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Published on January 7th, 2019 | by Jon Bunnies


Weekly survey: Have you ever seen a band booed off the stage?

There are good gigs, there are bad gigs, and then there are gigs that end in disaster.

Maybe it’s a surly crowd. Or it could be that the band (or some part of it) is terrible the result of being drunk, high, or just plain blitzed.

I recall a story about Creed’s Scott Stap recording a concert performance so bad that fans launched a lawsuit. Then there was an Edgefest show where The Verve Pipe were hit with water bottles, forcing them to abandon their set just a few songs in.

Now over to you: Have you ever seen a band booed or bottled off the stage? What were the circumstances? And what was the ultimate outcome? Lemme know.

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is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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38 Responses to Weekly survey: Have you ever seen a band booed off the stage?

  1. Dan says:

    Back in 1989, The Cult were opening for Metallica on their “Damaged Justice” tour. I was pretty excited to see both bands when the show rolled in to Northland Coliseum here in Edmonton. I think it’s safe to say I was in the minority. The Cult started playing, and for two and half songs, they had to deal with stuff being thrown, and constant chants of “Metallica! Metallica!”

    Halfway through the third song, Ian Astbury stopped singing and said “You guys are a fucking waste of time.” Then he threw down the mic and left the stage. The rest of the band played for another 30 seconds or so, realized he wasn’t coming back, and then they left too. That was the first cheer the band got.

    • Colin Ible says:

      I remember that too. We wanted Metallica and The Cult wasnt going to cut it. Whoever chose them to open for Metallica didnt understand the fans… or the basics of metal music.

      • Joaquin says:

        Something similar happened to Billy Talent on a metal festival on Downsview Park in Toronto, some years ago… Benjamin Kowalewicz kept apologizing between songs as the crowd was chanting Slayer! Slayer! felt bad for the guys… they tried.

      • Dan says:

        I knew a Colin Ible in high scool. Did you go to Stony?

  2. Daniel Hamel says:

    I saw Gob, Matthew Good, and Moist in Calgary sometime in the mid-90’s. This would have been in support of Beautiful Midnight and Creature. No one got booed off the stage, but folks got pretty rowdy during MGB’s set, and he got hit in the head with a shoe.

    I was also at U2’s PopMart show in Edmonton in ’97. The opening act was Fun Lovin’ Criminals. They didn’t get booed but I think that’s only because they were so boring no one really knew they were even there. They would play a song, the singer would say “Thank you, God bless.” and they’d play another song. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    I was at the Sex Pistols show in 2003 at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto, too. The whole pit was spitting up on stage, and the band walked off after a few songs, Johnny Rotten in full tantrum mode. A few minutes later they came out to finish the set anyway. Guess someone waved a few bills under their noses.

  3. Tim Horton says:

    Police Picnic 1983. Joan Jett was pelted with sandwiches and ended her show early.

    • Pete Bryan says:

      I remember that; she left the stage after “I Love Rock and Roll” and the MC had to come out and bollock the crowd.

  4. Jim S says:

    Am I misremembering this or did Guns n Roses get booed after their set opening for The Cult at Exhibition Stadium in Aug ‘87. I remember them going off on a golf cart flipping the bird to the crowd. LOL

    • Scott Bradley says:

      I was at that show. The most memorable opening act show I’ve ever seen. We were in row 9. Don’t remember them being booed off the stage, but they played their set hard and mean.

    • Ivan says:

      I was there and yes gnr was booed off staged…they were awful and remember Axel saying that thier bassist was high on coke and couldn’t play….they were booed and once they left ty he lights came on with the Doors playing on the speakers and the crowd cheering….

    • jayabraham4003 says:

      I don’t remember them getting booed of stage but they were terrible

  5. Dave Thomson says:

    At a Canada Day ‘Edgefest’ show in the early 2000s, the venue was always at Molson Park in Barrie ON. The lineup included bands such as Sloan, Nickelback, and The Tragically Hip. One of the opening acts was Cake. And they were awesome….for the first few songs. The crowd response was positive,and all was going well, that is until the lead singer tried to get the crowd singing along. No big deal right? Whelp, in a misguided turn, he said, ‘cmon Canada, prove to us why we shouldn’t be c9ming up here and stealing all you water!”
    Needless to say, on Canada Day, this was not received in the way I believe he intended. Literally every water bottle in the park came up to the stage. Damaging the keyboards and hitting the band.
    The keyboardist uttered something derogatory in the mic, and then it got worse.
    After that, the band was off stage. Never to return

  6. Steve says:

    Cake at Edgefest (late nineties). Lineup was skewed somewhat hard-rock that year and some folks didn’t want to expand their horizons. However, the band contributed to the problem by;
    1. On their second song, trying to organize a sing-along to a song most people had never heard of.
    2. Reacting very badly when people did not join in (including making an odd reference to Nazi Germany).
    3. Dragging this on, and on, and on…
    Once the lead singer announced that they’d leave the stage if one Let`s see thrown bottle connected, this just encouraged the lugans to improve their aim.

