Guns N' Roses 'touch and go' until 11th hour at Wellington's Westpac Stadium

Hundreds of fans forced to wait in the rain outside the Guns N' Roses concert in Wellington on Thursday.
BERNADETTE COURTNEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Hundreds of fans forced to wait in the rain outside the Guns N' Roses concert in Wellington on Thursday.

Rockers Guns N' Roses almost had to pull the pin on Wellington as appalling weather lashed the capital.

Westpac Stadium chief executive Shane Harmon said high winds on Wednesday meant it was "touch and go" whether the stage would even be erected in time.

Crews though worked through the night to make sure it was, he said.

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Thousands of fans were forced to wait in the rain outside the Guns N' Roses concert in Wellington as stage preparations were delayed.

A bit of plastic was added for most of those in traditional rock denim.

Ross and Ailsa Hayes at their first concert. Ever. "We flew up from Oamaru on Tuesday and go back tomorrow," said Ross. "We're lifelong Gunners fans, and we're pretty pumped. I mean we're still standing in the rain an hour and a half after it was supposed to open."

The rain didn't bother most, particularly not, from left, Brianna Reynolds, Patrick Faifai, and Kelsey Reynolds, all from Naenae in Lower Hutt. "Big fans, massive bro. Love Gunners," said Faifai.

Earlier crews battled the terrible conditions to ready the stage.

Ivanka Marta, left, and Jade Johnston came down the line from Otaki. "It's all Jade's fault I'm here, she loves them. But so do I really," Marta said. "It's my first GNR concert. I hope we hear November Rain." Marta's favourite track? Welcome to the Jungle.

From left, Hayden Stanley, Sarah Adams, and Birdie Stuart came up from Fairlie in Canterbury. "We're off to the back of the queue but I'm not bothered about the rain, it'll still be awesome," said Stuart.

"I'm Slash, and he's Duff. There's no way you're getting our names."

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Come Thursday - the night of the gig that saw 31,500 soggy fans rock to Paradise City, November Rain and most of the band's other big hits - moderate but almost constant rain meant some stadium staff were late getting there, delaying the opening of the gates, leaving early arrivals milling outside in the wet. 

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Wellington's less than paradisiacal summer meant the bad weather seemed almost fated.

Wet but top of his game, lead guitarist Slash.
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Wet but top of his game, lead guitarist Slash.

Of the seven event days so far at the stadium in 2017 - four Phoenix games, two days of the Wellington Sevens and Guns N' Roses on Thursday night - six had been plagued by "appalling" weather, Harmon said.

On Thursday night, some punters waited for up to 90 minutes in the driving rain to enter the gig.

Harmon said Wellington's weather-related traffic jams meant not enough staff were free for the stadium to safely open the gates.

Persistent rain did not put a damper on Guns N' Roses or lead singer Axl Rose.
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Persistent rain did not put a damper on Guns N' Roses or lead singer Axl Rose.

But when they did open, 22,000 people were in by 7.30pm, 30,200 by 8.15pm, and the full 31,500 by the time Guns N' Roses played the opening riffs at 8.50pm. They were 50 minutes behind schedule.

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While it was a challenging evening due to technical issues, the concert itself was a success with good reviews, he said.

Stuff reviewer Bob Mason described the gig as a "hard rock tour de force".

Rain wasn't stopping Guns N' Roses fan Tony of Palmerston North getting into the mood at Westpac Stadium.
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Rain wasn't stopping Guns N' Roses fan Tony of Palmerston North getting into the mood at Westpac Stadium.

The band now move to Auckland, where dry weather is forecast for their Saturday show.

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Guns N' Roses lead singer, Axl Rose, rocks the crowd.

Axl gets the crowd involved.

Lead guitarist, Slash, pulls off the perfect windswept look.

Slash and Axl work the stage.

A thirsty fan finishes her refreshment before heading inside the stadium.

Slash and his trademark top hat.

Ivanka Marta (left), and Jade Johnston have come down the line from Otaki to see the concert. "It's all Jade's fault I'm here, she loves them. But so do I," said Marta.

Guns N' Roses fans gather before the concert. Thousands of fans were stuck on the concourse due to delays inside the stadium.

Axl and his hair rock Wellington.

Guns N' Roses fans gather before the bands Wellington concert.

Westpac Stadium was still empty about 6.15pm, however the show was under way by 9.

Some of the many fans, forced to wait in the rain, struggle to get cover from the driving rain.

Guns N' Roses lead singer Axl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, and bassist Duff McKagan (far left) rock the crowd.

Giving it all they've got.

Not a job for those afraid of heights.

A fan makes herself known.

Guns N' Roses fan Tony of Palmerston North gets in the mood at Westpac Stadium.

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