Worst Concert You Ever Saw?

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by drmilktruck, Jan 7, 2021.


    THE BALD REVEREND Electromatic

    Jul 14, 2020
    For sure Ramones in Milan ( Italy ) in mid eighties . I was some twenty and looked at them with the respect you must pay to a legend , but the show has been a total disappointment : too loud , too short , with the guys thinking only how to pay the rent and Joey only screamin' 1 2 3 4 before the wall of noise started ..... **** happens , but Ramones remain a seminal , necessary band . Let's Gretsch , Gretschers !
    Viking Power and drmilktruck like this.
  2. swatt17

    swatt17 Newbie

    Oct 20, 2012
    Hamilton Ontario
    The new Yes band... Hamilton Ontario...2008 maybe...gawd awful...
  3. GHook

    GHook Gretschie

    Sep 3, 2010
    3 shows come to mind:

    I took my daughter to her first concert. GnR/ Metallica/ Motorhead
    Slash saved GnR and that's not saying much, Axel was atrocious. Metallica was so/so. Hetfield had burned his hand and they were simply off, big time. I almost left after that, but my kid would have been really upset, so we stayed, thank God. Motorhead was amazing and I don't like metal. New respect for those guys.

    Derek Trucks... Absolutely uninvolved with his audience, bored and indifferent. Same slide lickes he's been playing since he was 10.

    The worse has been reserved for last.

    Bob Dylan, Asheville, Civic Center. What an arrogant human being. He stayed in the shadows all night, had anti photo mirrors all over the stage and honestly, I could not recognize any songs. Apparently he likes to rearrange on the spot. Adding to this was the place was maybe 25% full. I guess I should have read concert reviews first because apparently I'm on some "last to know" list. Now I don't want to hear that I just don't "understand" Dylan crap. He, like many, needs to stay indoors. :)
    new6659 and Lefty Adams like this.
  4. delong1974

    delong1974 Electromatic

    Sep 17, 2019
    Denver, Colo.
    Crosby Stills & Nash in Houston in the early 2000's, at the Woodlands. I had been to their shows before, so it isn't like they just suck live. When people are leaving early and the general admission in the back lawn are literally asleep on the grass, you know something is going wrong. Stills left the show halfway through. Disaster.
    speedicut likes this.
  5. rocko

    rocko Electromatic

    It had to be Jethro Tull. The venue was good and the music was great as always but Ian was in a more foul mood than usual mood and he made no attempt to hide it. It did make the atmosphere rather confrontational but, mercifully, the music easily saved the show. As you will notice, if this is the worst concert I was ever at, I've never really been to a bad concert. The music, the personalities, or both carried the shows.
  6. gretsch-to-go

    gretsch-to-go Electromatic

    Oct 2, 2019
    Palm Coast, FL
    Rush back in the early 1980's and this was after they had enough material & after Moving Pictures. Low energy civic center. I realized shortly after they took to the stage that listening to vinyl or a cassette tape at a keg party would've been money better spent. One of the better concerts was any Jimmy Buffet concert. In that regard it's interesting that is the only artist that I've seen multiple shows and really never disappointed. One of the better ones was Jefferson Starship and that was an outdoor Miami-Dade park (Greynolds Park Love In event). That was actually my favorite concert ever, it was like attending a modern day Woodstock with a more manageable crowd.

  7. hippdog

    hippdog Electromatic

    Jul 23, 2013
    NW Arkansas
    I have 3 that stand out.

    1. Saw T-Rex in '73 in Memphis. So freakin' loud I had to go out into the hallway of the auditorium. Plus it was just bad. He was opening for Humble Pie, which was good. Mariott rocked.

    2. Little Feat played Eureka Springs AR. (Fred Tackett's home) in 2012. Ear-bleedingly loud. A small 900 seat auditorium, sound guy no more than 75 feet from the stage, blew up our ears. I don't get it. If your sound guy is deaf, get an assistant that can hear. wow!