  7. Mitch T says:

    I don’t think it was edgefest, but maybe summersault, but Cake was playing and they got bottled off after like 2 songs. They made comment about not being Nickelback(who we’re closing the festival) and gave a warning but another bottle came up and spilled all over the keyboard and they were gone .

  8. Ken says:

    I saw Tesla open for Def Leppard in Calgary in 1988? They were roundly booed.

  9. CraigJ says:

    Lone Justice opening for U2 in Ottawa in 85. The guitar player seemed to really enjoy batting bags of popcorn with his guitar before they hit the stage. Don’t remember if they got bottled though.

  10. Kurtys says:

    Edgefest Molson Park 2002 – Cake made some remark about being Americans coming to steal Canadian water. Did not go over well.
    First the boos. Then pelted with water bottles. Left the stage maybe 5 songs in.

  11. Troy Collins says:

    Can’t remember what tour it was, I think back in 1982-ish? The Payolas opened for Rush at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, and they got boo’d off the stage only a few songs into their set. Everyone was there for Rush, and it was painfully obvious. Felt bad for them, but they really weren’t very good. Red Rider opened for them another time, and they were awesome.

  12. Bruce Cooke says:

    Joe Jackson opened up for The Who at the CNE in ’82 during their first farewell tour. He was booed and then the bottles started flying. I dont recall him finishing the set.

    • Joe says:

      My Dad was at that concert. He says a guy threw a hot dog at one of his band members and he said “If you’re gonna throw a hot dog, throw it at me, I write this shit.” However, he said the crowd cheered when he did an acapella version of Is She Really Going Out with Him?

  13. Laura says:

    At the Jesus and Mary Chain sometime around 1988, the singer came out clearly out of his head. He clung to the mike stand and slurred awhile before the crowd started to boo… then he picked up the stand and hit an audience member with it. The band ran out to their bus but we ran out as a crowd and blocked it and he ended up arrested, that was a good one! At another show around the same time, we booed an opening act that I can’t recall. What I do remember is that Chris Shepherd, CFNY’s radio dude and concert host, came out and told us right off for being such jerks to the poor guy.

    • jayabraham4003 says:

      At RPM. I was literally 10 feet from the girl when he hit her but I remember it being the mic, not the stand. But that’s a long time ago…

  14. Larry Brown says:

    The Concert Hall 1981…Men Without Hats opened for The Stranglers…You have to give MWH credit, they played on despite the debris hailing down on them…My question is: Who thought this was a good pairing? Or wasn’t Debbie Boone available?

  15. Charlie says:

    I’ve seen eagles of death metal open for gnr in Cleveland. They were booed mercilessly the entire time but it layed their full set.

    A few songs into the GnR set, Axl asked the crowd, “what did you think of the pigeons of shit metal? They’ll never play another show with us.” The crowd cheered mightily. That was the first and only show eagles of death metal played with GnR. Totally wrong crowd for that band and they really did suck that night.

  16. Jonathan says:

    The Catherine Wheel at Summersault 2000 in Halifax. They stuck out amongst the other bands like Finger Eleven, A Perfect Circle, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins and Our Lady Peace.

    The crowd was getting rowdy near the end of their set because the Foo Fighters were up next and when they finished the sounds of boos and general distain were pretty loud.

    The lead singer said in the mic before exiting the stage “thank you Halifax, you will never see us again”

    That’s the only time I’ve ever seen a band get such a negative reaction. I’ve been to a few local shows with some terrible bands but most people are nice and will clap for them.

  17. Randy Lancaster says:

    A famous one was the Ramones at CNE stadium 1979. Billing was bad Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Nazareth, Johnny Winter Goddo and Moxy. The band wasn’t very good either, playing double time. Left after a few songs and a ton of debris, shooting everyone the bird.

    • dan sullivan says:

      Yeah, the band was knee deep in garbage about four songs in. A couple of songs later the Ramones stopped playing, Joey flipped the crowd a bird and stormed off. I could see them piling into a black limo from my vantage point in the stands. A colossal mismatch. Aerosmith was also execrable that night as I recall. Johnny and Edgar stole the show.

    • dan sullivan says:

      Joe Jackson had a particularly rough outing opening for The Who in Oct 1982 and was pelted with garbage at CNE Stadium. Felt pretty bad for him.

    • Joe says:

      The Ramones also got booed opening for the Stones.

  18. Joe says:

    Is booing bands off stage a thing of the past? I’ve seen almost 250 sets just in the past 10 years and I’ve never seen anyone booed off stage. I never understood why people boo opening bands they don’t like anyway. It’s not like the band they want to see isn’t gonna perform. You just have to wait a bit, usually not Let`s see than an hour. The lack of patience of some people is ridiculous.

