Sometimes we can get a little crazy, but we don't want to see anyone get hurt," said W. Axl Rose, leader of Guns n' Roses, the anarchy-led band of rock and rollers from Los Angeles.
In one of the more unique and bizarre concert occurrences in recent memory, midway through last night's show at the Capital Centre, Rose leaped headfirst, stage left into the crowd during "Civil War" to break up an altercation between security guards and a fan who threw Rose a blue baseball cap.
"I was trying to toss his hat back to him and a girl caught it," Rose told the crowd afterward. "He came down to get the hat and three guards were beating on him."
Even though it completely stopped the most impressive number of the evening -- as bandmates Slash, Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin, Matt Sorum and Ozzy Reed dropped their instruments and came over to assist him out of the huddled mass -- Rose obviously scored big points with the crowd.
The incident certainly brought the slumbering sold-out audience more than 18,000 back into the performance, which had become a tad bit tiring probably because GNR was sticking mainly to material from its forthcoming pair of LPs, "Use Your Illusion" parts I and II. As strong as the music seemed to be, there's something quite difficult about keeping a hard rock crowd interested in totally unfamiliar music.
Rose, who visually seemed quite out of character, dropping his denim and leather look for a white T-shirt and a pair of white biker shorts with black boots, even warned the crowd early in the set to "leave now if all you want to hear is stuff from 'Appetite For Destruction'."
The crowd stayed long enough to hear the Gunners rip through a 14-song, 90-minute set, which appeared to be cut short by time limitations at the Capital Centre. Previous reports from other cities on the tour said the band had been playing at least two hours and had even bordered on three during a couple of dates.
Perhaps the biggest problem was that GNR didn't even take the stage until 10:15 p.m., and by 11:45, when Rose introduced "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" as the final number, the band seemed hurried by the clock. When the song ended, the band quickly exited the stage, the house lights came up and an enormous chorus of boos came from the crowd.
Not for a poor show, mind you, but more because they didn't get to hear "Sweet Child O' Mine" (the band's biggest hit), "Paradise City" or "It's So Easy," all popular tracks from "Appetite."
Between songs early in the show, and before the fight, fans were treated to several installments of "The World According to Axl." These sermons served as official statements from the band about the integrity of its music.