Axl Rose Breaks Records at Sofia Rocks 2012!

9 July 2012

For the first time on this tour the legendary frontman got on stage earlier than the announced starting time!

More than 20,000 fans a day attended the huge rock extravaganza at the Vassil Levski National Stadium!

Axl Rose backstage after GNR’s set: “This is it! This is it! This is what the real show is!”

Axl Rose & Co. were extremely pleased with the audience’s incredibly emotional response to all Guns N’ Roses hits during the band’s first ever live performance in Bulgaria. The show of one of the most anticipated by Bulgarian fans acts lasted a little more than three hours. Axl Rose, known for regularly getting late on stage, surprised the fans and the local promoter with his wish to begin the concert a few minutes before the scheduled start! This is an absolute record for the group, at least on this tour.
Axl, also known for his frugality of words on stage, got visibly excited and shouted out loud to the crowd before saying goodbye: “You are amazing, you are f***ing awesome!” Afterwards he gathered his band mates backstage, embraced them and cried out: “This is it! This is it! This is what the real show is!”
Then all the musicians and the entire GNR team had a loud party backstage that lasted until dawn. Axl was the last one to leave the stadium’s backstage area, getting straight on board the plane to the next stop of his tour. Meanwhile, despite the preliminary information from the group’s PR agents that there won’t be any face-to-face interviews, DJ Ashba and Dizzy Reed agreed to talk to two Bulgarian TV channels. Besides, DJ Ashba was pleasantly surprised when seeing a girl backstage that had his image tattooed on her back – a sight he repeatedly shot with his camera.

Trivium did not hide their excitement that they’ll be closing the first day of the festival. It quickly became clear that it is really important for them to make a show as great as expected from a real headliner. The band proved to be a noteworthy one, with the crowd welcoming the guys with applause and generously rewarding them with deafening cheers. "I don’t know which bands have played here before, but we promise we’ll let the whole world know what a great crowd you are!", Matt Heafy vowed to the devoted Bulgarian audience.

Fans will also remember the hot SOFIA ROCKS 2012 with the most powerful, personal and emotional interaction with the audience made by three of the other bands – Clawfinger, Ugly Kid Joe and Kaiser Chiefs. Such a presence onstage as the one displayed by Clawfinger’s lead singer Zak Tell can be rarely seen! Those who attended the stadium that day witnessed his unique energy and charisma. Zak demonstrated impressive acrobatic skills, jumping from one wall of amps to another, throwing himself into the crowd and surfing back to the stage.
Ugly Kid Joe’s vocalist Whitfield Crane was boiling with energy the whole day before the show, giving moral support to his colleagues from the other bands and doing countless interviews. The climax of UKJ’s set was the moment Whitfield turned the stadium into a runway, rushing from the stage to the seats in the far right and dragging along fans, photographers and security while sprinting madly among the crowd.
Britain’s most notable representatives at the festival – Kaiser Chiefs – were a nice surprise for the entire audience. The musicians could hardly hide their excitement before going on stage. They gave their best and “melted the ice” by mingling with the fans in front of the stage and even on the seats. The crowd in turn supported them by singing along to their hit single "Ruby" as loud as possible.

Holland’s Within Temptation also admitted that this was one of their best shows so far. They hadn’t expected to have so many fans in Bulgaria, and were pleasantly surprised by the audience’s super warm welcome.

The overall atmosphere backstage was more than a typical “festival spirit”. All the musicians were talking friendly to each other and taking pictures together. Each band leaving the stage was welcomed by its colleagues with applause and cheers. There were also acts such as Sweet Savage who forgot to leave and stayed in Sofia more than planned – during the second festival day as well – walking around the stadium and taking pictures with fans. Some of the musicians had come with their families, kids and dogs, and one could see some of the main participants in the event playing with their children draughts or hide-and-seek.

The Bulgarian bands were doubtlessly an honorable addition to the festival’s line-up and were applauded by all the other musicians. First Viperfish, then Analgin gave the start to the first festival day at accelerated rates, playing brilliant warm-up shows. The second day started powerfully, too, thanks to Der Hunds and D2 who were warmly greeted by the rest of the bands.

For yet another year the festival was backed by Sofia Municipality. The town’s mayor Yordanka Fandukova and her team granted full support to the event. Part of Sofia’s public transport even worked at extended working time in order to transport all those thousands of visitors after the show.

SOFIA ROCKS 2012 – Bulgaria’s biggest rock festival of the year – was part of the line of events marking the 20th anniversary of United Bulgarian Bank. Thanks to the financial support of UBB the abovementioned performances of world-famous bands and musicians (some of which visited Bulgaria for the first time) became reality.
UBB also chose Bulgaria’s biggest rock music event of the year for its official 20th anniversary cocktail party. In a refined set-up the bank's management welcomed nearly 500 official guests, including some of the stars of SOFIA ROCKS 2012 like Ugly Kid Joe’s Whitfield Crane and Sweet Savage’s Ray Haller. The guests had the opportunity to enjoy the unique rock performances with an excellent view to the stage, to experience the unforgettable atmosphere of the festival, and to meet some of their idols in person.
UBB traditionally sponsors campaigns aimed at protecting Bulgaria’s cultural and historical heritage, cultural and musical events, sports federations and individual tournaments, as well as various events for children.

Both fans and stars celebrated the rock extravaganza of the year with proper amounts of Tuborg – the official beer of SOFIA ROCKS 2012.