By Katherine Baldwin
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Reuters)
- More than 200,000 frenzied fans rocked into the early
hours of Monday as heavy metal favorite Guns N' Roses
fired up the third night of a mega-music festival gripping
Rio de Janeiro.
But earlier acts Oasis of
Britain and Brazilian pop star Carlinhos Brown received a
cooler welcome as restless onlookers launched plastic
bottles and cups at bands that failed to live up to their
heavy metal expectations.
A paunchy Axl Rose exploded onto
the stage amid fireballs and big-screen images of naked
women for a mammoth show that closed the first night of
hard rock of this seven-day extravaganza, called
"Rock in Rio for a Better World."
Rose's shrieking rendition of
old favorites "Welcome to the Jungle" and
"Sweet Child o' Mine" stirred the exhausted
crowd to life after Oasis left some unexcited onlookers
dozing to all but the most popular songs, like
"Champagne Super Nova."
Guns N' Roses thrilled fans with
a new lineup and new releases in its first big stage
concert in seven years. The group played at a smaller gig
in Las Vegas.
But local act Brown suffered a
similar fate to Oasis as his Afro-Brazilian percussion and
reggae mix failed to stir up the adolescent crowd and his
calls for "Peace in the world and vibrations for a
better world!" fell on deaf ears.
"This doesn't even seem
like a rock festival," one disgruntled fan shouted.
"Everybody is playing here, they've even got some
Indian up there dancing," he said, referring to
Brown, who wore a straw headdress.
Critics had warned that the mish
mash of musical styles at the event that kicked off Friday
could spark conflicts. The concert booked 159 bands
including some of the world's top recording stars in a bid
to draw 1.5 million fans from Brazil and abroad, which
would make it the biggest music event ever.
Acts range from Britney Spears
to Iron Maiden and old-favorite Sting. Organizers pledged,
however, to organize the line-up to avoid a teen pop idol
back-to-back with heavy metal.
But the intended mix at the
so-called "Brazilian Woodstock" went awry on the
third night. Tens of thousands of teens, many in black
heavy metal T-shirts, booed and hissed as a traditional
Rio samba school took the stage in the wake of Rose's more
than two-hour steamy show.
The Viradouro Samba School was
forced to sidestep a shower of flying bottles.
Promoters have gone to great
lengths to ensure that Rock in Rio 3 is not a repeat of
Woodstock III, the 30th anniversary show in 1999 that
ended in riots and looting. Despite fans' impatience, the
event has gone relatively smoothly. Thus far transport
chaos and sun stroke have been the major complaints.
But after a three-day respite,
promoters could face their biggest challenge yet when the
festival resumes Thursday with teen sensations Britney
Spears and 'N Sync -- the most popular night of the event.
There are also two more nights
of heavy rock headlined by Iron Maiden and Red Hot Chile