We have all done it. Our friends have done it; our siblings either have or will do it (depending on age and whether or not your folks or yourself are willing to babysit them while doing it); our parents have done it, and even some of our grandparents have done it (although, it might not have been QUITE the same experience for them). It’s either a point of contention, the start of an epic debate or one of the most awesome bonding experiences to have. That moment when you are in the car with your folks (or grandparents or whomever) and that one song comes through the speakers, and the conversation starts. Usually, it goes something along the lines of, “This song is great. I remember when I saw them live in…” or “Yeah but I gotta tell ya, they sure do suck in concert.” Or, in that rare, almost never witnessed statement, “Oh yeah, do you remember that Stones concert with the Hells Angels? Yeah. I was there!” Sharing concert stories between family, friends and even co-workers always captivates The Listener of the story (whether they enjoy Hanson or Satyricon or both, as neither is not an option) and always brings back bold and vivid memories for The Storyteller (the good, the bad… and for some people, the downright ugly that they had completely forgotten about until they started telling the story). For the most part, people tend to go to concerts to support their band of choice, to listen to the music, buy some concert memorabilia, and then have bragging rights for Monday morning’s meeting. Some however, go to relive their childhood, to people watch/take part in the moment of mayhem in the pit, or to even take in the concert experience (even though, as this list will prove, it can be more than what they bargained for).
10. 2012- iHeartRadio Festival
It was a concert that was set to be epic (because when its’ set in Vegas, you go big or you go home)! The two day event was set to have some pretty impressive acts, with artists such as Linkin Park, No Doubt, P!nk…, even Aerosmith was in on it. Problem: Green Day was performing their last song of the set and lead vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong suddenly stopped. Odd, but Billie Joe had a reason. Apparently, he had the understanding that their set was being shortened…, by one whole minute. Pissed? That about sums up what happened for the remainder of that minute. Billie Joe made a few statements that included (but was not limited to), “You’re not going to give me one f*****g minute?” and “I’m not f*****g Justin Bieber!” And in true rock star fashion, smashed his guitar to pieces on stage, flipped the bird, and walked off. That being said, two days later, a rep for Green Day apologized for said incident and that Billie Joe is going to rehab (again…, in true rock star fashion). *Side note: Billie Joe Armstrong: Thank you for not being Justin Bieber. Just, thank you.
9. 1969- The Doors concert in Miami
Don’t get me wrong, the New Haven incident where Morrison got arrested on stage was a top runner for this section but trust me, this one’s better! First, you have a concert in the 60’s. Make the band playing the concert The Doors. Then, add an auditorium that has a seating capacity of 7000 people, remove the seats and cram an extra 5000 bodies into it. Minus the air conditioning and make the day ridiculously hot out. Take your lead musician (Jim Morrison) and have him as stated by Ray Manzarek “overly fortified with alcohol”, and you have the makings for one of the weirdest concerts you will ever see. Morrison made comments during the show such as “I want some lovin’”, and “You’re all a bunch of f*****g idiots.” What really took the night though was when a member of the audience poured champagne on Morrison, which prompted him to take off his shirt and utter some of the most infamous words ever uttered at a concert: “Let’s see a little skin, let’s get naked.” What’s even better though, is EVERYONE IN THE AUDIENCE STARTED TO GET NAKED, all while Morrison had his shirt draped over the groin area and made… movements… with his hand… behind it (think about it). True rock star fashion.
