Guns N' Roses stir restless fans at Rock in Rio  

By Katherine Baldwin

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Reuters) - More than 200,000 frenzied fans rocked into the early hours of Monday as reincarnated heavy metal favorites Guns N' Roses fired up the third night of a mega-music festival gripping Rio de Janeiro.

But earlier acts Oasis of Britain and Brazilian pop star Carlinhos Brown received a cooler welcome as restless onlookers launched plastic bottles and cups at bands that failed to live up to their heavy metal expectations.

A paunchy Axl Rose exploded onto the stage amid fireballs and big-screen images of naked women for a mammoth show that closed the first night of hard rock of this seven-day extravaganza, called ``Rock in Rio for a Better World.''

Rose's shrieking rendition of old favorites ``Welcome to the Jungle'' and ``Sweet Child O' Mine'' stirred the exhausted crowd to life after Oasis left some unexcited onlookers dozing to all but the most popular songs, like ``Champagne Super Nova.''

Guns N' Roses thrilled fans with a new lineup and new releases in its first big stage concert in seven years. The group played at a smaller gig in Las Vegas on New Year's Day.

But local act Brown suffered a similar fate to Oasis as his Afro-Brazilian percussion and reggae mix failed to stir up the adolescent crowd and his calls for ``Peace in the world and vibrations for a better world!'' fell on deaf ears.

``This doesn't even seem like a rock festival,'' one disgruntled fan shouted. ``Everybody is playing here, they've even got some Indian up there dancing,'' he said, referring to Brown, who wore a straw headdress.

Critics had warned that the mish mash of musical styles at the event that kicked off Friday could spark conflicts. The concert booked 159 bands including some of the world's top recording stars in a bid to draw 1.5 million fans from Brazil and abroad, which would make it the biggest music event

Acts range from Britney Spears to Iron Maiden and old-favorite Sting. Organizers pledged, however, to organize the line-up to avoid a teen pop idol back-to-back with heavy metal.

But the intended mix at the so-called ``Brazilian Woodstock'' went awry on the third night. Tens of thousands of teens, many in black heavy metal T-shirts, booed and hissed as a traditional Rio samba school took the stage in the wake of Guns N' Roses' more than two-hour steamy show.

The Viradouro Samba School was forced to sidestep a shower of flying bottles.

Promoters have gone to great lengths to ensure that Rock in Rio 3 is not a repeat of Woodstock III, the 30th anniversary show in 1999 that ended in riots and looting. Despite fans' impatience, the event has gone relatively smoothly. Thus far transport chaos and sun stroke have been the
major complaints.

But after a three-day respite, promoters could face their biggest challenge yet when the festival resumes Thursday with teen sensations Britney Spears and 'N Sync -- the most popular night of the event.

There are also two more nights of heavy rock headlined by Iron Maiden and Red Hot Chili Peppers

Reuters / Thanks to: Jason @






Copyright © 2001 Jarmo Luukkonen