15 Most Embarrassing Onstage Moments



15. Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of



It was a travesty of a mockery of a sham when U2, the world's most earnest band, went ironic for its mega-sized 1997 Popmart tour. Metaphorically speaking, it doesn't get much more precious than the incident in Oslo when the band's 40-foot lemon-shaped pod malfunctioned, trapping the band inside. All they could do was laugh, the Edge later admitted.



14. His Name Was Mud



At Woodstock '94, those incorrigible boys in Green Day took the fabled festival's legendary history of muddy conditions to the punk-rock extreme, starting an epic mud-fight with the audience. With the stage filled with muck-covered fans, bassist Mike Dirnt was mistaken for a trespasser by a security guard, who leveled the musician, knocking out several teeth.

13. A Lot of Hot Air



Anyone who's seen the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade knows that giant balloons are trouble. Blow-up props in rock, from Pink Floyd's floating pigs to Limp Bizkit's gargantuan penis, are inevitable sources of amusement. In 1977, Fleetwood Mac celebrated their status as the world's biggest band by incorporating a 70-foot penguin into their act. The problem with this particular ginormous plastic waterfowl is that it was always flaccid. "It would never fully inflate," recalled Lindsey Buckingham. "This thing was limping and floundering at the back of the stage."

12. Moon Shot



From flying shards of Pete Townshend's guitars to black eyes caused by Roger Daltrey's windmilling microphones, the Who have always been one of rock's most fiasco-prone bands. No one held a candle, however, to the late Keith Moon, whose piece de resistance was the explosion he rigged to go off during the band's 1967 appearance on 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.' More powerful than planned, it propelled the drum kit and Daltrey airborne, and may have even triggered Townshend's famous hearing troubles.

11. What's My Line?



Singers forget lyrics all the time, but preferably not in front of the President. During a Kennedy Center Honors tribute to Dolly Parton, Jessica Simpson (left) abruptly stopped in the middle of her performance of Parton's big hit '9 to 5.' "Dolly, that made me so nervous," she blurted before running offstage. But perhaps the mother of all flubs came some 45 years earlier during Ella Fitzgerald's historic concert in Berlin. The jazz legend completely blanked on the lyrics to her big number, 'Mack the Knife' -- "Oh, what's the next chorus/To this song now?/This is the one, now/I don't know," she sang. Ella laughed it off, and the performance won her a Grammy.

10. What a Dump!



Shock rocker Alice Cooper "retired" the huge snake that had been in his show for decades after an incident at the House of Blues in L.A. during which the snake pooped, and pooped some more. "I never expected there to be eight piles the size of a Doberman pinscher," Cooper later told Rolling Stone. "My whole stage costume was covered, and it smelled so bad I was gagging." Even Johnny Rotten, who was in the audience, was impressed.

9. Thin White Stick



David Bowie has dodged his share of roses and beer cans in concert, but he surely never anticipated what would force him to leave the stage 20 minutes into a 2004 show in Oslo. The Thin White Duke was hit with the thin white stick from a lollipop, hurled by a fan, which lodged inside his left eyelid. It was the same eye that he injured in a schoolboy fight with a classmate, a trauma that left the eye permanently dilated.

8. Butterflies Are Free?



The Rolling Stones' massive 1969 concert in London's Hyde Park became an impromptu tribute to their fallen mate Brian Jones, who was discovered at the bottom of his swimming pool two days before the gig. Mick Jagger, dressed in white, read from Shelley's elegiac 'Adonais' before releasing thousands of butterflies -- most of which were already dead.

7. Everybody Nose



The spread for the Band's 'Last Waltz,' their farewell concert at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom on Thanksgiving 1976, was extravagant: a Who's Who of guests (Dylan, Clapton, Neil Diamond), an endless feast for performers and audience alike, and, by all accounts, a backstage smorgasbord of illicit substances. During Neil Young's appearance, the oblivious singer had a gob of cocaine clearly lodged in a nostril. Robbie Robertson and Martin Scorsese later had to edit the offending residue out of their concert film.

6. Sorry, Wrong Genre



Some rock-rap crossovers are better left unexplored. Sean "Diddy" Combs tried to pull a page from the grunge playbook when he attempted a stage dive at a tony nightclub in Ibiza, Spain, in 2005. Instead of catching the rapper and hip-hop impresario, fans moved away, and Diddy slammed to the floor. Gamely, he hobbled back onstage.

5. Meat and Greet



Invariably identified as the nutcase who bit the head off a bat, Ozzy Osbourne was on the receiving end of a somewhat less fondly remembered stunt on his 'Diary of a Madman' tour. A giant catapult designed to look like a hand was set up to fling raw calves' livers and pig intestines into the audience in a kind of ritual baptism-by-butcher's-offal. At one gig, the slaughter fell far short of its destination, landing on... Ozzy's head.

4. A Little Birdie Told Me



Onstage in Mansfield, Massachusetts, in 2004, Cyndi Lauper threw her head back to hit a high note -- and took a direct hit from a defecating bird flying overhead. The singer wiped her mouth on her sleeve and soldiered on. Later, she denied reports that the poop had landed in her mouth: "It went on my lower lip. I could not taste it . . . I actually considered it a good-luck sign."

3. Basshead



Nirvana's Kurt Cobain may have had a self-destructive streak a mile wide, but it was bandmate Krist Novoselic who put himself in harm's way during the 1992 taping of the MTV Video Music Awards. Near the end of the song 'Lithium' (which the band agreed to play after refusing MTV's demand for 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'), Novoselic tossed his bass in the air. The guitar hit him squarely on his head, and the dazed musician stumbled offstage as his oblivious mates trashed their own instruments and taunted their nemesis Axl Rose.

2. Out of Sync



Lip-syncing poster boys Milli Vanilli were busted on a 1989 MTV tour when the tape jammed as they mouthed 'Girl You Know It's True.' The public later learned that the duo hadn't sung its own vocals in the studio, either. More recently but no less legendarily, Ashlee Simpson (left) was exposed on 'Saturday Night Live' when the wrong recording of her vocals was accidentally triggered. Milli Vanilli responded to their gaffe by running offstage. Simpson did the same, but not before trying to stomp out her embarrassment with some strange, hoedown-like dance moves.

1. Black Eyed Peeing



Maybe Depends should sponsor the next Black Eyed Peas tour. The day after a Peas concert in San Diego, the Net was packed with pictures of Fergie onstage with a huge wet spot on her crotch. After her publicist claimed the stain was just "sweat," Fergie finally broke down and confessed that she'd had a few drinks before the show and "didn't think to go to the bathroom" before they went on stage. "We were jumping around . . . it was all very rock 'n' roll. And my bladder just started . . . you know."



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