When Fans Attack
By now you've surely seen and read about what happened over the weekend at Virgin Festival Eh? Edition in Canada: some dude ran on stage during Oasis's's's set and pushed guitarist Noel Gallagher to the ground. It wasn't Jay-Z and it wasn't Damon Albarn -- it was just some random "punter." (Kudos to Post Rock contributor Kyle Gustafson for that one; he was actually in Toronto to capture it all.) And it was a pretty violent take-down. Gallagher and Oasis managed to finish the rest of the set after a 10-minute break, but he went to the hospital after the show and might have a fractured rib.
Agitating a performer on stage is not something that has ever made sense to me, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen fairly regularly. Most of the time, the fans who make their way past security and on stage just want to 1) jump off it and into the crowd; 2) hug/bow down before their hero (see: Morrissey); and/or 3) gyrate while showing off their impressive magic-marker-on-body writing skills (see: Soy Bomb). Most of the more serious incidents happen at festivals, which makes sense. You have an increased meathead factor combined with people who aren't necessarily fans of the performer. My memory might be failing me -- in fact I'm pretty sure it is -- but I can't remember witnessing any on-stage attacks in person, perhaps because I stopped going to festivals for a decade. Here are some memorable rowdy fan moments that I do remember, though. Seen any good ones yourself? Do share.
Smashing Pumpkins, Lollapalooza 1994
This was an attack of shoes. It was raining sneakers during the band's headlining set at Charlestown Race Track in West Virginia. Finally, after one too many hit his guitar, Billy Corgan had had enough. I'm paraphrasing here, but I remember his diatribe as something like: "If any of you [expletive] throw any more [expetive] shoes up here we're going to walk off the [expletive] stage and you don't want to be the little [expletive] who gets our [expletive] set cut short."
Jewel, HFStival 1995
This was an attack of the Frisbees. Remember when Jewel first emerged and she was somehow "alternative"? That was weird. Anyway, she made a cameo during the '95 HFStival, and while she was just trying to play her gentle folk tunes, the concertgoers were just trying to throw Frisbees at her. A few of them glanced off her guitar, until finally one of them hit her ... well, you've seen Jewel, you can guess where it probably hit her. She didn't pull a Corgan; she simply said, "Thanks." And then walked off stage.
Pavement, Lollapalooza 1995
This was an attack of mud, at the same Charlestown Race Track where Smashing Pumpkins were pelted with shoes. (Pavement would have been on that previous year's Lollapalooza bill, but alas, Stephen Malkmus had to get all catty on "Range Life.") It was oppressively hot that day, so why not cool down the crowd by hosing them down? Brilliant idea, except that it created a mud pit. And that mud pit quickly turned to mud globs, which were hurled at my heroes. They tried to fight through it, but eventually gave up -- though not before Spiral Stairs mooned the audience. (Video proof linked above.)
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: Hemisphire | September 9, 2008 1:37 PM
Posted by: EricS | September 9, 2008 2:18 PM
Posted by: Jumbo Slice | September 9, 2008 3:03 PM
Posted by: Steve | September 9, 2008 3:58 PM
Posted by: Stoned and Dethroned | September 10, 2008 9:31 AM
Posted by: Old Fat Bald Chick Magnet | September 10, 2008 5:09 PM
Posted by: PS | September 11, 2008 10:20 AM
Posted by: EricS | September 11, 2008 10:34 AM
Posted by: Mark | September 11, 2008 12:11 PM
Posted by: Who? | September 12, 2008 9:27 AM
The comments to this entry are closed.