5 Awkward Concerts That Were Painful To Watch
Since we're all missing the live concert-going experience right now, I thought I'd take a second to remind you that sometimes concerts aren't fun! Sometimes the idiot standing next to you starts moshing during an acoustic set or the woman behind you decided to try psilocybin in a crowded room of 300 sweaty people. So yes, here are five that I'm so glad I didn't experience live, and even after being cooped up in my house, I would not wish upon anybody.
Lin-Manuel Miranda At The 2009 White House Poetry Jam
What, an early performance of the beloved Tony Award-winning show that would go on to sweep the nation six years later becoming the most popular modern musical of all time? Surely that would be magical, right? Nope! It was so goddamn awkward.
The first time anyone hears the plot of Hamilton, it sounds objectively insane and when Lin-Manuel comes out with his unabashed big theater kid energy to tell the Obamas that Alexander Hamilton "embodies hip-hop" you can practically see a secret service agent mumble into an earpiece, "Execute formation meat sluice. I repeat, EXECUTE FORMATION MEAT SLUICE."
People thought it was a joke and were actively laughing at Miranda throughout the performance. Meanwhile, he's doing Hamilton. It's great. He's obviously very passionate about the work, but the crowd just had no idea what to make of a guy rapping about Alexander Hamilton, and neither would you in 2009. You really have to hand it to Miranda, Barack Obama laughed at him, and instead of curling up in a ball and dying, he just kept working and eventually made the ridiculous premise into a huge hit musical. In 2016, he returned to White House with the rest of the cast of Hamilton to perform for the Obamas once again, and I'm pretty sure that time they managed to keep a straight face for the whole thing.
Nine Inch Nails On Dance Party USA
You haven't lived until you've watched Trent Reznor belt lines like "I'll cross my heart, I'll hope to die, but the needle's already in my eye," in front of a big glittering sign that says Dance Party USA. The clips of the crowd dancing, which were a big part of the 1990s cheeseball music show that was Dance Party USA, are few and far between, probably because the kids seem to find Nine Inch Nails a little bit harder to dance too than the shows typical music. The few teenagers we see dancing are doing what I would describe as "backwards gorilla arms" or "the running man, but angry."
If you look at other past performances on Dance Party USA, they occasionally have excited teens get up around the band and dance. You get the distinct impression that this was a band they didn't want the kids getting too close to. In 2012 Trent Reznor commented on rediscovered footage of the band's performance on Twitter, saying, "Many years ago, a young and naive Nine Inch Nails were asked what TV shows they'd be interested in appearing on. As a joke (and likely drunk), they thought of the most absurd choice they could come up with at the time." The idea of Trent Reznor getting drunk and booking himself on popular daytime shows is fantastic. Someone convince him that Kelly Ripa needs a new co-host, he's the only man for the job.
A Four-Year-Old Kid Performing In Front Of Prince
Every country has their weird novelty songs, and we of the land of "Rock Lobster" can't pass too much judgment on France for giving someone who just learned to pee in a toilet a #1 single. The singer's name was Jordy, and said single roughly translated to, "It's Tough To Be A Baby."
It was #1 for fifteen weeks in France during 1992. This landed Jordy a spot at the World Music Awards, where he got to perform the song in front of Prince and Whitney Houston. The look on everyone's face as this confused toddler takes the stage surrounded by models in evening wear is somehow the most French thing ever, outside of chain-smoking with your mistress in an old church.
A kid singing a song is cute. Watching Prince be forced to watch a kid sing a song is awkward. The performance is incredible for a four-year-old, but standards for what a four-year-old can do are pretty low. ("He didn't wander off stage mid-song, excellent, five stars!") It's just kind of hard to watch people who've worked so hard their entire lives making amazing music sit in an audience and watch a baby flail around and the audience is like, "Oh yeah this is just as good, I guess."
Ice Cube Performing On Nickelodeon
All That was a Nickelodeon children's sketch show that was hugely popular in the '90s. The show used to have a musical guest at the end of each episode, such as The Backstreet Boys, Mandy Moore, and Christina Milian. Also, on Season 4, Ice Cube.
Yes, Ice Cube took the Nickelodeon stage to sing his hit song "We Be Clubbin" to a group of 10-year-old children who should not be clubbin'. Since "We be Clubbin" is about clubbin and therefore includes many references to things done in clubs (like drinkin and "Westside hittin hairy cock all night long"), the version performed on Nickelodeon was heavily edited.
Most of the song was replaced with the phrases "Break it off, break it off," "All That," "Nickelodeon," and "We Be Clubbin" yelled at random intervals. But hey, who amongst us hasn't yelled "She got back for days!" to a crowd of happy children on cable TV?
Roseanne Doing What Can Loosely Be Described As The National Anthem
In 1990, the man who executive produced both Roseanne and The Cosby Show owned the San Diego Padres. The shows were a hit, but the Padres sucked that season, so to get butts in seats, The Padres booked Roseanne to sing the national anthem on the park's Working Women's Day. She was initially asked to sing Take Me Out To The Ball Game since the national anthem is insanely difficult, and she's, you know, not a singer, but famous good decision maker. Roseanne wanted to give "The Star-Spangled Banner" a shot. They offered to have her pre-record it and lip sync to the track, but again, Roseanne, a smart woman, said no.
The crowd starts booing by the time she gets to "Can you see?" and don't stop for the entire performance. At one point, Barr shoves her hands in her ears, possibly to drown out the boos, or maybe to drown out the delayed echo of her own voice, throwing off her singing even more. At the end of the performance, she grabs her crotch and spits on the ground. People took this is a comment on the anthem itself (not wet enough), but Barr said in a press conference after the event that she just "thought it would be funny."
President George H.W. Bush called the performance "disgraceful," and after, Barr, who is probably a scientist, held a press conference to defend herself. "There's a lot of people that sing like me in this country. I have the right to sing 'The Star-Spangled Banner,' too," she said. You read it here first folks: it's your God-given right to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at a Padres game, whenever you want. If a security guard tries to stop you, inform him that this is America!
Top image: Faer Out/Shutterstock