Worst attended concert/theater you've seen

I posted a thread in the Game Room about the worst attended sporting event Dopers had seen, and I decided to ask a similar question in Cafe Society. What is the most poorly attended concert/movie/play you’ve ever been to? Did it affect your enjoyment of the event? And were the performers affected by the poor turnout?

I’ve been in many a theater where I was nearly the only person. Not too long ago I went to see Moneyball in a nearly jam-packed theater on a weekend night. When I went to see it again (I really liked it!) the following Tuesday I went to see a late show and was the only person in the theater until a couple came in during the previews. Bizarre.

I saw a movie when I was the only person in the theater. The theater had maybe fifty seats. They asked me before the movie started if I wanted my money back for my ticket so they could cancel the screening, but I said I wanted to see the movie.

The attendance was sold out, but it was the behavior of the Rush concert audience that made it the worst concert experience ever. What a heathen haven. Some of the fans had apparently discovered a way to smuggle alcoholic beverages into the stadium. Also, some audience members were smoking pot.

Very similar experience: two friends and I went to an arthouse cinema evening at our local arts center. Savage Messiah and Un Chien Andalou. We were the only people to turn up (it was a 200-seater room). The projectionist came down and asked us “should I bother?” We said we’d paid so yeah, we wanted to see them. We probably ruined the poor bastard’s evening. Really enjoyed the experience. The movies, not ruining his evening.

I’d read in the NME many a time in the past about British bands going on soul destroying tours of the US, playing in tiny pubs with two men and a dog watching. I thought it was all hyperbole.

Then I went to Atlanta for a couple of months in 1998. At the time I was a big fan of Drugstore. They weren’t huge, but they got a lot of good press and had just had a top 20 single (no doubt helped by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke singing on it). They could sell out a reasonably size venue.

So I saw that Drugstore was playing somewhere in Atlanta, supported by some band that briefly came and went called Arnold. “Ace!” I thought and went along. Turned out it was basically a pub, they were the second band on from four, with the two above them being local bands with quite a student following. Later in the evening things did get quite swinging, but when I was watching Drugstore I think I counted fourteen people.

I’ve been to the movies twice when I was the only person in the audience. Both times they just ran the movie as usual, except one of them shut off the projector during the closing credits.

When I was living in London in the 70s one of my favorite nights out was catching Carol Grimes and the London Boogie Band. She isn’t a well known performer but she was then, and still is, an awesome voice. She is still performing and this is her website.

One night I went to see her at a youth club just off Portobello Rd because I lived a couple of streets away. So did she. I had sometimes seen her in the window of her flat upstairs across the road from the laundromat I used.

I think there were maybe a dozen people there.

They played just as seriously as they had for hundreds of people several times before. The only change they made was that the band played longer instrumental passages while Carol got off the stage to dance with us audience members.

A night I still remember 30 odd years later.

I saw Alien on the opening day in a gigantic mega-screen theater. There were maybe five people in the audience. I loved it!

I thought they were obligated to show the film whether there was an audience or not, both to fulfill the contract and to make the box office numbers accurate.

My husband and I went to a band concert once where the audience was outnumbered by the band.

Back when Moxy Fruvous was on tour for their second or third CD they stopped in little old PEI to play at the campus bar. They had a decent turnout the previous two times they played there before but this time they had maybe 40 people show up.

They played a decent set and even came down into the audience and did a few songs busker style like they used to do on the streets in Toronto with Jian drumming on Dave’s accordion case. Oddly enough Moxy Fruvous never played PEI again…

I went to a Robert Klein performance in Utah where there was hardly anyone in the audience. i really felt sorry for Klein ( a Big Name when he did this, definitely not an unknown), who nevertheless put on a great, full show.
As for movies, I’ve been to many that were sparsely attended – I do believe they have to put the film on. Heck, they might as well – they’ve paid the rental, the theater is committed, and the show will be on for latecomers. It’s worth noting that I attended a showing of Star Wars on the afternoon after it first opened, and it was almost completely deserted. In fact, I sat through the next showing, which was just as empty. Low showing doesn’t indicate that the performer or movie is bad.

I saw The One in a weekend matinee, and was the only person in the theater. It was actually rather fun to have the place all to myself, I kind of wanted to run around like a lunatic, weeeeeee! but I didn’t :frowning:

About twelve years ago, I went to a show in a little bar in Chicago to see the band Hate Dept. When the show started, there were maybe 8-10 people watching the band and it seemed like it would be really awkward. I have to give it to the band, though - they killed it. They played that show like there were 1,000 people in that crowd.

The next night, I saw the band Acumen Nation at the college I was attending. Polar opposite - there were maybe 50 people at that show and I couldn’t wait to leave. I can’t completely blame the band as it was in a room not conducive to a show and pretty much everyone was sitting in the chairs lining the walls. A couple of songs in, they asked “Are there any tracks you want to hear?” Some guy said “Anything off the first album!” And the lead singer said “Oh … we didn’t bring any of those tracks with us. Sorry.” They’re an electronic rock band so all of the electronics were on disc - discs that apparently they didn’t bother to bring for all the albums.

I’ve been to a few local fairs/festivals that hire bands to play on their makeshift stages. When they play to a sitting/standing audience of zero you could possibly chalk it up to their being there as some background atmosphere music for the passing fair goers. It looks bad though when organizers set up a few hundred folding chairs that remain empty throughout the performance.

Some good friends of mine saw The Replacements play Detroit early in their career. They were turned on to the band by the staff at a record store they frequented (Schoolkids Records). When they went to the show, the only people there were my friends and the people from the record store (like 7-10 people).

There’s also a story about The Police playing Detroit for the first time at some small club (Todds?). Supposedly there were only 20 people there. So many people later claimed to be in the audience that the joke was if everyone who claimed to be there actually was, it would have sold out the Silverdome (capacity 90,000+).

I see a lot of art movies and avant-garde music concerts, so there’s been plenty of times where it was me and 2 or 3 other people watching. With movies it’s OK (unless the director traveled there to specifically show it, which can be awkward), but with concerts it can get uncomfortable, especially with applause.

OTOH, I’ve discovered the secret to getting your favourite band to continue playing encores. It’s not wild and raucous applause, it’s no applause at all. Hold all applause until you’re ready for them to quit and they’ll almost always keep playing indefinitely.

tygre and I watched Joe Pernice at a tiny club in Hamilton, ON. The show wasn’t very well advertised locally. Apart from the bartender and friends and family of the opening acts, there was…us.

I acted in an Off-Broadway show about 30 years ago, and one night during a blizzard, the audience consisted of three hookers and a homeless child.

The last time I saw Renaissance was at a little club in Reseda. The crowd was there for the opening act, and by the tine Annie and Co. came on, there were maybe 30 of us left.

Many is hte time I’ve been the only person in the movie theater, especially at art houses.

Neil Young used to try out new stuff by hitting little dives along the north coast of California. Back in college I saw Neil and Crazy Horse in a place that sat maybe 50, and the joint was dead when they went on. That changed rapidly as people hit the pay phone to call friends.