  19. Shane says:

    Faith No More/Metallica/Guns and Roses in Montreal. Nobody seemed to be into Faith No More (boo), Metallica came out did 5 songs and Hetfield burnt his arm (Let`s see booing), Guns and Roses come out play 5 songs before Axl leaves frustrated due to his voice being fucked up (Let`s see booing follow by setting fire to the seats followed by a full blown riot).

    In Toronto at heavy TO, Billy Talent got shit thrown at them, yelled at, booed, and to there credit kept on playing. There were people there to see them but most wanted them gone.

  20. Kolin says:

    They weren’t booed off the stage but perhaps they should have been. I saw Pearl Jam at the Edmonton Convention Center on their first tour in support of 10. The opening acts, Cadillac Tramps and another band I can’t remember, were horrid. Pearl Jam themselves came out 45 minutes late, and completely wrecked. They stumbled around the stage for their set, Vedder’s vocals were a slurry mess, and the kicker that finally prompted my friend and I to walk out of the show was a horrifically butchered cover of Owner of a Lonely Heart, by Yes.

    That being said, Pearl Jam is one of my favourite bands and has completely redeemed themselves in my eyes, but that concert stands as a historic low point for 40 years of attending live shows.

  21. Mike says:

    I remember seeing Eminem at Warped Tour 99 in Vancouver. Only Hi My Name Is had been released and the punk crowd started throwing the half lemons from the lemonade at him. He had a roadie who looked like Cletus from the Simpsons running around the stage diving in front of the lemons taking them for Eminem like secret service guys taking a bullet for the president. Hilarious half hour set.

  22. Dan says:

    Remembered another. Back in around 1992 or 1993, there was a Canada Day concert in Camrose, AB. Same venue as the Big Valley shows. Anyway, the bill was Tom Cochrane, Def Leppard, Ugly Kid Joe, Sven Gali, April Wine, and Rockhead. It was raining that weekend, and the field was muddy. And during Ugly Kid Joe’s set people were throwing mud around. Not at the band, but just in general. A couple of songs in, they’re interupted by an anouncement that everyone needs to stop throwing mud. Then there’s another announcments, and the band is visibly not amused. Mud keeps getting thrown around. There’s another announcement, this time they cut the band off, and whoever is doing the announcing advises that if any Let`s see mud is thrown, then UKJ are done. Singer gets on the mic and points to the sound booth, then tells everyone to throw mud at the guy interrupting their show. As you might guess, the sound booth is just pelted with mud. Completely covered. Needless to say, UKJ have their set cut short. And if I recall, the radio station promoting the show went on an anti-UKJ kick, and boycotted the band from that day forward.

  23. Danny says:

    I saw Tool in Vancouver on the Aenima tour. The opening act was The Cows. The lead singer was dressed in a sailor outfit and played the trumpet. Needless to say, the crowd threw stuff and booed them off the stage. Maynard came out wearing only a speedo and chewed out the crowd for their behaviour. Tool then played an unreal show! And The Cows were never heard from again…

  24. Matt says:

    I can’t remember the year, but it was a Warped Tour date in Calgary which should narrow it down to only a few possible years. It would have been late 90s or early 00s, anyway. Pennywise was headlining the main stage and was running late, so someone thought it would be a good idea to send that year’s token hip-hop act (I want to say it was Kool Keith) out to entertain the waiting crowd. It did not go well for him.

  25. Marty Murray says:

    The old classic rock guy chiming in here….I wasn’t at this particular show, but I had friends who were. The Stones were headlining one of the old Superfest shows at Rich Stadium in Buffalo. The other two acts were Journey and George Thorogood. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to pair up Journey with the Stones, but it was a bad choice. Thorogood got a soaking wet crowd going nuts in the pouring rain, rocking the place. Journey came out and began getting booed, with people calling for the Stones. They only played three songs or so, then left.

    I was at a local small venue back in the 80’s to see Foghat. The other act was blues-rocker Pat Travers. For some reason Travers thought he should be the headliner, and insisted on going on second. Bad choice. Most people were there to see Foghat, and they rocked. It was still mostly the original band, and honestly I would have been scared to follow them. They finished, and half the crowd left, leaving the venue fairly empty-looking. Travers came out and was visibly upset about this, complaining throughout his set about bad sound and the crowd not being into his show. More people left. Sometimes it pays to check your ego at the door.

  26. Mike says:

    Not booed off but cleared the crowd out, The Reverend Horton Heat played Warped Tour in Vancouver in ’98 I think. Had a pretty decent sized crowd at their stage when lead singer singled out a young lady in the crowd who had tattoos and went on a big rant about how disgusting girls with tattoos are. Within about 3 minutes there were less than 50 people left.

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