Most disappointing concert you've ever been to

Mine was Def Leppard in 2006.
Bought tickets on the first day they came out. Waited months for the big day.
But what a disappointment.
The band was tired and had no energy.
Joe Elliott kept running backstage while the band continued to play.
The mix sounded like it was coming out of a cave with Elliott’s voice barely audible.
I waited till they played Hysteria then got up and left.
As if on cue about two dozen others got up with me and on the way to the parking lot all we talked about was how disappointing it was.

It was the Who, in 1968.

I was a teenager, and wanted the group that had that Pop-art image, the Happy Jack band that was hip but also funny. Instead I got Roger Daltrey’s fringed buckskin jacket, and the heavy stuff they were moving toward, “Young Man” and such.

They did trash their instruments at the end. I liked that part.

Hawkwind. I think it was '97. The heart of the band, Dave Brock wasn’t there, and neither was their bass player/second singer Ron Tree. I guess there were visa problems or something. The rest of the band took the stage with some other people helping out, but it was not the same. Nelson Ledges State Park, Ohio.
By the way, in '96 at the Cubby Bear in Chicago Hawkwind played one of the coolest shows I’ve ever attended.

Bob Dylan 1991. He was pissed off about the war and he pretty much refused to sing. He just rambled on incoherently.

Damnit we paid good money to hear you ramble incoherently your political opinions in SONG.

James Brown at Lulu’s Roadhouse (Kitchener, Ontario) in 1997. We sat through 3 indifferent opening acts, then a guy came out.

“Are you ready for James Brown?”
“Well he’ll be starting his show right after our next opening act.”

When he finally came on stage, he was basically a tired old man going through the motions.

My Chuck Berry story is probably the same as dozens of others. There was an opening act. Then a long delay when there was an announcement that his plane was delayed. When he finally came out to play with the opening band he had no set list. People called out requests and he launched into it. Johnny B Goode was the second song. 45 minutes later he walked off the stage. A couple minutes later there was an announcement over the PA, “Chuck Berry has left the building.”

It was actually a perfect Chuck Berry experience so I guess not that disappointing. At least I have a story.

I remember the Moody Blues were pretty disappointing. In particular the drummer seemed to not be able to play very well and had an obvious backing track.

Kenny Rogers concert in 2010 or so at a Vegas casino.

He sounded great and played all the hits, had some really funny stories in between songs, but for whatever reason he sang abridged versions of his songs. He would take a single verse and chorus out out of every song so you got these weird points where the next verse would come and instead of the lyrics you expect it was something completely different. Coward of the County becomes completely confusing when you don’t even know what causes him to go off on the Gatlin Boys.

Interesting, we caught Chuck Berry in Austin around 1985, and he lit up the building. it was way, way better than I expected.

We saw the Go-Go’s, with Marshall Crenshaw and Sparks opening, around the same time. We were really there for the two opening acts, who were great, but we thought we’d hang around for the main event, and they were pretty awful. We left after five or six songs.

I don’t think I’ve seen a disappointing concert by an act I liked.

U2 in Madison at Camp Randall in about 1993, I think.

They were way too concerned with letting us know how liberal they are.

I guess mine is also James Brown, also from the same time period. Many years ago, we’d go to these all-day concerts in Pittsburgh sponsored by 3WS, a local radio station. We always had a good time and saw a lot of ‘oldies’ acts who also seemed to have a good time.

The last one I went to, they switched venues from Star Lake Amphitheater to 3 Rivers Stadium, which in itself was a disappointment. Star Lake was one of my favorite local concert locales, and 3 Rivers was a giant concrete ashtray, horrible for concerts - but none of that was James Brown’s doing.

James was the last performer, the ‘highlight’ of the all-day affair. Well, you pretty much summed up my experience - a tired old man going thought the motions. It was ridiculous when he started his, “Can’t do no more!” shtick at the end of the very first song. Maybe by then it wasn’t shtick, though.

Like Maserschmidt, I’ve never been disappointed by a band I was excited to see. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by opening acts and co-bills.

Shane McGowan and the Popes. It was right after the Pogues had parted ways over his drinking. He was so drunk he couldn’t stand, and was clutching his mic stand for support. He mumbled the lyrics and didn’t talk to the crowd. The Popes played with all the enthusiasm of men who don’t like their job but will do it for the paycheck.

It’s the only time I’ve ever seen one of my favorite songwriters. Disappointment is an understatement.


SNFU’s mixing was so loud that it was literal distortion in my ears. I couldn’t hear a thing. Tonnes of energy at the concert, but it was basically a moshpit set to incomprehensible noise. (And before you comment, yes, I saw that joke coming.)

And secondly, Tagada Jones in Montreal. One of my favourite bands at the time, but so few people showed up it was a listless affair. And one big, corn-fed fatherlumper with spikes on his shoulders crashing through the audience, trying to hurt people.

But I saw both bands at other venues and they made up for it.

Blind Guardian, in Seattle in 2015. The club was about the size of a one-bedroom apartment and there were way too many people packed into it. It was impossible to see the stage, even from the upstairs bar. I wound up spending most of the show lying on a couch I found in a side room off the bar and watching the concert on a monitor with a picture quality marginally better than trying to watch a scrambled pay channel in the '90s. At least I could hear the music and I wound up meeting the lead singer of a local band I’m a fan of who was also in the bar avoiding the crowd, so the night wasn’t a total waste of time and money.

A few weeks later, the fire department shut down a concert at that club because they were way over maximum occupancy, and I wasn’t surprised in the least.

Erykah Badu about ten years ago. It wasn’t terrible, but something happened to her voice around that time - maybe too much smoking.

I was there in the Bieber concert that went viral with my cousins… when he walked out because a fan threw a water bottle at him lol.

So, yeah.

Molly Hatchet circa 1986. Zivkos Chandelier Ball Room, Hartford, Wisconsin. They were the main act.

They came on, sounded great, played 4 songs and took a break.

Then they did not come back out on stage. Snooped around near the back stage and was told by a security guard that they had to get on a plane for the west coast so they had to leave early.

Great plan, leave your fans holding the bag. Jerks!

Not disappointing, because I wasn’t really there for him, but the support for him (I think it was an Ozzfest, or perhaps pre, but about 7 bands in support and all day), but Ozzy Ozzborne.

He was smashed out of his brain. He barely could speak. He staggered about the stage slurring EVERYONE CLAP YOUR HANDS while the backing band sang his songs.

The crowd there seemed to think this was acceptable. Totally weird. I think I left my friend there and went early.

I saw New Order in the summer of 1983, and they were just boring. It was if they put a CD on and stood there.
The concert was at First Avenue in Minneapolis. That was about a month or so before it was shut down for the filming of Purple Rain. I went back to it in December after it reopened, but it would be several months before I figured out that it was used for filming a movie.

Saw REM in concert at some point in the late 1980s. I like their music but god, they’re dull live.

10,000 Maniacs opened for them - they were good.

Here are some previous threads from 2013 and 2018.


Saw them at Bogart’s in Cincinnati in the late 1980s. It was so loud that you couldn’t hear the individual instruments… it was just a wall of noise. A very LOUD wall of noise. It literally sounded like 1000 psi of compressed air shooting from a nozzle. I left after 20 minutes; it was pointless.

My daughter and I saw The Who a few years ago in Columbus, OH. Moon and Entwistle weren’t there, obviously. Daltrey could barely sing. (I felt embarrassed for him.) And there were at least a half dozen other musicians on stage playing guitar, keyboards, etc. I couldn’t wait until it was over - I only stayed because my daughter loves them.