List

Top Ten Onstage Meltdowns

In honor of Guns N’ Roses pulling their shit together and working a well-received and functional tour (with a gig at Continental Arena tonight and MSG on Friday), the New York Post put together a chronological list of their top ten rock ‘n’ roll concert debacles. Some you know, some may be a history lesson.

1. The Kinks: The Post speaks to two events here. First, during a concert in The Kink’s ’60s heyday, Dave Davies worked himself into a tantrum and released the beast by knocking over one of Mick Avory’s drums; Avory responded by crashing him with a cymbal. Another event occurred years later, when Dave objected to his brother (and Kinks lead singer-songwriter) Ray bringing his girlfriend on stage. Girlfriend’s identity? One Chrissie Hynde.

2. The Who:At the band’s Woodstick set in ’69, acid-loving activist Abbie Hoffman tried to grab the mic after “See Me, Feel Me” to preach his good word (Hoffman denies the entire incident). Pete Townsend promptly took his guitar to Abbie’s head and said, “Fuck off my fucking stage!”

3. The Rolling Stones: Altamont. You oughta know. Watch Gimme Shelter or read Wiki.

4. G.G. Allin: This dude was a punk singer whose shows were often less about the music and more about the extremes to which he would violate himself, his audience, and his stage (via urination and defication). Check out this montage to get a feel.

5. Guns N’ Roses: The infamous Metallica/GN’R show of ’92 in Montreal, with Metallica opening and forced to cut their set short due to James Hetfield catching on fire (’cause of a bum pyrotechnic – a reasonable excuse to call out sick), and Axl walking off stage after just four songs (’cause his voice wasn’t feeling well). Cue insane rioting.

6. Cat Power: We know how well she’s doing now, but we know it’s been a rough road for Chan to stage comfort. The Post singles out the ’99 Bowery gig where Chan ended a song in the audience with her nose pressed to the ground and unsure audience members gathering around to calm her. Now she’s the face of Chanel and an SNL hopeful. Who knew!


7. Fiona Apple: Seems like everyone’s got a story from a Fiona gig, and the Post recalls Apple’s 1997 VMA acceptance speech (“The world is bullshit!”) and her Roseland Ballroom sound-problem fueled walk-off (“Fuck, this is a nightmare.”). But if she wasn’t so nutso, her music just wouldn’t be as good, ya know?

8. Ryan Adams: The cautionary tale told to all first time Ryan Adams concert attendees: Don’t call him Bryan! It was a 2002 gig in Nashville where a heckler found it witty to continually request “Summer Of ’69,” until Ryan had him refunded and ejected – with the house lights up! Always so dramatic, that’s our Ry.

9. Great White: One of the biggest tragedies in rock history. Another bum pyrotechnic tale, only this one involves a Rhode Island rock club, impermissibly flammable soundproofing, and 100 deaths. Suppose the Post was going with “meltdown” quite literally with this one.

10. Blondie: The scene was set at the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony for Blondie, with Debbie Harry ready to take the stage and play her inaugural gig. Former Blondie guitarist Frank Infante crashed the ceremony and asked to join. Debbie’s response: “Can’t you see my real band is up there?” Ouch.

This is obviously the sort of stuff that’s impossible to whittle down to a “Top 10″ format (precisely what makes it so much fun!), so rather than ask you about the merits of the list, we’d rather hear about the craziest stage breakdowns you’ve ever seen — doesn’t matter how big the band (though if we know ‘em it’s obviously a cooler story!). We just wanna hear about the crazy shit you’ve seen performers do when their thinking is a little skewed. Bonus points if you were at any of the incidents in the Post’s list.