Share your miserable concert experiences

Goddammit I had an extraordinarily shit time at a concert over the weekend – I think the worst show I’ve ever been to.

Mos Def and DOOM at the Congress Theater in Chicago. The concert was originally scheduled for January 29, but was postponed to February 13 for some reason. Doors opened at 7pm so my friends and I got there about 8 because we were not too interested in the opening acts.

And we wait.

And wait.

About 10pm people start booing so the first of several toilet-ass opening acts gets on stage and proceeds to run around yelling unintelligibly like a bunch of over-caffeinated pre-schoolers.

Now I’ve never been to the Congress and perhaps it is known for having the shittiest goddamned acoustics on the planet, or maybe the sound guys were just drunk – I have no idea.

After many openers and booing and bottles being thrown on stage by unruly concert-goers Mos Def shows up on stage at 12:45am and half-asses his way through 30 minutes. At 1:15am DOOM finally shows up and lip-synchs for 20 minutes which can barely be heard because of the fucked up sound system.

Lights on, get the hell out.

People were so riled up and throwing so much shit onstage I thought there was going to be a riot. Both my friends had left earlier because they got tired of waiting so I hightailed it out toot sweet.

I love DOOM’s albums, but dude – if you ever come through Chicago again I will absolutely NOT waste my money to see your shitty-ass live act. It sucks, you suck and Mos Def sucks. The sound guy sucks. The Congress Theater sucks. You all suck. The crowd sucked for throwing so much shit on stage and booing everyone who came on. And I suck for waiting till the bitter end of the suck-fest hoping it would get better. Maybe I’m getting too old for this shit.

Anyone else have craptacular concert stories to share?

The 2002 Broadway on Broadway concert in Times Square. They had moved it from September 10 to 17 because of the 9/11 one year observances. It was cloudy and rainy, and I was stuck between a group of people who kept elbowing me out of the way and a woman who got on her cell phone during every performance and screamed “Guess where I am. Guesss who this is.”

I read a New Yorker article about DOOM, and it said that he sometimes sends impersonators in the metal mask to lip-sync at his concerts instead of actually showing up.

Sounds bizarrely self-sabotaging to me.

Performers I’ve seen stumble around drunk on stage:

  • Steve Miller
  • Paul Westerberg (of the Replacements)
  • Bob Dylan

Performers who behaved ungratefully (IMO) to their PAYING audience:

  • Sinead O’Conner (told the audience - who were cheering her mind you - to “shut the fuck up!”)
  • 10,000 Maniacs (Natalie Merchant yelled at audience members who were shouting out requests for songs, AFTER she asked the audience for requests.)


  • 10,000 Maniacs again - Natalie Merchant stopped a song midway through it and said “I can’t finish the song, I don’t remember the words.” (a song she WROTE mind you!)
    -Grateful Dead - This time it was my fault. I ate the brown acid.

Outdoor concerts where it rained:
-Grateful Dead
-Neil Young

Just plain bad:

  • Melissa Etheridge - shot voice, could barely rasp on key or strum her guitar or hit the right keys on the piano. A HUGE disappointment because I looked forward to this show.
  • the Ramones - not godawful, they just sort of came late, rotely performed a set with no feeling at all, departed with no encore, and basically left an overall feeling of meh - any group of late teenaged punks at a college bar could have done just as well.

I’ve posted about it before:

Motorhead/Dio, NYC 1996. Motorhead opened and were great; Dio came out and was sucky. His lead guitarist played an awful, 10-minute solo - I could have played a better solo and I don’t play guitar. Then, for his encore, Dio played “Rainbow In The Dark”, prefacing it with “This song is a chain around my fucking neck”. I’ve since read how he hated the song so much after the original recording session, he tried to have the master tape destroyed.

Is he lazy, greedy or think it’s performance art?

Nothing as craptastic as your experience, but several years ago I saw the Pixies at at an outdoor music festival - they were the closing act for the night - and I they just stood around, sang a few songs (none of which were well known) and then walked off stage. No interaction with the crowd, no banter between the bandmates. They just looked bored as hell.

