According to De Standaard, approximately 7,000 AC/DC fans who bought tickets to see the band perform on May 16 at Werchter Festivalpark in Werchter, Belgium have requested to get their money back because they don’t want to watch Axl Rose on lead vocals. Live Nation, which is producing the show, said that the disappointed fans had until Monday night (May 2) to claim a refund. The newly released seats were then first made available to those people who were previously on the waiting list for the event, with the remaining 6,000 tickets once again going on sale to the general public.
The show is one of twelve European dates AC/DC will perform with the GUNS N’ ROSES frontman on lead vocals after Brian Johnson was ordered to stop touring or risk going deaf.
A similar refund offer has been made available on some of the other dates on AC/DC’s European tour, which kicks off on May 7 in Lisbon, Portugal and runs through June 12 in Aarhus, Denmark.
Following that, Rose will head out on his previously announced summer reunion tour with GUNS N’ ROSES. AC/DC’s ten postponed U.S. dates will take place later in the year, also with Rose as frontman, and the refund policy on those shows has not been revealed.
According to Billboard, Rose met with the members of AC/DC twice in March, in Miami and Atlanta, about doing the shows. Singers from AC/DC tribute acts were also auditioned, and at one point there was talk of having other vocalists alternate with Rose, including ex-SKID ROW frontman Sebastian Bach and Nic Cester of the Australian band JET.
Fan reaction to Rose replacing Johnson — even temporarily — has been largely negative. The fan site AC/DC Italia announced it was shutting down in protest, while AC/DC biographer Jesse Fink called it “the worst decision AC/DC has ever made. Fans are pretty disgusted… AC/DC is all about the money now.”
AC/DC guitarist Angus Young made a guest appearance with GUNS N’ ROSES at the Coachella festival in California last month, to tie in with the official confirmation of Rose’s involvement.
Classic Rock magazine recently posted a story on its web site as to why Axl Rose is the “worst idea” to replace Johnson in AC/DC. Its sister publication, Metal Hammer, has since countered with why it is a “brilliant idea,” and here are some of their reasons:
1) “Various singers from bands ranging from KROKUS to THE HIVES have thrown their hat in the ring, but all along, there was only one viable direction, and that was pulling in a high-profile singer who knows the material, who has the range and who’s got the time.”
2) “Anybody who’s watched GUNS N’ ROSES‘ version of ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ on YouTube must grudgingly admit that he riotously delivers the punch and snarl of the original. There is no debate that Axl has the style and the range to handle the band’s current set list.”
3) “Say what you will about Axl, but he’s possessed of high intelligence and his own keen survival instinct; he acutely understands that before him lies a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to elevate his stature among his fans and peers and to carve his name on the wall of the AC/DC legacy for all time. No way will Axl blow this…”
4) “Finally, think about the ticket holders. If you had a ticket to one of these shows and word comes down that the band have hired the guy from KROKUS to front them, are you going to go? But put Axl Rose and now you’ve got something to see.”