    3. Most Iconic: Jimi Hendrix, 1968, St. Louis. I will admit, as cool as the St. Louis music scene was, we were not ready for Jimi. (really, who was). So he comes out, and they played some totally amazing music, but the crowd didn't go crazy, and Jimi got pissed that we weren't cheering, and after 45 minutes told us to go fu*k ourselves and walked off stage. that was it. So in some ways it was totally awesome (jimi told us to go fu*k ourselves) and in some ways it was bad (45 min concert....really?....be a pro at least).
    Duo Slinger likes this.
  8. leeroy

    leeroy Newbie

    Apr 8, 2014
    Garden of England UK
    The worst concert by far was Stevie Wonder at Empire Pool Wembley London UK, back in the 80's, the sound was awful, we were sat dead centre stage but in the back mid tier, a few feet above the sound engineers desk, I thought the sound should have been good in that area, the bass was inaudible & the rest just a noise. We were very disappointed, one of my all time heroes musically, I vowed from that point to avoid large venues if possible.
    new6659 likes this.
  9. nedray

    nedray Electromatic

    May 2, 2009
    I had the same experience at around the same time or shortly after. BB came to San Antonio near the end of his life, and he either couldn't or wouldn't cut it any more. He sat in his chair at the front of the stage and hammed it up with the audience in the first rows as they flattered and cajoled him. Played a few notes at a time, but never anything approaching a full song. He had a great band, as usual, and they were fun, but he tended to shut them down when they were just hitting stride. Guess it interfered with his bull session with the audience. Very frustrating and sad to see a worn out old man who apparently just couldn't quit.
  10. Mark W

    Mark W Country Gent

    Jun 6, 2008
    Central Florida
    I liked (Liked not anymore) John Mayer's stuff and thought he was a talented guitar player and songwriter. Went to a concert here in OTown and he proclaimed he was tired of playing the same stuff so he was going to change everything up. Well he did. It was horrendous. We walked out 1/2 way through an "expensive" concert. We had pretty decent seats. A total waste of money. Artists need to play and reproduce the music that their fans love. Not treat it and them with total disdain because they are bored. If they are bored stay home and run through your money, go broke and leave your fans out of your personal angst.
    MotorCentaur and new6659 like this.
  11. Winkels

    Winkels Electromatic

    Jun 23, 2018
    James Blunt.

    My wife wanted to go. His set was a machine-tooled note-perfect recreation of the twee, bloodless albums he makes. At no point did it sound like his band would or could play one extra note over and above their strict allotment. And to top it off he had to tell us how heterosexual all the men in the audience were for coming to his show. Pure cringe.
  12. Chet Harrison

    Chet Harrison Electromatic

    Apr 27, 2020
    Brooklyn NY
    The worst that comes to mind was also my first. Oasis at the Rosemont Horizon '96 I think. One of the brothers didn't show up. Lifeless performance. Arena shows pretty much suck and I stopped going to them about 20 years ago.

    And yes, I've seen at least one absolutely terrible Dylan show. The worst I think was the Auditorium Theater in Chicago (early 2000s). The best was Jazz Fest in New Orleans (mid 2000s).
    new6659 likes this.
  13. Chet Harrison

    Chet Harrison Electromatic

    Apr 27, 2020
    Brooklyn NY
    I get where you're coming from, but c'mon man, you can't honestly start a sentence with the words "Artists need to" -- just think about that for a sec.
  14. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Country Gent

    May 14, 2013
    Initech, Inc.
    I did catch him again in October 2014 and it was a much better show. He played and kept going for about an hour and a half, but that was less than month before he had what would turn out to be his last show.
  15. hollowbody_gus

    hollowbody_gus Electromatic

    Aug 30, 2016
    San Antonio, TX
    Hmn... I'd say Van Halen on the Balance tour.
    It was partly due to "the legend" outshining a band that was on its last legs (i.e Hagar left after that tour). They played ok but the songs were mostly midtempo, mid-Van Hagar stuff that I wasn't that keen on. Like a lot of "Finish What Ya Started" when I wanted to hear "Light Up the Sky".
    Worst part, though: Hagar had strep.
    Mind you as a gigging musician I've had to occasionally play ill. So props to Sam getting up there regardless. However, he, at one point, told the crowd he had strep & couldn't sing. So cut him so slack, ok?
    And then they proceeded to go into a block of songs like "Dreams" where the vocals had to to SOAR! Guess who couldn't, so he spent that time during the songs just walking around on stage instead of nailing "And get higher and higher / Straight up we'll climb"?
    So between the band going instrumental for a good part of the show, and the songs chosen largely being 'eh', I ended up (for the only time in my concert going experience) walking out of the show!

