GNR concert-goers loved the band, hated the gig experience
SINGAPORE - Some 50,000 people attended the Guns N' Roses show for their Not In This Lifetime tour on Saturday night (Feb 25).
While most came away satisfied just by seeing the legendary band members Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan in action, many said the concert was marred by bad concert organisation.
Complaints have poured in about long queues for drinks and food at understocked booths, as well as issues getting in and out of the gig venue via shuttle bus.
And although fans may have been happy to see the band in action, many could not hear Rose singing clearly during the show.
The trouble began even before the gig thanks to the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) wrist bands that concert-goers had to use to buy drinks and food. One was required to pre-load the bands online for credits prior to the gig, in order to keep any remaining unused credits post-event. Any credits that were to be bought on the day of show at the event site that were not used, would not be refunded.
To the dismay of many, the online top-up option closed 48 hours prior to the event.
Concert organizer LAMC Productions, which was working with Sandpiper Digital Payments Asia on the system, has since promised to rectify this, posting on its Facebook page late on Saturday night that it was "apologetic to attendees who were unable to spend their full RFID credits".
"We therefore pledge to refund the unspent RFID credits. We are working hard with our teams to formulate a refund process. Please keep your wristbands and be sure to stay up to date with our Facebook page where we will publish repayment measures in due course," LAMC said on Facebook.
They were responding to many who are unhappy with the system. Concert-goer Christopher Lee posted on LAMC's official website that he had S$400 on his RFID system, but left the venue with S$300 in unused credits.
LONG QUEUES, DRINKS THAT RAN OUT
For many, the issues just getting food and drink were enough to turn them off going to another concert organised by LAMC, which is known for bringing in acts such as Def Leppard, Scorpion and Weezer.
Most concert-goers reported hour-long waits for food and drink - if you could get them at all.
Jacqueline Sassoon, 39, paid S$302 for her ticket, which gave her access to Pen A (the class behind the VIP area and ahead of Pen B).
She and her friends got to the venue at 6.30pm and already, queues for drinks were long. Halfway through the gig, she says the two bars were running out of beer (which cost S$15 each), and she gave up queuing for drinks. Two bars, she said, were simply not enough for the area. They were also not given enough access to food. The only food service at the area was Hard Rock Cafe, although there were four other F&B stalls such as Three Buns and Black Boys serving at the venue at other areas.
"We also were not allowed into Pen B, where most of the food was," said Sassoon, an organisational and development facilitator. "I had $50 unspent left on my RFID wrist band. LAMC, it's not like people don't want to spend money with you. It's that you made it impossible."
Rick Allen had flown in from Hong Kong to catch the band, but was disappointed by the sound, even though he had bought tickets that gave him access to the VIP area right in front of the stage.
He wrote in a comment on LAMC's Facebook page that the sound was appalling, criticizing the "very strong bass and drums but lead guitars, keyboards and Axl (were) barely audible".
Another audience member, Gerry Lin, said that ironically, the further back one went, the better the sound was. The sales director with a VIP ticket gave up a good view of the band in front of the stage to move to "much further back" in order to hear Rose better. "The sound system let him down," she said.
Organiser LAMC has said it would give feedback to sound engineers.
At some point, security gave up on checking tickets, especially for Pen B, as the flood of fans entering the area became overwhelming.
Philip Oh, who had a ticket for Pen B, said in a post on Facebook that his ticket was not checked and wondered why he bothered buying one at all.
Damian Gregory said he "did not need a ticket because at no point during the evening did one person ask to see my concert ticket".
SHUTTLE BUS, TRAFFIC NIGHTMARES
Many were shocked at the shuttle bus situation - for some, the only way to get in and out of the Changi Exhibition Centre.
Although LAMC had warned attendees to the concert to plan their travel carefully, and to not "get stranded without transportation after an awesome night out", there were massive lines for the buses, and reportedly only two counters handling ticket sales. Tickets had cost $15 for a round-trip ride from Changi Exhibition Centre to the City Hall area.
Concert-goer Andre Poh said he was "stuck for close to an hour waiting for buses" and posted pictures of long lines on Facebook.
Ms Pearl Ang said it took her more than an hour to get into the venue - and more than two hours to get out of it thanks to this.
Other concert-goers like Andrian Cundy reported driving to avoid the mess, but ended up stuck in the car park for two hours, not managing to get home until after 2am on Sunday morning after the show ended at around 11.30pm.
Gig attendee Melinda Wong summed it up for many by saying: "If you guys cant handle or organise an event as huge as this, don't do it (at all)."