#3. Kings of Leon Drowns in Bird Shit
Kings of Leon was having a concert in St. Louis, Missouri, when, during the third song (a phrase which here means "the third time they played 'Use Somebody' that night"), a flock of pigeons swooped in and shit all over them, because apparently God only answers the most hilarious of prayers.
The birds had been steadily crapping on the show all evening, having previously rained deuces on the two opening acts before assaulting the Kings of Leon themselves, and yet everyone involved chose to ignore what the universe was clearly trying to tell them. The band soldiered through the first two songs, apparently accustomed to singing "Sex on Fire" with runny dumps streaking down their cheeks, but by the time they'd reached the third number on their set list, one of the free-falling sky dooks had landed directly in bassist Jared Followill's mouth.
In most shows, shit just pours out of his mouth, so this was kind of an improvement.
This was somehow the last straw, and the band stormed off the stage in disgust and refused to continue.
As a footnote, we should point out that Alice Cooper had an even stranger story during one of his shows. His trademark boa constrictor (a phrase typically reserved for professional wrestlers and G.I. Joe villains), evidently concerned with leaving a lasting impression on any Rolling Stone reviewers in attendance, squeezed out several huge mounds of snake boom on the stage to ensure that the evening was an affair to remember:
Luckily, several clowns were on hand to rush onstage and clean up the poop (and we mean literal face-painted circus clowns, because Alice Cooper is a maniac). However, the stench was so overwhelming that the clowns started to throw up all over the place, turning their cleaning efforts into one of the labors of Hercules and effectively distracting everyone from the music, which admittedly is the entire purpose of an Alice Cooper concert.
The difference between this and the Kings of Leon incident is that no one felt the need to stop the show, and in fact if Cooper could have trained the snake to do that every time, he almost certainly would have.
"Yeah, I know he just ate. Feed him again. Something from McDonald's, preferably."
#2. A Ska Band Causes an Earthquake
In 1992, the recently reunited ska band Madness held a concert during the Madstock festival in Finsbury Park, London, presumably on a bet with event planners to see if anyone would show up. Around 45,000 people were in attendance, which is a stunning figure for a band that no one under 30 has ever heard of, and the crowd got good and crazy jumping up and down to the frenetic sounds of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' old British uncles. Because truly, there is nothing more exciting than watching a man in a purple suit and a Panama hat jog in place.
After the performance, reports began to come in of tower blocks across Finsbury Park swaying back and forth as the ground beneath them shook, apparently with the force of nearly 50,000 ska fans jumping in unison. This is sort of like standing Jenga on a waterbed while a remedial reading class hops across it, braying incoherently at a DVD sing-along. The force was enough to move peoples' furniture, as well as make them seriously re-evaluate the advantages of living in tall buildings.
Or living close enough to be physically affected by a Madness concert.
As it turns out, the earthquake (which registered an astonishing 4.5 on the Richter scale) was only sort of caused by Madness.
You see, while the crowd's unified jumping certainly had an effect (there are only two ways to dance to ska music, and there simply wasn't enough room for anyone to skank), it was amplified by an underground lake located directly beneath Finsbury Park. The churning boogie fever of 45,000 people created huge waves in the subterranean lake, sort of like those tide pools (here meaning "Band-Aid repositories") that you see in water parks.
"Christ, it smells like horn music and feet."
The rocking of the waves caused the ground above to move as well, scaring the hell out of everyone in Finsbury Park not currently distracted by a band of middle-aged men wearing sunglasses on a cloudy afternoon. So, technically, Madness caused a mini-tsunami that led to a mini-earthquake, which is still an achievement, considering that those things typically occur in the opposite order.
#1. Green Day Has the Biggest Mud Fight in History
It may be hard to believe, but at one point in their career, Green Day didn't get drunk and cry during Top 40 pop concerts.
Case in point: When Green Day played the Woodstock '94 festival, part of a misguided attempt in the 1990s to recapture 1960s youth culture (which continued on through a relaunch of the Volkswagen Beetle, Oasis trying like hell to be the Beatles and two Austin Powers movies). This particular Woodstock (yes, the distinction is necessary, because there were two Woodstocks in the '90s) was dubbed "Mudstock" due to the fact that it rained during the entire festival, turning the grounds into one giant mud pit.
You could plant corn on the audience.
By the time Green Day took the stage for their set, the crowd looked like the bizarre community sex scene from The Matrix Reloaded if flying whales had shit all over it. Everyone was cold, wet and disgusting, and in all likelihood were ready to just go home. Deciding that restless, hung-over 20-somethings would appreciate irony above all else, Green Day launched into "Welcome to Paradise," daring the crowd to try and understand what the hell Billie Joe Armstrong was saying.
One audience member, who perhaps wasn't in the mood to be teased by three millionaires who had just been helicoptered in, threw a handful of mud at the stage. Armstrong, displaying the restraint he is now famous for, responded by shouting "Come on, you assholes, throw some more!"
Hurled clumps of mud quickly covered the stage and all the equipment, and the show completely dissolved like a celebrity intervention as the cameras kept rolling. Armstrong began throwing the mud back into the crowd, posturing and saying random things into the microphone to try and keep them riled up. Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool just continued dutifully playing their instruments, having doubtless grown accustomed to Armstrong eschewing his guitar and trademark congested vocals to do whatever ridiculous bullshit crept up into his mind.
Threatening to stop didn't help. Draw your own conclusions.
Eventually, people began to break through security and climb up on stage, which the band welcomed at first, before ultimately deciding to walk out. For some reason, this only made people more determined to meet Green Day, and they rushed the stage en masse. In the ensuing melee, Dirnt was mistakenly tackled into a bank of monitors by security and had several of his teeth knocked out of his skull (Armstrong presumably ran back on stage to throw them into the crowd). In need of emergency dental surgery for their bass player, the band was airlifted out of Woodstock, which to be fair was probably how they were going to leave anyway.
For more things that didn't go quite according to plan, check out The 5 Biggest Disasters in the History of Marketing Ideas and 5 Corporate Promotions That Ended in (Predictable) Disaster.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The 5 Greatest Accomplishments by Men With Stupid Names.
And stop by LinkSTORM to learn why we're glad Woodstock will never be like it was.
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