Singer says 'fuck you' to festival chiefs as band make it to Main Stage

Axl Rose described the feud between him and the Reading And Leeds Festivals organisers as a “war”, as Guns N’ Roses headlined Leeds Festival tonight (August 29).

The band started their set half an hour later than their scheduled kick-off time, arriving on stage at 9:30pm (BST). At the end of the main part of their set, after ‘Nightrain’, they returned to the stage and the frontman claimed that the promoters were cutting their set short.

“We would like to play a few more songs for you tonight,” Rose said. “But someone is telling us the show’s over. This war ain’t over yet.” He made the comment at around 11:20pm, and also claimed that he had been told they could play until 11:58pm. They then played ‘Paradise City’ for their one-song encore.

After the show Reading And Leeds Festivals boss Melvin Benn told NME that Guns N’ Roses had not been given the OK to play until 11:58pm. “I have no idea where that came from,” he said. “I was behind the sound equipment so I couldn’t actually hear what he said. Bands often say things like that when they are curtailed.”

The scenes followed the band’s performance at the Reading Festival on Friday, when they came on an hour late and organisers pulled the plug on their set as they were about to break the noise curfew. That night the band staged a protest by attempting to play without amplification, with Rose telling the crowd that they were not planning to head to Leeds.

Up until the encore, despite the late start, the Leeds show went ahead without any controversial incidents taking place, with the group attracting a huge crowd.

Rose made several costume changes throughout, switching from a silver jacket to a black one, a purple one, a red checked jacket with a cowboy hat, then a gaudy white jacket, and finally a white sleeveless top.

After ‘Paradise City’ the band then went to the front of the stage and bowed, with Rose saying: “Be safe getting out of here. And for the problems with the promoters, fuck you.”

Benn played down the “war” comment, saying he would actually consider booking the band again. “I’d definitely book them again but I don’t know if they’d come and play,” he said. “I doubt I’ll be getting a Christmas card from them, which is a shame because tonight was great. There are rules we have to abide by here in the UK, they’re very clear rules. It’s not personal, I think the band are great. Why would I make it personal?”

Guns N’ Roses played:

‘Chinese Democracy’
‘Welcome To The Jungle’
‘It’s So Easy’
‘Mr Brownstone’
‘Sorry’
‘Richard Fortus Guitar Solo’
‘Live And Let Die’
‘This I Love’
‘Rocket Queen’
‘Dizzy Reed Piano Solo’
‘Street Of Dreams’
‘You Could Be Mine’
‘DJ Ashba Guitar Solo’
‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’
‘Instrumental Jam’
‘Axl Rose Piano Solo’
‘November Rain’
‘Bumblefoot Guitar Solo’
‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’
‘Nightrain’
‘Paradise City’

Comment: ‘Axl Rose: Hero or Idiot?’ You decide.

NME is coming live from both sites at Reading And Leeds Festivals this weekend. Head to NME.COM/festivals for full coverage including news, reviews, videos and picture galleries.

Plus make sure you buy next week’s issue of NME to get the definitive review of Reading And Leeds Festivals, either on UK newsstands from September 1 or digitally worldwide.