5 Awful Performances by Famous Rock Bands

Shit happens.

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5 Awful Performances by Famous Rock Bands

Queens Of The Stone Age - Rock Am Ring 2001

Everything went wrong during the 2001 Rock am Ring festival which according to Josh Homme was "the worst show we've ever played and it was in front of 40,000 people." Problems with guitars, problems with mic, a random smoke machine went off, problems with tuning etc. After the disastrous gig members of band and soundman made a tattoo that says "Freitag 4:15." As Oliveri explained: "The time we had to play was 4.15 in the afternoon and it was just a terrible show. It sucked, it was horrible. That's why I tattooed it on my ribs, where it would hurt, so I'd never forget."

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Led Zeppelin playing "Whole Lotta Love" at Live Aid 1985

Led Zeppelin reunited for the first time since John Bonham's death in 1980 and performed in front of the crowd of 100,000 people and a global audience of 1.9 billion on television. There were many factors that made the gig terrible. Robert Plant's voice was sore after three solo shows in the nights before the concert, Jimmy Page was given a not properly tuned guitar, and Phil Collins was added as the last minute replacement minute and was unfamiliar with the material.

Most of the crowd probably didn't initially notice the flaws in the performance, but Jimmy Page noticed enough to exclude Led Zeppelin's performance from the Live Aid DVD set released in 2004.

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The Stone Roses - Reading Festival 1996

The Stone Roses were headliners of the festivals and started the gig with the riff of “I Wanna Be Adored” but when IanBrown opened his mouth, it was evident he couldn’t hit a note. The lead singer danced, shaking his tambourine, but remained totally off-key. The fans wept in disbelief. The band broke up soon after this terrible gig.

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Eddie Van Halen Playing Jump at 2007 Greensboro show

Many of you may be familiar with this disastrous rendition of Jump. Though the guitar was completely out of tune with the pre-recorded synth part Eddie played the whole song, making for quite a clashing microtonal meltdown. Yes, just as disturbing as the possibility that backing tracks could spontaneously introduce a new tuning system in front of thousands of fans, hundreds of thousands more may know about it within days on YouTube. Techs everywhere just felt a chill go up their spine. Erm, once they stopped crying they were laughing so hard.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers playing 'Under The Bridge' on Saturday Night Live 1992

Guitarist John Frusciante wasn't happy with the RHCP's huge success and deliberately sabotaged the band's "Under The Bridge" performance on SNL by playing slowly and erratically and then screaming at the song's end instead of singing his normal backing vocals. Anthony Kiedis stated in his Scar Tissue autobiography that "It felt like I was getting stabbed in the back and hung out to dry in front of all of America while Frusciante was off in a corner in the shadow, playing some dissonant out-of-tune experiment." While Chad Smith said that, "John was just up there like he didn't give a fuck about anything. And you can't be in a group and not care, it's gonna show, and it did. A lot of the shows were terrible." Soon after that, Frusciante quit the band for the first time.