The only entertaining thing was the sign language interpreter who was really into her job. She was fun to watch.

Mark-Almond Band at Union College in the early 70s. It was a cold winter night. The concert was scheduled to start at 9:00 pm.

People start gathering around 8:30 to get seats (no assigned seats). We’re out in the cold waiting. The doors don’t open.

9:00 passes. Doors still shut.

9:30. Still freezing our asses off. Doors still shut.

10:00. Doors open. We go inside.

10:30. The band comes out. And proceeds to do a sound check. When we boo them, they bitch at us. I suppose it was possible that they got in too late to do it sooner, but they didn’t mention that. They didn’t apologize that they were too late, either. Just that we were in the wrong for being pissed at them. As though it was a privilege to wait in the cold for an hour and a half while they couldn’t be bothered to show up on time.

The concert finally started around 11:00, but they made no fans with it.

It made me appreciate artists like Buddy Guy/Junior Wells or Earl Scruggs who, if the concert was scheduled at 9:00, would be playing music no later than 9:01.

It seems to be a combination of the three. The article (abstract here, subscription required for full story) wasn’t really clear, but it did state that the impersonators are routinely booed off the stage, sometimes violently.

I wonder if you got the real deal or not. Was he wearing the mask?

Well, it my fault as well, I think.

Went with friends to see the Reverend Horton Heat in NYC, at Webster Hall.

We waited, and waited, and waited, and waited. It never became clear what the cause of the delay was.

Burning a hole in my purse was my copy of Stephen King’s Wizard and Glass, which had just been released THAT DAY. If you weren’t a Dark Tower person, it’s hard to describe how urgently I needed to read that book.

Finally, I couldn’t take it any more and went to the bathroom AT WEBSTER HALL and sat ON THE FLOOR OF THE BATHROOM AT WEBSTER HALL and read Wizard and Glass. It’s a wonder I don’t have hepatitis. The band came on, and I was at a good part, so I kept reading.

At that point my friends pretty much decided I was too old to be taken out in public.

But still, it was a really long delay. I think the concert was scheduled for 9 PM, and it didn’t start until nearly midnight.

My initial reaction to this thread was “how could a concert be miserable?”. It has always been one of my very favorite activities and something I did often when I could afford it (long ago :frowning: ). Then I remembered the excruciating pain that was the **Steve Winwood **concert. Not *Traffic *mind you, but Mr. Winwood in all his monotonous, solo glory. It didn’t help that I was with a creepy date and my choice was sitting through thoroughly unenjoyable noise (in my opinion; no offense SW fans)or being alone with him. In fairness, I think a big part of it was that I wasn’t familiar with the music, which brings me to another painful experience whereby I had to listen to **Yes **muscially masturbate for what seemed like ten hours. I knew and liked their album work, but a live show is a horse of a totally different and torturous color.

I saw Tori Amos and Alanis Morissette at our hockey arena ( St. Pete Times Forum) and the accoustics were so bad as to make the evening a total waste of time.

My biggest disappointing concert experience was David Bowie’s " Serious Moonlight" tour. I’m sure he was outstanding but unfortunately I was out standing behind 50,000 people at Anaheim stadium so I mostly only saw peoples’ backs.

The one bad experience I had was not the fault of the band.

I saw the Grateful Dead at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater in the late 80’s with a friend. We were both in a profoundly altered state of consciousness. Shortly after we arrived and picked a spot to sit, he wandered off and disappeared for the rest of the show. Right behind me was a group of frat boys who spent the whole time loudly mocking the entire experience. I didn’t feel functional enough to move to another spot. Bummer.

I saw them also back in the day ('92 or so) and they were terrible. They came out and muddled through their whole set while staring motionlessly at their shoelaces.

I’ve seen Sonic Youth several times, a big fan, but they are very hit or miss and have given some of the worst shows I’ve seen. There’s a fine line between just drunk enough to jam entertainingly, and too drunk to play at all, and they weave all over that line :slight_smile:

Aerosmith, mid to late 70’s, as they were imploding. Came out drunk. The whole band best I could tell. Heck, I guess the whole crew was wasted. The sound was arrful and Steven Tyler was so drunk/wasted he could hardly stand up and was nasty about the whole thing, cursing and slurring at the audience. Had to just leave that one. A real trainwreck.

