LAMC takes responsibility for Guns N' Roses concert woes

PHOTO: The Straits Times

With just one road leading in and out of the venue and no public transport infrastructure in sight, the Changi Exhibition Centre (CEC) is not your typical concert venue.

But Mr Ross Knudson, co-founder of LAMC Productions, which organised last Saturday's Guns N' Roses concert here, fiercely defended his choice of venue, which was used previously for just one other concert - Metallica in 2013.

"It is absolutely superior as a concert venue. There is so much more going for it. It is a flat cement surface. There is a huge lobby area to sell drinks and merchandise. It leads beautifully to an outdoor space with a picturesque beautiful location and a nice breeze," he told The New Paper yesterday.

Many of the 50,000 concert-goers thought otherwise.

Read also: Company behind RFID wristbands used at Guns N' Roses concert faced challenges with organisers

Some had issues getting to and from the venue due to the congestion on Aviation Park Road, the only road that leads to the CEC.

Others were upset about the credits they had to buy in advance for the food and beverages, and which they could not use because the food and drinks ran out.

Photo: The Straits Times

LAMC said it will refund the unused credits.

The problem with the concert - LAMC's biggest show to date - was the lack of staffing and expertise in running large-scale events, Mr Knudson conceded.

"It overwhelmed us. We needed a general in the venue, and we needed another general outside - basically military operation-style - to do it," he said.

Adding that there was miscommunication with third party vendors, he said: "I don't want to blame anybody. We want to take full responsibility, keep figuring it out and make (the venue) better for the next time we use it."

Guns N' Roses shine in Singapore

  • Frontman Axl Rose, guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan, tore through a scorching set in Guns N' Roses' first-ever gig in Singapore at the Changi Exhibition Centre on Saturday night (Feb 25).
  • The setlist was classic GNR - the bulk of them came from the iconic 1987 debut Appetite For Destruction and 1991 double release Use Your Illusion I and II, as well as a smattering of covers.
  • All the GNR trademarks were on full display during the two hour and 45 minute set - Rose's screeching wail and hip-swaying moves, Slash's top hat and slithering solos and McKagan's low slung bass.
  • There was plenty of singalong opportunities for originals such as epic ballads November Rain and Estranged and red-blooded rockers like Paradise City and Welcome To The Jungle.
  • Rose's vocals and the guitars sound buried and could do with more punch.
  • But the band's solid showmanship and choice setlist made up for the less-than-stellar sound.
  • Axl Rose performing in Singapore.
  • Bassist Duff McKagan.
  • Axl Rose called Singapore "Changi" during the performance.
  • Fans at the Guns N' Roses concert.

Event organisers told TNP that the venue was the concert's Achilles' heel.

Infinitus Productions director Jeffrey Foo said: "Venues like the CEC are not meant for a concert or festival because it will start and end at a certain time. A flush of participants or people leaving at the same time creates a choke point."

The Esplanade Co's Ravi Sivalingam said it works closely with Home Team agencies to manage crowds for large-scale events, such as the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown.

The head of hospitality and services said: "(Measures) include increasing security patrols and maintaining greater visibility of our security personnel so that members of the public can approach them for assistance, where necessary."

Mr Knudson said the boo-boos will not stop him from holding future events at the venue.

He will consult experts on how to make the CEC work as a concert venue.

"I love the venue, and I am determined to make it work. It is the only large-scale event venue here and it really is the most viable.

"As for the National Stadium, we have no plans to use it. It is beautiful, but it is built for football," he said.

Read also: No Appetite for Dysfunction: Expect Guns N' Roses gig credit refund options by Wednesday

FORGIVING

Mr Foo asked for the naysayers to be more forgiving towards LAMC.

"It is important to try to understand the event producers' point of view. Of course, they don't want a great event to be tarnished by people getting stuck.

"That was what happened to some of our events in the past. It was not a good feeling," he said.

Mr Knudson apologised for not meeting the expectations of concert-goers, but said he is staying positive.

"We are going to keep trying. We got knocked down on Saturday, but we are getting up."

Read also: LAMC Productions gets flak for 'nightmare' organisation of Guns N' Roses concert

Guns N' Roses' private plane arrives in Singapore

  • A video of the airliner landing at the airport was also posted on Facebook by concert organisers LAMC Productions.
  • The legendary band are in town for their first-ever concert in Singapore, which is part of their "Not In This Lifetime" world tour.
  • Known for rock classics like Sweet Child O' Mine, Welcome to the Jungle and November Rain, the band will perform at the Changi Exhibition Centre on Feb 25.
  • A number of contributors also sent in photos of the plane to citizen journalism website Stomp.
  • With close to 50,000 tickets sold, the concert is set to be of the biggest rock shows ever held in Singapore, according to LAMC.


This article was first published on February 26, 2016.
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