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78 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Come here boys, I'll tell the story of the best and worst gig I've ever seen. Richie Kotzen live in Costa Rica, 2011, a very small bar in the heart of San Jose. Opening band was Gandhi, a local band, is really good; then Guthrie Govan with his Erotic Cakes project. Finally Richie would've come out to record his performance for a DVD. Into the first song his mic didn't work right, as soon as he finished the song he apologize and told the audience that the sound guys will fix a little problem. Into the second song, same problem, same apology, when he came back for the 3rd song the problem persisted but he continued. At some point he apologize and said that it was the worst gig of his life. At some point during a solo he got near the mic to do the scats technique (not sure if that is the way is said in English... when you sing the notes you play on the guitar) his mic didn't work at all, Richie, completely frustrated, picked the mic stand and threw it towards the amp and played the most furious and magnificent solo that was ever played in this country... it was brutal... then a staff guy picked the mic up and checked it really quick, it seemed to work, it didn't. Richie threw his guitar and stormed out the stage... everybody was crazy, people getting into the stage and everything. After some minutes Stevie Salas got Richie out and he was playing the songs as Richie didn't want to play... Stevie was right next to the bass player and he was asking the chords for the songs, he didn't even know them, was crazy. At the end Guthrie came out and played with Richie's band and played Easy by The Comodores, it was until this point that Richie picked the guitar from Stevie (there is a video of this song somewhere in YT). The gig ended around 3am... the most rock n' roll gig ever, the best and the worst concert I have ever gone to... There was  rumor back then that the DVD was still coming out and it was going to be called Richie Kotzen - The Worst Gig Of My Life.
    Best version of Under The Bridge*
    Regardless of how you feel, as great as Frusciante is and as much of a douche as Anthony is, it was still a dick move to pull that shit on his bandmates.
    I personally don't think it sounds bad, Especially if you aren't a musician. But if I'm sure it felt like death to Anthony
    and lets be honest this is the best SNL mess up ever.
    Every time I get down on myself as a musician I go to youtube and watch this. Suddenly my spirits get lifted back up.
    What's funny is that it doesn't ever seem to occur to her the she could overcome the error by just actually singing the song. Maybe her mic wasn't hooked up.  Doubt it, though. 
    Following this, there's a superbowl event where the entire stadium booed her, it's pretty epic.
    John Frusciante seems like a whiny bitch.
    Yeah such a shame too because his sound and style defines my favorite part of that band. Other than a couple of songs that were decent with Navarro and some of their early stuff with Hillel, I just think Frusciantes playing lifts that band up to a different level.
    Undoubtedly a great guitar player but after reading Scar Tissue and seeing some strange interviews, he seems like a childish weirdo.
    He did whatever he wanted on "Under The Bridge" because Kiedis kicked him on "Stone Cold Bush"
    I can explain the Van Halen one.  The backing track had a sample rate of 44.1kHz, but the playback device was set to 48kHz.  This is why checking your sample rate is important, people.
    Btw, Anthony Kiedis' vocals are "some dissonant out-of-tune experiment" most of the time so what is he complaining about
    This was pretty horrendous.
    Billy Gibbons playing in standard, while Gn'R played down a half step.
    it was not a major problem ... but this was badly horrible ...); ... maybe is he too old for similar jam and no one is able to suggest anything ... I know a few such cases from the film industry where I work and it's the same thing ... I worked on several films with Francis Coppola and his style went pretty down and no one was able to say it out loud ... they all appreciate them for their work and they were really geniuses ... but there was a lot of time and not all it remains the same ... but that's the life ... (; ...
    No mention of the Creed show in Chicago?
    No way...another Vertical Horizon fan?
    Imagine that, their whole fanbase in this comment section.
    No entirely inaccurate, but doesn't change the fact that they've still been putting out quality music over the years. Check out some of their more recent stuff!
    According to AKs autobiography, Frusciante didn't 'deliberately' sabotage the song, he was just under the influence of Heroin and on "another planet". And "to this day, John denies that he was playing off-key"
    froosh is a douche! said it for years.
    Completely overrated guitar player. And completely overrated band.(Sorry. i'm still angry that they won their tier in best riff competition)
    ? I really liked that RHCP performance? Am I missing something or have I been listening to too much noise rock lately?
    I like the performance too, but you can see Kiedis stare daggers at Frusciante. He's missing notes, making up melodies, and screwing with the timing of the rest of the members of the band.
    The led zeppelin one is fine too!! WTF!!! I know I'm not the problem though - the problem is that people want to hear the record itself. Forget this - if you have energy overall that is really what does it live. Yes pitch is important - and the Van Halen one is pretty rough admittedly but if the backing track was turned off we'd be lauding that performance, so it's quite different than these other ones.
    jerome snail
    This "performance" of Bobby Kimball singing Africa is pretty sad...
    When I see stuff like this I just think audiences need to grow some balls and actually "boo" a shit performance, their name isn't enough to warrant an applause.
    jerome snail
    The first time I saw him performed that bad it was a video of a show in Nice, and IIRC the audience actually booed him. Can't find the video though.
    Holy crap, on Youtube he actually commented that his monitors were bad and agrees its bad. Although he made it sound like 'only' this performance was bad
    no nirvana? Love the band but they put on some really messed up shows. 1/16/93 was a huge disaster 
    and their last show 3/1/94 was a mess by the end plagued by kurts burnt vioice.
    Keith Moon passing out during The Who show at the Cow Palace 1973. They had to pick a fan out of the audience to continue. Now that's Rock N Roll !
    Regarding Led Zeppelin at Live Aid: Not to mention that Jimmy Page seemed as drunk as a train of Russians going from Moscow to Novosibirsk.
    Maybe it's just me but I always thought that Jimmy Page looked incredibly drunk at that Live 8 gig. Terrible gig indeed
    I'm not a big fan of them but a defining Worst Show imo would probably be Dragonforce at Pinkpop 2006, people still cite that show as a "Dragonforce sucks live" argument
    I think they really sucked live but they've gotten better. Just took them about a decade
    At The Drive In on the Jools Holland show is so painful yet so awesome at the same time, but to be honest I think all of their performances are like that.
    Poison had a horrible performance at an MTV New Year's broadcast in the early '90s.  CC Deville was messed up on something or totally drunk and botched the opening riff to Talk Dirty To ME, then part way through the song stepped on his chord and pulled it out of the guitar.  Brett Michaels looked incredibly irritated the whole time.
    The worst performance I have ever seen. My band was on tour with Chevelle and Vendetta Red. I think it was 2002. We were at the House of Blues in New Orleans. We opened and the crowd was amazing then Red took the stage and only made through 3 songs before booed off stage. That was that short period of time that bad playing and bad singing in the early 2000's. Thankfully Chevelle came out and saved the gig.
    Kurt Cobain had a great deal of experience in such kind of tech. problems. He always transform these defects into great spectacle.
    I would never have guessed that the Under The Bridge performance was "sabotaged" by Frusciante if I hadn't been told. Sounds great to me.