Performers too drunk or stoned to finish a concert?

What concerts have you seen where the artist was too loaded to complete the performance?

This question was inspired by a thread on concert performances where the artist played a wrong note or sang the wrong lyrics.

I saw the brilliant guitarist John Fahey ** at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco get completely drunk on brandy & sodas ** from the house bar. As he played, Fahey would ask for a drink, and the owner would have one sent up to him on a little tray. As the evening passed, Fahey got completely shit-faced. He started trashing Leo Kottke for only playing fast, and not playing that well. At one point he stopped playing, stood up, and announced to the audience ‘I have to go to the bathroom.’ He left the stage and returned a few minutes later. He started mumbling about approaching and falling into the abyss of Good Friday. He was served no more drinks from the bar, and the concert ended in a confused muddle. Fahey’s guitar playing was excellent throughout.

i once saw bif naked so drunk on stage that she took off her shoes and threw them at the crowd, swore at them when they wouldn’t return them, and then stumble off the stage only 15 minutes into her scheduled 2 hours.

and i’ve also heard a recording of REM covering ‘paint it black’ - stipes was so loaded he could only remember the first verse, so he kept repeating it; around the fourth time he actually forgets the first verse and just hums it. great stuff.

I don’t know if this was drugs, alcohol or just plain stupidity.

I went to see The Monsters of Rock headlined by The Scorpions and Motley Crue. This Canadian band called Flash Bastard was opening. Well, no one really cared about them, the seats were only half full and most folks were waiting for the Scorps to show up. Well, Flash Bastard’s singer is flopping around on stage like a dead fish and they weren’t terribly impressive. Then he starts yelling at the crowd to cheer. Of course, no one does. Then he starts insulting Americans, us being uncouth louts because we don’t applaud lousy acts by forgien bands. They ended up getting bood off the stage. And this was the first show of the tour!

I saw Johnny Thunders live twice. Enough said.

I didn’t see this, but there is the story of a Who concert where Keith was so wiped out on multiple drugs that he lost consciousness at the kit. Pete then got the brilliant idea to ask if anyone in the audience was a drummer. They got somebody from the crowd behind the kit, and apparently played the remainder of a successful set!

IIRC Judy Garland had some performance problems related to her excesses of booze.

I saw the Replacements shitfaced one time, or IOW, I saw the Replacements… :smiley:

Watch Nirvana’s Unplugged performance. Kurt almost nods off several times.

Ozzy was on so many sedatives a couple of years ago that he sat down in the middle of a concert and starting rambling about how fucked up he was over his wife having cancer, and how he couldn’t live without her, and how he needed everyone to love him and support him through it. Of course, it was Ozzy, so people loved it.

Vince Neil has been notorious over the last couple of years for being thoroughly shitfaced during performances.

This is quite true, I was there! It was at the Winterland in San Francisco in early '74. Apparently Keith had been slipped some PCP or other strong drug. As the set progressed, his drumming became very sloppy until he finally fell off the stool. The Who stopped the set for awhile, all going backstage. Eventually they returned and Keith commenced playing again, only to finally pass out behind his kit. I remeber him being dragged off stage, but right at the edge before disappearing behind the curtain Bill Graham grabbed him, stood him up and slapped him hard across the face twice, trying to revive him. Keith’s head just lolled over his shoulders. Pete then went to the crowd and asked, “Does anyone know how to play drums?” The crowd roared. “Does anyone want to play with us!?” The crowd went nuts, and one guy clambered onto the stage. They played about 45 minutes of long, drawn out blues jams - no Who songs that I remember.

More from the Who concert. They may all have been buzzed. During the show, Roger Daltry was swinging the microphone around over his head like a lasso. He misjudged when bringing it down and the cord wrapped around his neck. The microphone clocked him in the side of the face!

Here’s a few sentences from a New York Times article of March 18, 2002, on an Elton John-Billy Joel concert in New York. The concert tour was cut short after this performance, and I believe Billy Joel checked himself into rehab. (I saved the article because it seemed such an unusual description.) Technically, this isn’t a case where the performer was too drunk to finish the concert, but it’s interesting nonetheless. And I hope that this extract of the article falls under the fair use provisions of the copyright laws.

I’m listening to Shane MacGowan’s Accross the Broad Atlantic right now, and he’s clearly sloshed. Of course, with Shane (God love him and shave him) it’s a miracle he could find the microphone, let alone remember the words to his own songs. He’s notorious for not even showing up for his concerts at all. There’s a movie biography about him on DVD, If I Should Fall from Grace, that’s about 80% interviews with him, and he’s not sober in a single frame. Terribly sad, but like Dewey Finn’s Billy Joel concert, oddly appropriate to the kind of music he performs.

You stole my thunder. They lost Stinson about halfway through the show and just left him laying there on the stage. Still a great show.

I saw Lone Justice when they were touring on their first album, the night before their SNL appearance. A tiny little club in Norfolk, Virginia. Maria McKee, the lead singer, was so wasted on whatever-it-was that she had to be propped up between songs by the guitarist. But once the music started, it was like someone threw a switch. A truly remarkable vocal performance, but you could tell that she couldn’t focus past more than a foot or two past her nose. So no, she wasn’t too wasted to finish the show, but she was too wasted to do anything but sing.

A friend’s parents saw Bob Seger in concert years ago. He came out drunk, slurred through about a song and a half, then lay down on the stage and went to sleep!

I saw Marilyn Manson do that back in 1995. Paramedics had to carry him offstage and he had quite a shiner after the show.

Santana, early 70s.

Don’t know what the problem was, but by the end of the third song, more than half the audience had walked out. That’s when I left; don’t know if they finished playing to an empty venue or what.

I read that in the 70’s, Joe Cocker would frequently come out on stage totally hammered, and would do things like forget the words to his songs, or vomit on stage, or not be able to complete a concert.

Elliott Smith was apparently sometimes pretty bad with this sort of thing as well. I’ve heard a few recordings of him doing a live performance in the radio studio–during the interviews he sounded, well…not there.

Elliott Smith was apparently sometimes pretty bad with this sort of thing as well. I’ve heard a few recordings of him doing a live performance in the radio studio–during the interviews he sounded, well…not there.