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Here's what it was like to try--and fail--to buy Guns N' Roses tickets

Here's what it was like to try--and fail--to buy Guns N' Roses tickets
Lauren Graham, 35, wears an Axl Rose flag as she gathers with Guns N' Roses fans who waited hours to buy tickets for the band's surprise show Friday at the Troubadour. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

One sure indication a band's reunion is already paying off: People are lining up to spend $30 on a T-shirt commemorating a concert they won't see.

That was the scene Friday morning outside the former Tower Records store on Sunset Boulevard, where Guns N' Roses were selling a limited number of tickets for a last-minute club show -- and selling merchandise to everyone who didn't get there early enough to score those passes.

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As previously reported, the re-formed hard-rock band -- featuring frontman Axl Rose, guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan, along with other players yet to be revealed -- will play the Troubadour in West Hollywood on Friday night, one week before the band is due to kick off a highly anticipated world tour with two arena concerts on April 8 and 9 in Las Vegas.

Nick Hart, 51, flew in from Boston to score tickets for Friday's show.
Nick Hart, 51, flew in from Boston to score tickets for Friday's show. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Following those gigs, Guns N' Roses will headline the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival scheduled to begin April 15 in Indio, Calif. The shows are said to be the first time Rose and Slash have played together onstage since the end of the influential L.A. group's "Use Your Illusion" tour in 1993. Billboard has estimated the band will make upward of $3 million per night.

Details regarding the Troubadour performance, which will return Rose and his mates to one of the first venues they played in the mid-'80s, were posted on the band's website Friday at 10 a.m., by which time a line of several hundred people -- young folks, old folks, folks clothed in an array of vintage Guns N' Roses garb -- had already formed at the now-shuttered record store where Slash once worked. Around 11:30, a worker said all tickets, which were going for $10 each, had been "allocated."

But he invited the assembled to stick around to check out a newly constructed display of Guns N' Roses memorabilia inside the store. Food trucks served tacos and hot dogs in the parking lot, while a DJ spun vintage rock by AC/DC and Van Halen. A merchandise booth, stocked with pricey hoodies and T-shirts emblazoned with the date and location of Friday's show, was mobbed by many more people than appeared to have tickets.

Justin Blair, a fan from Hollywood, said he didn't get tickets but would have spent "a couple hundred bucks" to get into the performance. Asked what he thought of the group's reunion, which comes after years of public bickering between Rose and Slash, Blair said, "Hopefully it's long-lived and doesn't fall apart after a few shows."

Guns N' Roses fans line up Friday morning at the former Tower Records store on Sunset Boulevard.
Guns N' Roses fans line up Friday morning at the former Tower Records store on Sunset Boulevard. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Another fan, Ryan McGee of Buffalo, N.Y., said he expects the band to spend the upcoming tour focusing on its early material, particularly its hit 1987 debut, "Appetite for Destruction." He'd be surprised, he added, if Guns N' Roses played anything from 2008's "Chinese Democracy," which Rose made with a largely new cast of players following the departure of Slash and McKagan.

In addition to announcing the Troubadour gig, Guns N' Roses revealed a string of North American tour dates Friday, including shows Aug. 9 at AT&T Park in San Francisco and Aug. 22 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Tickets for those shows -- which you can bet will run more than $10 -- are set to go on sale April 8.

Twitter: @mikaelwood

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