Live Nation fined €15k over AC/DC refund dispute
The city of Seville has fined Live Nation €15,000 for failing to provide refunds for AC/DC’s Axl Rose-fronted show at Seville Olympic Stadium last May.
The gig, part of the European leg of Australian band’s Rock or Bust world tour, was the subject of a complaint by Spanish NGO Facua–Consumers in Action, which successfully argued the promoter breached Andalusian law by allegedly ignoring some ticketholders’ requests for refunds and closing the refund window after just three days.
Guns N’ Roses frontman Rose became lead singer for the 2015–16 tour midway through last year following the sudden retirement of long-serving vocalist Brian Johnson.
Andalusia’s performance regulations specify concertgoers are entitled to a full refund when a show is “substantially amended”
Live Nation had, explains Facua, previously promised to “refund the money of those who asked for it” without specifying a deadline. “Facua announced the company’s commitment on 26 April,” it says in a statement. “But, overwhelmed by the requests, the promoter informed the association by email on 1 May (a Sunday and public holiday, so Monday was also not workable in much of the country) that the deadline for processing returns closed on day three – an unexpected decision that [left] a multitude of users surprised and without any room for manoeuvre”.
Facua also says many customers were told simply “We regret to inform you that we have stopped serving the requests for reimbursement”, and that some “did not even get a response to their writing, despite having been submitted their requests before 3 May”.
Article 23.1 of Andalusia’s performance regulations specifies concertgoers are entitled to a full refund “when the public spectacle or recreational activity is suspended, postponed or substantially amended”, and provide for fines of up to €30,000 for violations.
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Axl Rose and AC/DC: A “masterly first appearance”
AC/DC fans considering asking for a refund for their Rock or Bust tour tickets following the recruitment of Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose to replace out-of-action lead singer Brian Johnson may want to think twice, because the first reviews are in – and it’s looking good so far.
Rose, who recently played Coachella with Guns N’ Roses and will tour with a line-up also including original members Slash and Duff McKagan this summer, made his debut with AC/DC at the Passeio Marítimo de Algés in Lisbon on Saturday (7 May).
Michael Hann, writing for The Guardian, praised Rose’s “masterly first appearance fronting AC/DC”, and said that though he sounds more confident on the Bon Scott-era songs – Johnson’s tunes “are delivered just fine, but there’s a slight sense he’s being a little too reverent” – the new-look AC/DC is a “triumph” that “does exactly what one would expect, but rather better than one had dared hope for”.
“A rare downside”, said Hann, was that Rose, who was seated for the concert after having recently broken his foot, “look[ed] for all the world like a hard-rock Davros” in his black leather throne.
“This monster mash-up of classic rock megabrands [has the] potential to be one of the touring hits of the summer”
Rolling Stone’s Mark Sutherland agreed that on recent material Rose “seemed unsure of whether to stick to his own trademark wail or give it more Johnson-esque rasp”, but “still seemed to be reaping the rewards of what he has joked were his first-ever proper rehearsals”.
Sutherland compared the union of Rose and AC/DC to poorly received superhero blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, writing that “this monster mash-up of classic rock megabrands avoided becoming the Batman v Superman of hard rock (ie., loud, flashy but ultimately empty); instead, the Lisbon performance hinted at the new union’s potential to be one of the touring hits of the summer – assuming Rose stays under control and AC/DC avoid any further mishaps”.
Fan response was, on the whole, positive (although that’s to be expected considering those who were there had decided against accepting a refund when Rose replaced Johnson): “Axl Rose has a lot of respect for the group and he has the voice for it,” 48-year-old Paulo Dias told Sky News after the show.
However, there were dissenting opinions: “Axl Rose is nothing like Brian Johnson,” said Marcos Vizoso, 44, who had brought his 10-year-old daughter to the show. “I wanted her to see the original band.”
Watch AC/DC performing ‘Shoot to Thrill’ from Saturday’s concert below: