Among the many fascinating things that occurred during the Guns N’ Roses concert Thursday in St. Louis was frontman Axl Rose wearing a Coral Court Motel T-shirt.
For those unfamiliar, the Coral Court Motel was one of the most distinctive Art Deco motels along Route 66. It stood on the southwest side of St. Louis from 1941 to 1995, when it was torn down despite many efforts by preservationists to prevent it.
Rose wearing the Coral Court tee served as a salute to St. Louis’ past and as an olive branch. (According to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report about the concert, bassist Duff McKagan donned a Streetside Records T-shirt and guitarist Richard Fortus a Kennedy’s shirt — both long gone St. Louis-area businesses.)
The homages to the Gateway City weren’t just good P.R. The Thursday night gig for Guns N’ Roses was their first in St. Louis in more than a quarter-century. The band long had been persona non grata in St. Louis — the feeling was mutual — because of Axl Rose’s infamous tantrum over a camera-wielding fan that turned into a shortened show and a full-scale riot during a 1991 gig at the Riverport Amphitheater. Dozens of people were hurt during the melee, and the venue suffered $200,000 in damage.
A lot of things have changed since. Guns N’ Roses organized an unlikely reunion (hence the tongue-in-cheek name of the tour, Not in This Lifetime). Just as unlikely was the booking of the St. Louis show. At the concert Thursday, the band played an eye-popping 31 songs over 3 1/2 hours in front of 37,000 people. Lead guitarist Slash played a brief tribute to the recently deceased Chuck Berry, a St. Louis native. No angry or sullen words were exchanged. Axl Rose said: “Hopefully we’ll see you again. Hopefully a lot sooner.”
Apparently time does heal old wounds.
Back to the Coral Court … if you want to buy your own T-shirt, I spotted one at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis, and I’m sure other shops in the Gateway City sell them. Bygone Brands also sells a Coral Court Motel shirt here.
(Image of Axl Rose wearing a Coral Court Motel tee during the St. Louis show by Steve Cummins via Facebook)