Monday, January 7, 2008

The Show Must Go On...Or Not...

Have you ever rented a movie only to have the last 5 minutes cut-off because some shitty DVD from Blockbuster looks like it got mauled by a puma? Or been in a theater only to have the film actually melt before your eyes as if you were at some Kesey-sponsored acid test? Howabout a concert where the show comes to an abrupt halt because a bandmember (almost always the lead singer) gets pissed and walks off the stage? (thus far, only the first two have happened to me...)

As a avid concert-goer, I can imagine nothing more disappointing than having the concert you paid $55.00 for, stop suddenly, leaving the fans disheartened and resentful. In the last 20 years or so, there seems to be an increasing trend where this has happened on more than a few occasions -- either because of band egos, fan booing, technical difficulties, and sometimes, for "health reasons." Allow me to elaborate:

Case Study #1 (the angry frontman scenario)
In the last 20 years, NO ONE has ended more shows abruptly than notorious G'NR skipper, Axl Rose. Some blame it on his alleged bi-polar disorder, others say it's due to his massive ego, and at times, Axl himself has cited the safety of the band and fans. In this famous clip, Axl stops the show because someone was filming the band without permission. He goes as far as stage diving into the crowd and apparently gets a few punches in at the faux-fan.*

* If you remember, this walk-off caused fans to incite a massive riot in St. Louis causing injuries to dozens of people.

Case Study #2 (artist exposed scenario)
In 1989, there was the Milli Vanilli affair. In 2004, we saw Ashlee Simpson completely muck-up her own song on SNL when the backing track got screwed up (how ironic for a self-proclaimed singer-songwriter to require a backing track despite the fact that HER BAND was on stage). First she blamed the band (low blow) and then blamed it on "acid reflux." In the immortal words of Seth from Superbad, "people don't forget!"

Case Study #3 (the foreign objects scenario)
In this last example, we have Nickelback, who while performing a show in Portugal, had rocks thrown at them for "sucking." Fan violence is always a major downer no matter how much the band sucks.

Your concert could be next. Keep your fingers crossed.

In this clip, we once again have Axl Rose (with the new G'NR), this time pissed about having something thrown at him. For the record, I was able to find at least 10-15 different clips on YouTube where he walks-off completely or lectures the crowd about their behavior. Nonetheless, the guy is still a legend in my book, so he can act like an asshole if he wants.

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