Update: Earlier today, PollstarPro reported that Guns N Roses had announced the dates for its 2016 summer tour.
From the article: Although we’re still waiting on dates and venues, we’ve now got a full-fledged tour with 20 new stops across the U.S., along with a gig in Toronto. The band unveiled the list of markets in a video on Facebook that asked for “Patience,” a nod to GNR’s 1989 single. Although we don’t have a date span, the video promises the excursion is “Coming Summer 2016.”
Rumors that the Guns N’ Roses frontman may be joining AC/DC confounded just about everyone in the music industry yesterday. A very busy Thursday went totally nutso around lunch time, prompting us to once more pay heed to a vapid force of destruction and unpredictability in this music business of ours — Axl Motherfucking Rose.
Is the rumor true, is Axl really joining AC/DC for the final ten concerts of their rescheduled U.S. tour?
Yes. Probably yes. It’s not a done deal, but probably…yes.
According to sources working on Axl’s current Guns N’ Roses reunion concerts, the message from Team Axl is that the singer is close to finalizing a deal with AC/DC’s Angus Young to join the band for “the remainder of the tour,” following singer Brian Johnson’s exit from the band because of health issues. AC/DC is slated to play 12 shows in Europe starting May 7, and will likely make up 10 canceled US dates later in the year, possibly beginning in October. It’s unclear which tour Axl is thinking of joining, although it seems very unlikely that he would be ready (or available) for AC/DC’s European tour in May.
Keep in mind, Axl already has a big year planned. Guns N’ Roses is headlining next month’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival with a lineup that reunites Rose with Slash and Duff McKagan. Before that, GNR will open AEG and MGM’s new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with concerts April 8 & 9.
AEG has tens of millions of dollars tied up in GNR and the news that Axl might be flirting with a long-shot Live Nation tour is disconcerting to top AEG brass. No one is panicking. Yet.
After all, the AC/DC rumors don’t necessarily interfere with the GNR shows. Right now the band is in LA rehearsing. In about a week they head to Vegas for load-in, sound check and more rehearsals. A week later they perform the first hard rock concert at T-Mobile Arena (technically The Killers and Wayne Newton are opening the arena a few days prior). Then GNR heads to Coachella the following weekend for a Saturday night headlining slot, then two shows in Mexico City, and then back to Coachella for one final Saturday performance. Axl just needs to get through those dates and then he can do whatever the hell he wants, right?
Not necessarily. The Monday after Coachella wraps, expect an announcement that the band is embarking on a North American stadium tour through the summer with a rumored $3 million per show payday. That means Axl would not tour Europe with AC/DC and only have time to accompany then on their ten rescheduled North America dates in October, but even that is cutting it a bit close.
Is AEG happy about all of this? No. But they’re also not not happy.
“It is what it is,” one person told me, adding most at the company are “not too worried” but also not too stoked to have a distraction looming over the company’s highest-grossing festival and the grand opening of its beautiful $400 million arena on the Las Vegas Strip.
So there’s that. There’s also decades of insane fights between Axl and various concert promoters like Charlie Brusco, Danny Zelisko and Larry Magid, all detailed in Vulture’s great article from earlier this week titled Concert Promoters Share Their Guns N’ Roses War Stories. The piece starts with Charlie Brusco talking about a show in 1988 at the Omni Coliseum in Atlanta. Axl had just been arrested mid-performance for assaulting the wrong person.
“First strike, he hit an Atlanta police officer,” Brusco recalled. “Second strike, he hit a female Atlanta police officer. Third strike, he hit a black female Atlanta police officer. He’s going to jail.”
According to the article, “Brusco begged for Rose to be allowed to finish the show. Finally the security chief said, ‘If he apologizes to the police officer in writing, we’ll let him go.’ Brusco agreed. He was led to Rose, who was sitting at a makeshift booking table wearing his trademark bandanna. Rose dutifully signed his apology, and security brought in the female officer. Then Rose looked up and said, ‘Fuck you, you fucking jag-off cop.’ He was hauled to jail, and the show was canceled.”
There’s one you can tell the grandkids! Yes Axl is famously erratic and serves as rock’s unofficial patron saint of bipolar disorder. We kind of love him for it. Maybe not when he’s punching cops. We prefer the Don’t Cry video version of Axl. Just a guy who starts life as a baby with color-changing eyes and eventually becomes a great pianist. In fact, he’s so good, women will slap the shit out of each other over the chance to play Chopsticks next to him.
That’s the Axl we like to remember, not some bloated dude with orange dreadlocks and a bandana who refuses to come on stage because he wants to watch a basketball game. But that was a long time ago. Axl has performed in Vegas a dozen times since then — by himself, and with his Guns N’ Roses band that didn’t include Slash or Duff. There’s no doubt they’ll make it happen for the Vegas and Coachella performances. Sure there may be some drama, but that’s not a bad thing. Imagine hosting four GNR concerts and no crazy rock star shit goes down. You might feel cheated!