Roses/Metallica Cancel Denver; Hetfield Burned, Out For 10 Days

Things couldn't be less rosy for Axl Rose and heavy-metal fans in Denver. And the prospects are looking worse all the time for Seattle ticketholders to the Guns N' Roses-Metallica concert scheduled next week.

After an abbreviated show that sparked a rampage in Montreal Saturday night, the Guns N' Roses lead singer and co-headlining band Metallica canceled their concert for Wednesday at Mile High Stadium, concert promoter Barry Fey said yesterday.

An on-stage explosion in Montreal left Metallica's James Hetfield with second-degree burns, forcing the band to take off at least 10 days, Fey said. The Seattle show is set for Aug. 18 at the Kingdome.

About 2,000 fans in the crowd of 53,000 went on a rampage after the concert was cut short. A stage-prop exploded, causing burns to Hetfield's face, arms and hands. He was hospitalized Saturday night.

Guns N' Roses came on early but left the stage after lead singer Axl Rose's tour-torn voice gave out. The melee, which began as fans were leaving Olympic stadium, left at least three police officers and 10 rioters injured, said police, who made at least a dozen arrests.

Fans also looted the Expos baseball team souvenir shop and more than 200 helmeted police officers chased rioters through the streets as they overturned cars, smashed windows and set fires.

Rose has been complaining of voice problems since the 24-city stadium tour kicked off in Washington, D.C., July 17. He walked off the stage 15 minutes into the concert and canceled two other shows last week, Fey said.

Rose had canceled concerts in Chicago and Kansas City, Kan., suburbs last year after a riot at a St. Louis-area concert injured 80 people and caused $300,000 in damage. The band cited damage to their equipment as the reason.

Rose was arrested last month on a warrant stemming from the St. Louis concert, but is free on bond. He faces four counts of third-degree assault and one count of property damage, all misdemeanors.

If convicted of all charges, he faces up to 4 1/2 years in jail and $4,500 in fines.

The Mile High Stadium concert, with special guest Faith No More, will be rescheduled, Fey said.

"We talked with management and the bands fully intend to reschedule," he said.

Ticketholders swamped Denver TicketMaster phone lines yesterday trying to confirm the cancellation and find out what to do, an order-taker at TicketMaster said.

"They can definitely hold them or get a full refund," Fey said.

The Scripps Howard News Service and Knight-Ridder Newspapers contributed to this report.