8. 1992- Reading Festival
Originally a single venue concert, the Reading and Leeds Festival takes place in England over the August long weekend. It was during this festival in ’92 that caused one of the biggest controversies and shocking moments in concert history. L7 was playing their gig and began to experience technical difficulties with their equipment, so they had to stop their show to fix the equipment. Which, yeah it happens, but when you are outside, with a bunch of people in the crowd who are “overly fortified with alcohol”, they get restless, and want to “help” speed things along. So naturally, people started throwing mud (‘cause throwing mud at the people who are trying to fix a technical problem at a concert is ALWAYS a productive solution). So, to show her appreciation for said mud-slinging, L7’s lead singer Donna Sparks, ON STAGE, removed her tampon, threw it into the crowd. To further show her appreciation, she shouted, “Eat my used tampon, f***ers!” Hearing of this would make one think of that scene in To Sir With Love with the tampon burning incident. *cringe*
7. 1982- Ozzy Osbourne concert in Des Moines
Of all places for something this epic to happen, it had to be in Des Moines, Iowa. Ozzy has been known for some pretty strange stuff with a classic example being instead of releasing the dove after signing his first solo record deal, he bit it’s head off instead (term of the day: “overly fortified with alcohol”). During his tour for Diary of a Madman, the stop in Des Moines proved to be more than entertaining (and ranking up there with the dove) when a member of the crowd threw a bat on stage. Ozzy, thinking the bat was made of rubber, bit off its’ head. Now, naturally at a metal concert, when any member of the band including the lead vocalist does something like biting off the head of a bat, not only is it bad-ass, it is beyond epic and mind-blowingly awesome. However, to the surprise of Ozzy, the bat wasn’t actually a fake bat; it was real. Even better, according to the rocker, the bat was quite alive and bit him! Afterwards, Ozzy got treated for rabies, and the rest is history.
6. 1993- Lollapaloza
Rage Against The Machine are definitely not shy about expressing their views on, well, everything and anything. Particularly, on a VERY hot topic in the 90’s, with the Parents Music Resource Center (or the PMRC). These are the folks who are responsible for getting those fancy “Parental Advisory” stickers on albums and the infamous “Filthy Fifteen” song list (just a note: why is Cyndi Lauper on that list?!). Now think about all those people who use a stage as their chance to voice their opinions, views, and observations on everything in life, especially if it’s political. For Rage, that “soapbox” was the ’93 Lollapaloza concert. Rage was scheduled for a 14 minute set (which isn’t a long set if you think about it), but did they play music? Oh no! They decided that day the 14 minutes was better spent standing naked (and I mean NAKED) in front of the crowd with the letters PMRC painted on each of the four band members, and their mouths taped shut with black tape in protest of the Advisory Stickers/Labels that you see today. All that could be heard during their set was the feedback of the guitars. 14 minutes. Really? To be fair, they did come back and do a free concert for that crowd so, it balances out in the end (maybe).
5. 1970- Toronto Rock and Roll Revival
Bless Canada for being awesome on this one (and really, only in Canada would this happen). The place: Toronto, Ontario. The music: there were actually quite a few acts in this one ranging from John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, The Doors and more, but for this, we are going to focus on one man, and one man alone. The name: Alice Cooper.
The Coop was one of those performers that was trying to break away from all the hippie-like music of the day and was also trying to make his stage performances memorable by using things like fire extinguishers and feathered pillows just to have stage effects…, which is where the infamous chicken comes into play. Cooper was doing his normal on-stage antics when out of nowhere, a chicken gets on the stage. Alice, not knowing that chickens can’t fly, picked up the bird and threw it into the air, where it plummeted into the first few rows of the concert. The next day, Alice’s manager, Frank Zappa, calls and asks if he bit the head off of a chicken and drank its’ blood. When Alice told Zappa what had actually happened (which was that the bird was massacred by the disabled people occupying the first 3 rows of the concert), Zappa in true rock star manager form said, “Well, whatever you do, don’t tell anyone you didn’t do it.”
4. 1971- The Mothers of Invention concert in Switzerland
There are bands that from time to time choose to play a smaller venue. Some reasons vary from it financially being a better decision, it provides a more intimate concert experience, it’s the only viable venue available at the time of booking, or that it’s the only venue in town period. Either way, concert goers will pay whatever they can to go to any concert, especially if it’s their favourite band and they will bring something with them (sometimes) to get autographed by the artist/band. Or, as in the case of The Mothers of Invention concert, just to see what happens when you fire off a flare gun in a crowded room with a ceiling that is covered with rattan. But in any case, and as logic dictated, the building got set on fire and burned down to the ground. Thankfully, the band made it out in one piece and not injured. On a positive note: Deep Purple was able to make some money off the incident as it inspired their song “Smoke on the Water”.
