Musicians make mistakes, too. They’re only human, after all. But that doesn’t stop us from delighting in a bit of good-natured Schadenfreude when a performance devolves into a total train wreck. This week has seen its share of disappointment when it comes to live music, including an abrupt end to Jack White’s concert at Radio City Music Hall and the Biebs losing his lunch in the middle of a 105-minute-long set. In light of such mishaps, we’ve put together a list of some of the most notoriously awful, embarrassing, or otherwise disastrous live performances in recent history.
Justin Bieber drinks too much “milk”
Justin Bieber’s Believe tour is off to a bewildering start after the post-pubescent pop sensation vomited onstage during his performance in Arizona. While the Internet may be aflutter with speculations over the cause of the Biebs’s gastrointestinal malfunctions, we can’t help but sit back and simply enjoy the spectacle. According to his Twitter, dairy may have been the culprit: ”And …. Milk was a bad choice! Lol.” But either way, the video clip is 12 seconds of pure Bieber-bile bliss.
Kings of Leon’s bird-poop shower
In one of the more bizarre curiosities of performance history, Kings of Leon were forced to cut their set short in St. Louis in 2010 due to inclement… bird poop. The band made it three songs deep before becoming visibly uncomfortable as pigeon excrement rained down upon the stage.
Ashlee Simpson gets jiggy on SNL
Lip-sync screw-ups, like the infamous Milli Vanilli scandal, are probably the most immediately gratifying way to see an artist derail their career. Ashlee Simpson comes in at a close second for humiliating lip-sync slips, when during her SNL performance she and her supporting band began to perform “Autobiography” while the recorded vocals for “Pieces of Me” played instead. Simpson flounders around stage, dancing a weird jig before apologizing at the end of the show. The pop singer seems to be a magnet for performance gaffes, as she was also notably booed at the Orange Bowl.
Guns N’ Roses abuse your illusion
A band with as extensive of a career as Guns N’ Roses is bound to face its share of blunders. Case in point: the entirety of the epic ’91-’93 Use Your Illusion Tour. Following a series of technical difficulties and other setbacks, multiple performances broke out into riots, controversy, and discontent. The band arrived late to their famously disastrous show at Calder Park in Melbourne, where temperatures skyrocketed and restless crowds were being charged for water. During a 1991 show in St. Louis, Axl Rose famously slammed the mic down before walking off stage. The noise was apparently confused for a gunshot by the crowd, inciting what would become known as the Riverport Riot.
Britney Spears can’t call it a comeback
At the 2007 MTV Music Awards, Britney Spears apparently either forgot the words to her own song or didn’t feel it necessary to keep up with the recorded vocals. Spears has long been a target of both deserved and undeserved humiliation, but this was definitely one of the saddest performances of her career. The all-American pop icon was also famously caught in a foul-mouthed microphone gaffe during a show in 2001, in which she repeatedly describes things as being “retarded.”
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