at Quinpool and I’m not having someone pushing me home in my wheelchair at that hour of the morning."

MacDonald said her son will still go to the concert tonight.

"I told him to enjoy it for both of us," she said. "But I am a very deeply disappointed Guns N’ Roses fan."


’I wanted to see Axl Rose as far back as the ’80s. This was my chance and I was so excited I’d finally get to see him and now there’s no way.’



TITLE: Disabled Fan Gets Ride

DATE: Nov. 24, 2006

Disabled GNR fan gets ride

By GREG GUY Entertainment Editor

Mary MacDonald’s dream of seeing Guns N’ Roses was to be fulfilled on Monday night.

"I got a drive to and from the concert," the happy Halifax woman said Monday. "Kevin, the owner of Need-A-Lift, offered to take me there and pick me up."

MacDonald, who is confined to a wheelchair, thought her hopes were dashed when she found out the band didn’t go onstage until after 11 p.m., meaning the concert would get out between 1 and 2 a.m. and her original transportation, Access-A-Bus, would have ended its run.

When MacDonald called Need-A-Lift on Sunday to book a ride, she was told they ended their service at midnight.

After a story appeared in The Chronicle Herald on Monday, several people offered to take MacDonald to and from the concert, using their own cars. But MacDonald, who gets around in an electronic wheelchair, said she has to ride in a van with a ramp.

She said she also had a call from Ralph Williams, manager of operations at Trade Centre Ltd., who offered to get her to and from the arena, but she explained she needed a special van.

By 5 p.m. Monday, MacDonald had all but given up hope of seeing her favourite band. She said the Metro Centre offered to refund her ticket, which she was happy about. But she got the news around 5:30 p.m. that Need-A-Lift was coming to pick her up.

The Guns N’ Roses online message board was also filled with MacDonald’s transportation dilemma, one suggesting that the band’s management should offer to get her to and from the concert.

One e-mail sent to The Chronicle Herald’s entertainment department, believed to be from the band’s management said: "Guns have personally suggested she be transported to and from the concert. . . . Guns want to give people a real rock n’ roll ’70’s night out. Back then people never slept. Late nights and a good time were always on the menu. At the same time, though, they are sensitive to people’s requirements."

( gguy@herald.ca)


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