3. 2000- Rosklide Festival
Outdoor festivals have their pros and cons. If the weather is great the entire time, pro. If it’s cold and raining the entire time, con. In 2000, many bands headlined this Danish outdoor festival including Iron Maiden, NIN, The Cure, Oasis, with others including Pearl Jam. While Pearl Jam was performing their set however, things went terribly wrong in the pit. As in all rock/metal concerts, you go into the pit and you risk the danger of the pit. The crowd had rushed the stage and some of the people fell, but because it’s a pit and an outdoor concert, crowd surfing was going on and these surfers were all falling into the hole that was created by the fallen people (and those folks were getting crushed). There was also heavy rainfall that day so it’s possible that the rain with the mud could have triggered the people to fall in the first place, but in the end, it was also one of the possible causes of death for the nine people at the bottom of the pile as it also could have caused the suffocation that happened. However, because of this incident, crowd surfing has actually been banned in most European countries.
2. 2010- Lamb of God concert in Prague, Czech Republic
Before anyone goes to any concert, they have to look who is on the bill for the night of the concert and who is headlining the tour. When Lamb of God was on tour to promote their Wrath album, there were dates were they were headlining with 3 Inches of Blood, or even as the main support act as they were with Metallica (because it’s Metallica). Lamb of God played in countries all over the world for that tour (dated 2008-2010) from the Americas to Europe to down under and back up again, without a problem. When Lamb of God went on tour to promote their Resolution album in 2012 however, upon landing in Prague, Czech Republic for their concert, lead singer Randy Blythe was arrested and charged with manslaughter. Turns out that back in 2010, there was a problem.
It is common at metal concerts to have people not only crowd surf, but to rush the stage in order to meet their favourite band (without having to sometimes pay to do a meet and greet backstage). So unless the band flat out says “Everybody on stage now”, it’s best to stay off the stage. Some metal bands however in lieu do get crowd participation such as Five Finger Death Punch lead vocalist Ivan Moody. During those shows, there has been the opportunity where anyone who starts crowd surfing and gets to the front of the pit gets the opportunity to shake Ivan’s hand. But this is not the case with Lamb of God.
During the Prague show, a 19 year old fan, tried to climb up on stage but was thrown backwards by Blythe causing the fan to land on his head, which caused the fan to get severe brain injuries, fall into a coma and eventually succumb to his injuries from the concert weeks later. And yes it’s tragic when it happens, but sad to say things like this do happen at concerts (please refer to Pearl Jam point), but what was shocking about this was that no one thought to get in contact with Lamb of God OR their management team directly to ask them (since going through the US Authorities became a no dice situation), “Hey! Did you know someone died at your show? We wanted to ask you some questions about this.” Because whether this is a common occurrence or not, bands want to know what happens to their fans in the pit.
1. 2004- Damageplan show in Columbus, Ohio
When people think of picking up and learning the guitar, they look to famous guitarists as motivation. Tommy Iommi, Ace Frehley, James Hetfield, Carlos Santana, Ottmar Liebert (whatever floats your boat), are some of the guitarists that come to mind. Another one that comes to mind, whom was taken too soon, was Dimebag Darrell.
Dimebag was a founding member of the bands Pantera and Damageplan with his brother, Vinnie Paul. Damageplan came to be as Pantera went on an extended hiatus in 2001, and Damageplan was immensely popular in and amongst fans of the metal genre.
Now, when people go to concerts, especially heavy metal concerts, there are certain things that are to be expected, no matter the venue:
-alcohol…, and a lot of it
-shouting as someone is trying to talk to you during the concert
-some women looking a bit more… scandalous
-fights breaking out in the crowd
-potential for meeting awesome people/potential spouses who share your common interest
What people don’t expect is exactly what happened at the Damageplan concert that took place on December 8, 2004 in Columbus, Ohio. Damageplan is on stage performing, when suddenly, Dimebag gets shot, and not just once, not twice, but three times with the third being a fatal shot. In total five people were killed (including the head of the band’s security, and an audience member) and injuring seven more people. The gunman, Nathan Gale, had previously been diagnosed with the mental disorder schizophrenia and was off of his medication at the time of the shooting. There are many theories as to why Gale needed to kill Dimebag. Many of the early theories such as the shooting being Gale’s way to show his response to the breakup of Pantera, have all been disproven. Gale was shot and killed by Officer James Niggemeyer during the incident which is how the death toll got to five.
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