If I thought the band sucked before I even went to the concert, does that count for this thread? I was a bit biased, after all. :slight_smile:

My former boss owned a couple of seats in a luxury box at the San Jose Arena (or whatever it’s called these days - HP Pavillion?). I got to see a lot of free concerts over the years. About ten years ago Pantera came through town with Slayer as their opening act. I don’t mind Slayer, but I’m not a fan or anything; but I can’t take Pantera at all. Slayer is my younger brother’s favorite band, so he begged me to take him to this show via my boss’s seats.

The Slayer portion of the show was fine, I even kind of got into it. Then Pantera came along…

During the break, my brother warned me that Pantera’s singer is “kind of an idiot.” That turned out to be a major understatement. The guy was a complete fucking moron, introducing songs with an obviously fake gravelly voice, trying to be “cool” in a Wolfman Jack or Fonzie kind of way. I don’t think the other people in the box appreciated my open laughter.

The main problem, though, was whatever they did with their sound system to make it… so heavy, I guess. I’m not sure how to describe it, but the constant vibration gave me a pounding headache, and made me feel physically ill. I’ve been to countless concerts, including a fair number of metal shows, but this was the only time I was affected like that. After four or five songs I couldn’t take it anymore, and had to leave.

Another biggish act in a NY club being so damn late it took all the fun out of it experience here. Went to see the Dixie Dregs at the Ritz when it was where Webster Hall is now. Got good spots on the floor, got all psyched, smoked all our pot, and waited…and waited…started coming down…bottle gets thrown, smashes on stage…that’s gonna help…and waited…people started crowding in…by the time the band came on we were sore from standing so long. We just kind of endured the show and left.

Another sucky show was Jorma Kaukonen at this cabaret in Sayreville, NJ. The only entertaining thing about the show was the opening comic. Jorma would hurry through a song or two, run off stage, come back on, all through his set. Roy Bookbinder opened for Jorma another time (gave him a second chance) in NYC and wowed the crowd when he told us “New York, man, you guys are a bunch of mean motherfuckers”.

Another one I thought of, though it wasn’t really miserable, but more of a reality check.

I was 17 in 1988 when Guns 'N Roses hit it big, and I got all caught up in the hype over them. I saw them open for Aerosmith that year, and man, did they suck on stage! Then Aerosmith came out and blew GNR out of the water. It really brought me down, made me realize GNR was not the greatest thing since sliced bread.

We like to go see older bands that we missed the first time around, like David Bowie, The Fixx, or Duran Duran. They have without exception put on fantastic, very professional shows. The Fixx really stood out - they were playing a crappy little casino in Edmonton, to a half-full house, and they still put on an entertaining, full effort show.

Our worst concert experience to date was going to see k-os at a local bar. We bought tickets in advance, since that’s what you do for concerts; we showed up at whatever time it said on the tickets, only to find that the bar had people in to watch the local hockey game. The hockey game watchers stayed, taking all the good seats for free, and the concert-ticket-buyers like us got to stand around the edges and try to see the show we had paid to see. We complained to management, and they lied right to our faces, that the hockey game watchers had all been kicked out (they hadn’t - we had seen that they hadn’t). Then k-os was too drunk to put on much of a show after all that. Two out of five for the music, -10 out of five for the venue.

Nearly 30 years later and I still remember how much The New Riders of the Purple Sagesucked. They were all, apparently, drunk 'n stoned. Every single number included long, boring, repetetive solos so that (I guess) they could take turns going back stage to get drunker 'n stoneder. It was the most half-assed performance I’ve ever seen by professional musicians. I’ve seen amateur bar bands turn in better performances while they were drunk 'n stoned.

Except for the part about being “late teenaged punks,” this statement could be used to describe a Moody Blues concert I attended in Toronto in 1989. No life, no feeling, no interaction with the crowd, no encore. I’d guess they did the minimum they had to do as per their contract, and when they were done, they got the hell out. And it showed.