Hey, we get it. Everybody has an “off” day. Perfection is overrated, and even the greatest artists aren’t immune to less than stellar performances. But what happens when these fails are completely unforeseen? Unprecedented? Unbelievable? We’ve gathered some of the most cringe-worthy, douche-chilling, egomaniacal concert fails in recent memory.
Ermal Island Festival, Portugal (2002)
Have we got any Nickleback fans in Portugal?! Those fateful words first uttered by Chad Kroeger back in 2002 launched a million boos and earned a much-deserved place in the annals of rock concert fail-dom. To be fair, the Canadian rockers were one of many bands on a lengthy lineup at Portugal’s Ermal Island, a popular annual festival featuring serious hard rock contenders like Sepultura and Slipknot. Perhaps the DzPhotographdz hit-makers were too mainstream? Or just awful.
KINGS OF LEON
Verizon Theater, St. Louis (2010)
An infestation of pigeons gave an award-worthy performance alongside (or atop?) Nashville rockers Kings of Leon in what has been described as a one-of-a-kind concert fail of epic proportions. Before the “Use Somebody” Grammy winners had even taken the stage in St. Louis, a gaggle of feathery, loose-boweled bombers dropped a ton of heat on the stage below, eventually forcing the crew to abandon the stage three or four songs into a twenty song setlist, and run for cover. Fans, luckily, managed to avoid getting hit with any goopy shrapnel.
PUDDLE OF MUDD
Gloucester Guildhall, Doncaster, UK (2016)
No stranger to shambolic behavior on and off the stage, frontman Wes Scantlin managed to anger fans, organizers and his own bandmates at the now-infamous Puddle of Mudd show in Doncaster, England. Already half in the bag as he took the stage, Scantlin slurred his way through the setlist, nodding off between songs, and spewing venomous hate at the disappointed crowd. The other members of PoM, all too familiar with Scantlin’s BS, exited the stage in solidarity. Less than a month later, Wes was arrested for missing a court date relating to trespassing and vandalism. (The real shock is that Puddle of Mudd—in 2016—still have fans to disappoint.)
MTV Video Music Awards (1992)
For reasons that are still up in the air (no pun intended), sometimes bands like to trash and throw around their instruments onstage after—or during—a performance. Nirvana is one example of this strange ritual run amok. During a live broadcast of the MTV VMAs, at the height of their fame, the grunge gods took the stage to perform “Lithium”. Then, out of nowhere, the typically chill Kurt Cobain climbed Dave Grohl’s drum kit like a manic toddler, and bassist Kris Novoselic hurled his guitar skyward, where it proceeded to plant squarely on his face upon return. The staggering lurch off-screen is a part of rock history.
GUNS N’ ROSES
Too many to list
Axl Rose. The legend. The tantrums. The fails. What else is there to say?