    Second & third place for the "honors" was Poison, in '89?, opening for David Lee Roth's Skyscraper (again, another band on its last legs that was nowhere as animated as the videos; they were phoning it in); and guitar whiz Eric Johnson in '90 (stellar playing, sure, but absolutely ZIP talent for interacting with the crowd. It was like standing at a Sam Ash, watching someone show off as they noodled on the guitar, but who didn't look up or otherwise acknowledge you. After a while you just walk off. I stayed in Johnson's case, but bored once the wow factor wore off)
    new6659 likes this.
  16. bigjohnbates

    bigjohnbates Gretschie

    Jun 15, 2011
    Interesting choices .... I've played thousands of shows in a few dozen countries and I know what happens on some nights. More interesting to me is consistent reasons these shows had poor value for people, as one who has experienced what touring artists can be going through - onstage or on the nightliner. Often something the audience is not privy to but that changes the whole day/evening. I'm reading many altered perceptions of artists even though we have only shared a few hours of their time. Professional behavior can also be the artist deciding to play their instruments instead of being big personalities. The joy of it all is that every night is different and is left behind at the next soundcheck.
  17. mschafft

    mschafft Synchromatic

    Jan 19, 2017
    +1 for Bob Dylan, around 2010, vocal cords ruined etc.
    But I guess I healthily forgot most of the bad gigs I saw...
    new6659 likes this.
  18. Duo Slinger

    Duo Slinger Gretschie

    Sep 11, 2020
    California, USA
    Worst "concert" I ever saw was when I was in middle school... It's an interesting story. It took place at the San Jose Center for Performing Arts, which as the name suggest, is located in San Jose. San Jose has a crap-ton of Mainland Chinese (I'm second gen Taiwanese, so there's a lot of animosity there) and they like to see some of the acts from back home. This means that around Chinese New Year (late January to mid February) there are these weird variety shows around the Bay Area, and one of them was at the SJCPA. I, in middle school, did martial arts and we would have to perform at many of these. Once our bit was finished, we walked off, and then... this sound. This terrible sound. Some Mainland popstar went on, and could not hold a tune. His voice would crack, he was out of tune, the lights were pointed into the audience... and he wouldn't get off the stage! He played for 45 minutes instead of his allotted 15! There are no words to describe his terrible wailing... and if you thought American pop was bad, Kpop was bad, you haven't seen commie pop. My ears still cringe at the thought...
  19. Bob4FrenchFries

    Bob4FrenchFries Electromatic

    Feb 3, 2009
    Macedonia, OH USA
    I'll second that. In the late '70s around the time Draw the Line or the Live! Bootleg albums were released, I saw Aerosmith at the former Richfield Coliseum between Cleveland and Akron. Golden Earring opened. I had waited in line overnight for tickets and got second row seating on the floor, but it was off to the side and a ginormous column of speakers was right in front of us. You said it - unbelievably deafeningly loud and yeah, looser than a colonoscopy prep. I had the sense that the members couldn't hear each other playing, or were too stoned or they just didn't give a shi+. In front of those speakers, I must have looked like the guy from the old Maxell - Blown Away ad:


    Being 16 or 17 at the time, I did
    not have the sense to cut my losses and leave, not after investing a lost night's sleep in that ticket line and schlepping all the out to the venue. It would have been far more entertaining to stand under a Saturn V during its ignition sequence, and it would have sounded about the same. Mercifully shorter, too.

    Good sound is so important. Dishonorable mention goes to Lyle Lovett's appearance some years back at the former Hard Rock Racino in Northfield, OH. We love us some Lovett and my wife and I have seen him just about every time he performs nearby, but this Racino show was marred by horrible sound. Usually Lyle's shows have the most excellent sound I'd ever heard in any concert outside of an orchestra hall, so he had set the bar pretty high. I walked back to the sound guys on a couple of occasions trying to get them to reduce the gain on the mics and tighten up the muddy lows. I learned that Lyle had arrived late to the venue and they never did a proper sound check. Such a shame. Maybe it was the venue. If you can see him in a theater or similar venue, I strongly recommend it. His smaller "acoustic band" show in a smaller venue in New Albany, OH sounded amazing, and we drove hours and stayed overnight for that one. Totally worth it. The Racino is only 3 miles from my house but I haven't been back.
    new6659 and Tony65x55 like this.
  20. Bob4FrenchFries

    Bob4FrenchFries Electromatic

    Feb 3, 2009
    Macedonia, OH USA
    Scratch the Maxell guy - it was probably more like this:

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