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Worst Concert Experiences


Last week I listed my most memorable concert experiences. I hope to hear more of your favorite experiences in the comments. In light of fair conversation, below are some of my least favorite concert experiences. This may not be a complete list as I probably forgotten some of the worst experiences.

Styx – Met Sports Center (Summer 1981). This has to be the worst concert I ever went to. It was the Paradise Theater tour and was some sort of concept show. I sat on my seat the whole time with my arms crossed just hating it. I went with a girlfriend (who loved the show) and our relationship was never the same after that, even though she had two very good reasons for us to stay together.

Romeo Void – First Avenue (Fall 1982)
. This was before MTV really took off so I didn’t know that the lead singer of Romeo Void was like 300 pounds. I missed my bus back to the U and got a ride with this girl I was dancing with and her two male companions. The two guys asked if we wanted to have an orgy and, not liking the 3-1 male-to-female ratio, I politely declined and purposely gave the girl a wrong phone number.

Slickee Boys – 7th Street Entry (Summer 1984?)
. Ramped up beach music by a band dressed in outrageously garish clothes (look em up on youtube, it’s positively cringe-worth). I got clubbed in the head by a guy with a cast and needed 5 stitches to close my opened-up eyebrow.

R.E.M. – George Washington University (Summer 1987). The show was decent actually but I went with a girl who I thought I was going to hook up with. She got sick about 3/4 of the way through the show and we had to leave. Never did hook up with her.

Bob Dylan – Harriet Island (Summer 1990?). This was when Dylan was not really putting in effort into his shows and was changing up his songs, etc. You literally couldn’t tell what song he was singing until about midway through when you would pick up a lyric or two. We stood on our folding chairs the whole time feeling underwhelmed.

Throwing Muses – The Cubby Bear (Fall 1992?)
. Me and my friend Timmy B. got tickets to this show in Wrigleyville. We didn’t know it was an early show so as we head to the bar to get inside, everyone was shuffling out, having already experienced the show. Later, in the basement bar, after a lot of alcohol, I was trying to set on fire the sawdust that was spread all over the floor and a waitress ripped us off.

Rifle Sport – 7th Street Entry (February 2005). I was really excited about seeing Rifle Sport back together after many years. Unfortunately I went to a school party beforehand and had a bunch of wine, then went to First Avenue and had a bunch of cheap beer. Wine and beer is not a good mixture for me and the band was ear-bleedingly loud. Being over 40 at the time, this was too much and I had to sit outside and wait for my friend Pete until the show was over. I swear this experience took 3 years off my life.

What are some of your worst concert experiences?


Free - good post. That Romeo Void night sounds especially creepy.

The only three shows that I remember being pissed off after are:

The Cure - Northrop in 1986. They couldn't have told you if they were in Minneapolis, Cleveland or Buffalo. Basically a light show with lots of black lipstick (not me though).

Sugar - Somewhere in Chicago in 1992. I like Sugar, but this was after Beaster. Way too loud and almost "metal." It. Sucked.

Ryan Adams - State Theatre in 2008. An ass-hole being a prima donna. But I still like his music.

Jeff T.

Can't really remember any bad concert experiences, though there are some I'm ashamed to admit now that I went to.

Did you repent yet? :-)

LCD Soundsystem was the absolute worst fit with the Roy Wilkins acoustics last year, but Arcade Fire more than made up for it.

I saw Wilco/Blues Traveler on the streets of DC back in the summer of 2002 or 2003 and it was 105 degrees, humid, on black pavement and with 20,000 people pressed into a city block or two. Pretty much horribly uncomfortable.

Thanks Will, I heard other bad things about that LCD Soundsystem concert.

I saw Smashing Pumpkins at the Hennepin Avenue Block Party a few years back. This was when they were super popular and reportedly 100,000 people showed up. It was one of those super sticky July days. I thought the band kinda sucked and pretty much came to the conclusion that most of their sound came from the studio (not to say Gish and Siamese Dreams aren't awesome, they are).

Oh and my bike got stolen. I should have added that story to the list above.

Free - good topic. I haven't had too many horrible concert experiences, but here are three not so good:

1. The Cure at Northrop in 1986. They couldn't have told you if they were in Minneapolis, Cleveland or Buffalo. A light show, nothing else.

2. Sugar - someplace in Chicago in 1992, I always liked Sugar, but this was after Beaster, which I hated. This show was super loud and bordered on Metal. It sucked.

3. Ryan Adams - State Theatre in 2008. An ass-hole acting like a Primma Donna. Or maybe a Primma Donna acting like an ass-hole. I booed him after the 50-minute show. But I still love his music.

Jeff T.

ALABAMA, MN State Fair, maybe 1985? I was a newly wed, and my wife thought it would be fun to attend this show with a large group of other young couples. Little did my new bride know that combining the super-slick kings of country pop and the super-cynical, hipper-than-thou college radio kid would make for a very volatile mix. After way too many State Fair beers (three were too many, but 12 were not enough, as I recall), the hipster kid pissed off the entire group of friends (and most of the crowd of 20,000), narrowly avoided a premature divorce, and was never invited to another Alabama show (always a silver lining, right?).

ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND, Met Center, Bloomington, some time around 1979. Even as a naive HS kid who didn't smoke the stuff, I expected these guys to be stoned, but this was ridiculous. I actually fell asleep. At a rock concert. Dickey Betts was also asleep. On stage.

TED NUGENT, St. Paul Civic Center, 1979-ish. When Westerberg wrote about buying an $8.50 headache at the St. Paul Civic Center, he had to be talking about this show. At least The Nuge has aged gracefully.

TIM MAHONEY, various times, various venues. Somebody needs to kick this guys precious little ass.

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