By Doug Gray, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Sunday’s much anticipated show by Guns N’ Roses in the Apoteose Stadium was cancelled at the last minute after a huge storm descended on the city and strong winds damaged the stage, leading to several injuries.
Organizers had hoped that following Coldplay’s recent washout show that went ahead under torrential rain and a long lasting electrical storm on Saturday night the skies would remain calm and the show could go ahead.
However, by 6PM on Sunday evening they were beginning to fill with storm clouds and it struck just after nightfall. With the band due on stage at 7PM, Time 4 Fun, the company behind the show along with the fire brigade, announced the cancellation and evacuated the area.
One fan said, “I was there in the rain and I just can’t believe it happened. I just can’t imagine how hurtful it would have been if Axl was up there. It was so close from the beginning of the concert…”
Axl Rose spoke immediately on his Twitter page, saying; “The March 14th Guns N’ Roses show in Rio De Janeiro at Apoteose Stadium has been officially canceled [sic] for this evening due to the stage collapsing because of heavy rains. Stay tuned for more info and possible rescheduling information as we receive it.”
Time 4 Fun held a hastily-arranged meeting on Monday to decide whether or not the show could be re-scheduled, and a provisional date has been set for early April after the lead singer’s desire to hold it the following night were quashed by the promoters. All tickets for the May 14th show will be accepted in April, or refunded if the holder cannot make it.
As news of the collapse just minutes from the start of the show spread, rumors quickly appeared all over the internet as to the extent of the damage and injuries.
Axl Rose twittered later on Sunday evening; “They’re now saying the venue actually experienced a minor tornado. Either that or regional Global media blowing usual hot air.”
There were reports of a fatality at the venue as crew members battled with the elements to save the equipment, but they were later denied by the singer.
Further bad luck had already beset the touring party when supporting band Sebastian Bach had one of their trucks roll over on the journey from Sao Paulo, where Guns N’ Roses played on Saturday night.
The Sao Paulo show in the Palestra Italia Stadium was also not without controversy after Rose arrived on stage three hours later than scheduled only to stop the music halfway through opening number ‘Chinese Democracy’ after being hit on the hand by a cup thrown from the crowd.
Nevertheless the show continued and the crowd’s patience was rewarded with a spectacular show of fireworks and a trawl through the band’s hits like ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ and ‘Paradise City’. The hundreds of fans that have inundated the internet to lament the cancellation of the show look like getting their chance after all in around three weeks’ time.