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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Strangest concert moments I've witnessed

Ranking the 7 oddest moments I've encountered during concerts...

7 Black Dice make the case for ear plugs
Andy Warhol Museum, September 16, 2005
This was BY FAR the loudest show I ever attended. Not knowing the band's music at all, I dragged my friend Kristie along for what I thought would be a fun evening. Then Black Dice came out and played their freaky experimental music, with the volume cranked up to jet-takeoff levels. After about 3 songs, we had to get the hell out of there, lest we risk permanent hearing loss. So we headed up to the third floor of the Warhol - and we could STILL hear the band from three floors away! It was far more enjoyable from there.

6 Brian VanderArk goes Jesus on my ass
Club Cafe, October 28, 2005
This would be the former lead singer of the Verve Pipe. It also happened to be the smallest crowd I've ever seen for a show - about 20 people. I felt bad for the guy. Then, his first song was about Jesus-loving, and I thought, oh my God, he's become a Christian rock artist, and now I have to sit through 2 hours of this! I've been duped! This is going to be a miserable experience! Thankfully, the rest of his set was normal, old-fashioned mainstream rock. But for five minutes I was scared shitless.

5 Mike Doughty flips out
Mr. Small's Theatre, April 12, 2008
Doughty always asks audience members for requests, but 90% of the time he denies the requests, saying, "Not tonight" or "Maybe later." So you think he'd be used to people getting upset when he shoots them down. But at his last Mr. Small's show, some girl in the crowd evidently got mad that he didn't honor her request, and Doughty flipped out on her. "Are you fucking kidding me? Shove it up your hole, you stupid cunt!" Perhaps he should just not take requests anymore...

4 Insane Clown Posse break out the Faygo and glitter
The Bomb Shelter, April, 2003
I only went to this concert out of curiosity - and because the small agency I worked for had booked it. Those familiar with ICP know that during shows they have a habit of spraying red Faygo pop all over the crowd, then covering the audience with party glitter. I kept my distance from the stage but still left this show sticky and glittery. Equally strange was seeing the opening act - 2 Live Crew - play their infamous hit "Me So Horny" inside this small club in New Castle, Pa.

3 Slipknot inspire audience mayhem
Post-Gazette Pavilion, July 28, 2001
At Ozzfest 2001, Slipknot, wearing their trademark rubber masks and red jumpsuits, put on one of the most intense shows I've ever seen. As they came out for an encore, fans started heaving into the air everything they could get their hands on. They filled giant fishbowl-sized beer cups with giant pieces of sod and mud, and fired them towards the pavilion. These were seriously dangerous projectiles, and people who didn't have their head on a swivel ended up getting seriously hurt. There were literally hundreds of objects flying through the air at once. I was quite fearful at one point that a riot was going to break out.

2 Olivia Newton-John's comical ode to trees
Indiana University, October 26, 2003
OK, first I have to explain why in the world I was at an Olivia Newton-John show. I make a habit of telling friends that I'll go to pretty much any concert, any place, that anyone wants to go to. I had a friend at the time who for some reason adored Olivia, so off to Indiana University of Pennsylvania we went. The show was actually better than I expected, but there were two hilarious moments I'll never forget: One, her ridiculously earnest ode to trees ("Don't cut me down/I am innocent/I need room to grow/I am your friend".) And two, a so-serious-it-was-comical acoustic reworking of "Let's Get Physical." I had the church giggles during that one.

1 KISS show that face painters are patriots too
Post-Gazette Pavilion, July 4, 2004
The most surreal moment I've witnessed came during KISS's July 4 concert. I never expected this band with the scary makeup and rowdy attitude to be starting "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" chants, but they did. I was incredulous as Paul Stanley repeatedly encouraged everyone. "Come on, you love your country, let's hear it!" Over and over for two hours we were asked to demonstrate our patriotism with mindless chants. It felt like I had been dropped into a NASCAR event.


Deena said...

Great post, Scott. I'd have to say that my strangest concert experience was seeing Mest at Club Zoo in 2005 (or was it 06?). At one point the lead singer started talking about how musicians spend too much time whining about how lousy their lives are and how life isn't worth living. Then in so many words he said that those people should just stop complaining and commit suicide and put themselves out of their misery. It was completely surreal, and kind of disturbing.

Scott said...

That is crazy!

BeckEye said...

Hrrrmph. You never mentioned your lovely concert-going partner at the Vander Ark concert.

I was scared shitless the whole time because he used to be pretty hot, but that night he looked like a hobo.

DJRainDog said...

True, she may be outmoded, and true, she sometimes sings songs whose lyrics are excruciating (in addition to the song you heard about trees, there's also "The Dolphin Song", remember?), but Olivia's got one hell of a set of pipes. However old she is, she can still belt 'em out far better than most over an astonishing range.

Scott said...

BeckEye... You're right... we comprised 10% of the audience at Vander Ark's show!

Djraindog... I agree completely!