The Riverport Riot was a riot at the Riverport Amphitheater (now named Verizon Wireless Amphitheater St. Louis) in Maryland Heights, Missouri (near St. Louis) at a Guns N’ Roses concert on July 2, 1991. It is also known as the “Rocket Queen Riot.”
During the band’s performance of “Rocket Queen“, the 15th song in the set (counting drum & guitar solos), lead singer Axl Rose, in the middle of the chorus, pointed out a fan who was taking still pictures of the show, saying “…Hey, take that! Take that! Now, get that guy and take that!” When security failed to deal with the person, Rose decided to confiscate the camera himself, saying “I’ll take it, god damn it!” and then jumped into the audience and tackled the person. After taking the camera, striking members of the audience and the security team, and being pulled out of the audience by members of the crew, Rose grabs his microphone and said “Well, thanks to the lame-ass security, I’m going home!”, slammed his microphone on the ground and left the stage.
The sound the microphone made sounded to some fans like a gunshot. After Rose left, band member Slash quickly told the audience, “He just smashed the microphone. We’re out of here.” The angry crowd began to riot and dozens of people were injured. The footage was captured by Robert John, who was documenting the entire tour for the band. Rose was charged with having incited the riot, but police were unable to arrest him until almost a year later, as the band went overseas to continue the tour. Charges were filed against Rose but a judge ruled that he did not directly incite the riot.
Rose later stated that the Guns N’ Roses security team had made four separate requests to the venue’s security staff to remove the camera, all of which were ignored, that other members of the band had reported being hit by bottles from the audience and that the venue’s security had not been very strict, allowing weapons into the arena and refusing to enforce a drinking limit. Consequently, Use Your Illusion I and II‘s artwork featured a hidden message amidst the Thank You section of the album insert: “Fuck You, St. Louis!”
File under Blast From The Past, Music, SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG, SeMeN SPeRmS ViDeO CLuB