Lou Reed, 1973, New York
Audience displeasure works on a sliding scale. Most fans will settle for a refund. Some will opt for booing. A handful will throw bottles of piss.
In March 1973, one punter in Buffalo expressed his displeasure at Reed’s set in surreal fashion, by leaping up onto the stage, shouting “leather!” and biting the former Velvet Underground star on his era-defining arse.
Keith Moon & Pete Townshend, 1967, USA
Proof that drummers have always been fools came with The Who’s riotous 1967 performance of My Generation on US TV, when Keith Moon’s stunt of detonating his kit with a treble dose of flash powder ignited Uncle Pete’s hair and permanently damaged his hearing. Nice one, Keith.
You can watch the whole incident on YouTube.
Noel Gallagher, 2008, Toronto
The Oasis guvnor was halfway through Morning Glory when Daniel Sullivan sprinted in from behind, shoving Noel onto the monitor and cracking three ribs.
Naturally, we can’t condone this behaviour… if you had that opportunity, surely you’d push Liam?
Matt Bellamy, 2004, Atlanta
If aliens do walk among us, as Matt Bellamy insists, they’d presumably have written off the concept of intelligent life on earth after watching the Muse man head-butt his own headstock during the intro to Citizen Erased.
His expert medical diagnosis from the stage: “I’ve f***ed my face up real bad…”
Keith Richards, 1965, Sacramento
The indestructible Stone doubled as a lightning rod when his Tele brushed against a live mic. The fact he was playing The Last Time seemed a grim irony, but Keef was apparently saved by his rubber soles.
“I woke up in the hospital an hour later,” he recalls. “The doctor said electrocution victims come around or they don’t.”
Frank Zappa, 1971, London
Zappa splashed down in the concrete orchestra pit of the Rainbow Theatre, shoved by a fan for the offence of ‘making eyes’ at his girlfriend.
The damage? Multiple fractures, a crushed larynx, head trauma and months in a wheelchair.
Krist Novoselic, 1992, Los Angeles
Launching his bass skywards at the MTV Awards, Novoselic reminded us that musicians can’t catch: “Maybe I was a little nervous, but it popped me on the head. Kurt didn’t know what happened. He kicked me in the ass as I went offstage!”
Pete Townshend, 1989, Washington
Townshend’s second trip to A&E occurred when his trademark windmilling during Won’t Get Fooled Again was soured by the whammy impaling his strumming hand between the fourth and fifth fingers.
“I looked down,” recalls the Who man, “and I thought, ‘shit’.” Well, quite.
Ryan Adams, 2004, Liverpool
There’s a difference between stage diving and plummeting, as Adams discovered to his cost when he dropped six feet onto his wrist at the Royal Court Theatre.
“The sound of it breaking off my arm was loud,” Adams noted. “Some people couldn’t look.”
James Hetfield, 1992, Montreal
Never play with fireworks: solid advice to schoolboys that went spectacularly unheeded by the Metallica man when he stepped onto a white-hot magnesium flash during Fade To Black.
“So I’m burnt all up my arm,” he remembers. “My hand completely down to the bone, the side of my face… my hair gone! I look down and just watch the skin just rising…”
A month after his run-in with a rogue pyro, Hetfield was back onstage: “That’s the Metallica way”.