Great Moments In Rock History 0

Rock History: Guns ‘N’ Roses At Eastern Creek & Calder Park 1993

1993: Guns ‘N’ Roses Get Those Fires Put Out. Sort Of. Picture the time – 1993. A simpler time, perhaps. The Australian dollar is at 66 US cents. HMAS Collins – the first Australian designed and built submarine – launches and becomes a pre-meme meme. A stonewashed denim-clad, mullet-sporting Australia prepares for the imminent invasion of balls-to-the-wall ROCK: to wit, Guns ‘N’ Roses, then basically the premier rock act on the planet, deep into their world-shagging Use Your Illusion tour.

This was not only a big show by Australian standards – the Use Your Illusion tour broke all kinds of records with a gruelling run of shows in 194 cities and 27 countries. Whilst Skid Row and Aussie rock legends Rose Tattoo opened the Aussie shows, other opening bands around the world included Soundgarden, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins and Bodycount. Rose Tattoo and a firing Skid Row blazed the stage that night.

“Hey, you in the black T-shirt. Stop fighting or the show won’t go on!”

Despite the height of comedy at the time being Norman Gunston hijacking Guns ‘N’ Roses main Australian press interview (below), Guns managed to stay long enough to perform and inaugurate Eastern Creek NSW as a viable rock venue. Of sorts.

Promoter Michael Chugg had brought the band out and booked them only the biggest venues – Eastern Creek in Sydney being one of them. It was Guns N Roses’ second time touring Australia, and certainly one of the largest shows ever put on in this fetid land. Over 70,000 people attended this event, and it was not soon forgotten. Rose Tattoo opened, followed by Skid Row, who had caused an apparent near riot according to Channel 7 in a Pitt Street record store the day before (video below).

The concert was by all accounts memorable. “I almost got hit by Sebastian Bach’s beer bottle,” Matt Hell, who attended the Eastern Creek show, told The Void. “By Guns’ N’ Roses I was in the schpecial [sic] front section within section A and was 6 people from Axl. If I’d not dicked around looking at stalls I would have been in that section all day. They played Bodycount’s first album over the PA all afternoon. Gunners were the overblown stadium monster by then, wish I’d seen them on the Appetite tour,” Hell continued. Speaking of the Appetite tour, Melbourne rock writer Rod Whitfield attended both the Appetite For Destruction shows in 1989 (lucky bastard) AND the monster stadium show at Calder Park, Victoria. “That Appetite show is probably the most rip-roaring, gritty, ballsy, f**ked up rock show I’ve ever seen. I don’t think I’ve seen a hungrier band in my life,” Whitfield told The Void.

Speaking of ultimate rock records, Skid Row’s classic 1991 album “Slave To The Grind” – a dangerous, youthful and fun rock masterpiece that will live forever – was the first heavy metal album EVER to debut at #1 on the Billboard Charts. The Void caught up with Sebastian Bach on the 2008 Guns ‘N’ Roses tour to chat about this momentous event, which he got to share with Guns ‘N’ Roses.

“Before that there was a lot of payola going on … back on the first record, people would tell me what the album was going to be next week. ‘We’re going to be going from 18 to 16,” Sebastian recalls one exec telling him. “Then they changed the charts to represent actual SoundScan sales. So we were the first band (when we changed the charts over) [to go #1],” Sebastian continued.

“We were on tour with Guns ‘N’ Roses at the time, and we put out a record and our record debuted at #1. It was the first album to do so since Michael Jackson’s “Bad” in seven or eight years. So we were opening up for Guns that day and I walked into soundcheck and Duff McKagan was doing his bass check,” Sebastian told Christina from The Void. “And I run up and go “Dude, our album came out on Billboard’ and he said ‘what number?’ and I said ‘Number 1.’ He was like ‘Number 1, what the f**k?” Sebastian laughed. “Then NWA came in at number one, Metallica, Use Your Illusion. It was very shocking, very shocking, but it was cool.” Video above.

Fast forward to 1993. It was not an easy road to getting the Gunners to come out and play. During the opening acts’ performances, there was a lot of disruption. It would be unfair not to mention the awful policy in place that night where outside water was banned – and the worst part was that the water on sale ran out early, making it an uncomfortable experience for many concertgoers. A tinderbox situation was in place … and then, the promoter got out there. Michael Chugg addressed the insanely numerous crowd:

“Hey, you in the black T-shirt. Stop fighting or the show won’t go on!”

Amazingly, this didn’t narrow down the crowd to the single gentleman getting his rumble on. Fires were lit, things were thrown, badly timed chants were … chanted.
After a stand-up comedy/head teacher performance by Mr Chugg encouraging fires to be put out or [many expletives deleted] Guns ‘N’ Roses took the stage. After a 40 degree day, the crowd was ready to explode, and possibly implode due to dehydration. Not cool mate! Props to everyone else who stuck it out and got through it. A little remembered fun fact about the show was that Guns ‘N’ Roses’ intro music was the main theme from the score of the Brian DePalma 1983 gangster movie Scarface, which, given the protagonist becomes a monstrous coke fiend and alienates everyone around him and is isolated and paranoid by the end, is … apt. At least as far as we can legally reach with a comparison.

Launching straight into It’s So Easy, the crowd was singing along from word one, and never really stopped until the end, with a rousing Paradise City. An exhausted crowd made their way out of Eastern Creek without a lot of logistical support (the clusterf**k of the situation leaving the Melbourne gig resulted in an ombudsman investigation), with subsequent sensationalist TV segments appearing from the likes of Channel Ten that night about “hundreds of injured fans” from the show. Note: staging this show was incredible, but denying fans water was not cool, by anyone’s standards, and thank Sabbath we never had another show like that. Hopefully a serious lesson was learned that day.

It was the beginning of Eastern Creek as a viable venue for rock shows, and one of a pair of epic shows (shared with Melbourne) which redefined scale in Australia. At least while the dollar stayed down. On a closing note, remember – Appetite For Destruction was the most perfect rock record in history, and will never, ever be beaten. Congratulations to all who witnessed the original Guns on these tours, and got to see these bands at their heady peak, live. This was another great moment in Australian rock history.

Written by: Paul Dawkins & Christina Rowatt, The Void AU.



You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a reply