Rock n’ Roll Riots
Sure, most bands like to end with an encore or maybe two, get wild applause and even fling a drumstick and a few guitar picks out in to the adoring crowd. But why leave the stage in such a quiet and dignified manner when you can cause a riot and leave a trail of damage, newspaper headlines or even have a fan get murdered?
10. The Jesus & Mary Chain Not content to just leave their audiences shocked and deafened after playing sets that often went for as little as 15 minutes in their early career, on 15 March 1985 the band played to one of their largest crowds to date at North London Polytechnic. The venue had been oversold and hundreds of fans were left standing outside, so drummer Bobby Gillespie (now in Primal Scream) and front man Jim Reid broke the locks on the building to allow fans in. The band then kept the audience waiting an hour after the previous support act, before playing for only about 15 minutes. Fans rioted, police were called and the press had a field day.
9. Guns n’ Roses No stranger to riots, Guns n’ Roses ended up in serious trouble after an incident in St. Louis Missouri in 1991 when front man Axl Rose noticed a fan filming the gig down the front. After having no luck with security, Rose decided to address the situation himself and jumped in to the audience to tackle the offender. After being pulled out of the crowd by the band’s crew, Rose stormed off stage and refused to come back on, so the audience rioted and ripped up seats in the venue. Rose ended up in court the following year on charges related to ‘inciting a riot’.
8. Deftones Playing a gig in Bangkok earlier this year, the band decided that ‘the stage was unsafe and that the local power supply wasn’t compatible with their gear’ and cancelled at the last minute. Fans duly rioted and tore up the venue.
7. Bill Haley & The Comets When arguably the first big rock n’ roll single – ‘Rock Around The Clock’ came out in 1954 and was featured in the film Blackboard Jungle in 1955, Billy Haley and The Comets were not only accused of corrupting the morals of youth, they were accused of inciting teenagers to rip up the furnishings in cinemas where the film was played. Who knew that grandpa and grandma were such rebels back in the day?
6. Pearl Jam In 2000, nine people died in a crowd crush at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark while Pearl Jam were playing the orange Stage.
5. Limp Bizkit 16 year old Jessica Michalik was tragically killed during a crowd crush at the 2001 Sydney Big Day Out during Limp Bizkit’s set. The band left or got kicked off the tour (depending who you ask) as a result and the terrible event led to increased safety measures at the festival.
4. Justin Bieber The teenage girl’s wet dream caused a riot on Boxing Day last year when he made a personal appearance at a Canadian shopping mall, with formerly sweet teenage girls turning in to evil murderous psychopaths intent on killing anyone who stood between them and their husband to be.
3. The Who In December 1979, the Who played a gig at the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinatti. Ill considered planning by organisers, too few entry doors and a first come, first seated policy led to 18,000 fans rioting and nine of them tragically being crushed to death.
2. Metallica Playing a double headline show in Montreal, Canada, back in 1992 with fellow riot starters Guns n’ Roses, Metallica cut short their set after singer James Hetfield was burned during a pyrotechnic display. The band’s fans were displeased and duly went about trashing the venue.
1. The Rolling Stones In December 1969 The Rolling Stones performed a free concert at the Altamont Speedway in Northern California, which drew around 300,000 fans. Perhaps to cut down on costs, the Stones got local Hell’s Angels to conduct security at the event. By the time the Stones took to the stage for their headline slot the crowd was already unruly, and when 18 year old fan Meredith Hunter tried to jump on stage, the bikie security grabbed him and stabbed him to death, right in front of cameras filming what would go on to be the film Gimme Shelter.
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