Worst Concerts You Have Attended ??

I just left a remark about a favorite band of mine back in the day - April Wine - that I saw in concert and was disappointed. Could have been that it was an off night for them, or maybe they were never good in concert. Maybe the lead guitarist had too much to drink? April Wine was not the worst, however. I remember Neil Young in the 1990's who was on his one-man acoustic show type of tour that many artists were taking advantage of (perhaps for financial reasons) during that time. While a friend of I had near front row seats at Desert Sky Pavilion (now Ak-Chin) in Pheonix, the crowd was just roused up into a frenzy by the warm-up band (James) and here comes Neil and his guitar/harmonica. Wow, what a sonic letdown. I remember getting up and leaving and feeling Neil's glaring eyes on us as we ushered out. I think, to this day, he probably still remembers me. We all can remember the great live concerts we attended, but what were the worst and why?
Going way back, The Monkees @ Boston  Garden simply awfull. Hendrix was supposed to open ,but never showed up! Boy did I miss out!
Todd Rundgren in the 70s.  Hands down from this cat . . . . 

No fan.  Girfriend and her bud pleaded with me to get tickets so I did and we went.  45 minutes of mediocre, pompous pop.  45 minutes.  And despite shrieking and applauding of their fans, after 45 minutes and the last couple done by sequencers alone onstage, no encore for them.
And, since some have mentioned it, best - although like all of us there are many and perhaps tough to even consider listing, but a 70's gig by The Strawbs with backup the Welsh group Man.  Incredible.  If my recollection is right, Man was called back out for two encores with the second encore seeing members of the Strawbs off to the side of the stage.

The Strawb's Cousins later said that gig (Massey Hall, Toronto) was perhaps the best gig they ever played.
I saw many of the artists mentioned in this thread, and I'll bet many of the performances I saw were on the same tours where you guys saw them.  I'm in agreement with the assessments a good 80% of the time. 

Clapton, probably my favorite electric guitarist of all time, was a distinct disappointment with Blind Faith. Tasteful to the point of boredom.  James Taylor was, yes, dull. The only reason I saw JT was because the tix got me a date with a girl I was hot for. I saw Dream Syndicate at the Country Club(?) in Northridge simply because one of my punk band mates was somehow connected to them. Echhh. Hated Foghat.  Zappa and his band (not the Mothers) were tight but Frank was pompous, overbearing and one-dimensional.  I also saw Frank paired with Zubie Baby & the L.A. Phil.  Finally, I have to say that I loved the ELP concert I saw at the Santa Monica Civic.  And did I once mention that I saw the CSNY concert at the Hollywood Bowl that Joni Mitchell opened and that started Joni's and Graham's long-running romance?

In any event, this is one of my favorite internet threads...evah!  
This makes me feel much better about all the rock shows I didn't go to in the 60s!
About a year ago-Brittany Howard at the Beacon in NYC. How could you mess that up?  Well, I was in the balcony, curled in fetal position with both hands over my bleeding ears.  Soundcheck? Medic?
I saw Chick Corea (RIP) in the mid eighties when he was putting together a new band and he came to our small NorCAL  town and played at the Vets Memorial. It was like a shakedown cruise for the band.  Less than 100 people showed up. Well they were pissed at the small turnout and they proceeded to insult the people who DID show up. Kind of left a bitter taste, as he was one of my musical heroes, having seen Return to Forever several times in the 70's. I saw West, Bruce and Laing in the early 70's and they were so loud I got a nose bleed. My ears were ringing for days.
I have to give the opposite opinion on Bob Dylan. Sometime in the early 90s I think. His last show after a big world wide tour. It was awesome. First half acoustic and the second half electric. He played "All along the Watch Tower" in Hendrix's style, it was great. If I remember correctly it was a solid 2 hour show.  
2007 SXSW Music Festival. The venue was the 18th Floor at the Hilton Garden Inn (one of the 3 best SXSW venues). Andy Pratt was first, followed by Bic Runga, Jonette Napolitano and Graham Parker.

Andy Pratt was beyond awful. He was doing his best to make us leave; but, no one did because the next three acts were so good. About halfway thru his set, Andy dropped his guitar pick and he couldn't find it. All of us were thinking "thank God this trainwreck is about to be over," only to have an audience member yell out that he had a spare pick.......despite most of the audience yelling "NO!!!," that did not deter him and we had to endure another 20 minutes of Andy Pratt. Bottom line, the agony was worth it, since the remaining sets were transcendant. Jonette even explained the origin of the Concrete Blonde song "Ghost of a Texas Ladies Man" (turns out she had a ghostly encounter years earlier while staying at the Driscoll Hotel in downtown Austin).

I was also fortunate to catch Bob Dylan on his 1986 tour when Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers were his backing band.
Dave Matthews Band in San Francisco Golden Gate Park (I think?). I was dying for 2+ hours because I was with a group of females and they seemed to like the show. Only saving grace was Carlos Santana who showed up for the last 20 minutes and played some good tunes.

A show that shocked me was The Tragically Hip in San Francisco. I had seem them a few years earlier in Santa Cruz and they were great as expected. However, in that SF show Gord Downie for some reason went into a primal scream rant on every song. A shame because the American audience never heard the greatness of their music at that show.
During the early '70's saw Johnny Winter in Madison Square Garden, I can't remember how, but, I some how ended up in the front row  and the crowd which started off as surly got downright nasty. Beer bottles flying all over, hundreds of people rushing the stage, my chest got crushed against police saw horse barricades, I couldn't breathe, I really thought I might die there. Johnny stopped the show, said it wasn't cool, and that the band would leave if they didn't chill out. Then the master showman sat down and played a really beautiful solo blues guitar tune and everyone calmed down. Still, I was truly scared.

Not many years later I saw Yes in the round at Madison Square Garden (a really lousy venue for concerts), Sound system was partly on the moving circular stage and partly in the rest of the arena, really weird sound, some of the sound moved, some of it didn't, it sucked.

One of the most unusual musical events, again in the '70's  was listening to The Chicago Art Ensemble on the top floor of a broken down drafty loft in Greenwich Village. We sat on on moldy mattresses as the cold winter rain leaked in rather vigorously on our heads while they played some rather interesting free Jazz. After the performance, the small audience was invited to sit a communal picnic style dining table with the musicians where they served some kind of awful gruel, and some decent crusty bread. The musicians couldn't have been nicer, the music hypnotic, but it was not something I'd want to do again.     

I was just kidding and not "trying to be funny" as our supposedly "new" member (daponte911) implies, because IT WAS FUNNY.

@dekay  - Thanks buddy, you had me worried. With some of the crowd around here, you never can tell.....

BTW, what I said is still true. The 3LP Abby Road Half Speed Master is really good. It also covers the entire 33 song set, vs the 6 songs on the original LP. Highly recommended!
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Black Sabbath ... Halloween night, 1983 at the Nassau Coliseum. Ian Gillan (Deep Purple)was singing lead and Bev Bevan (ELO) was on drums. Just awful. Gillan’s voice seemed shot and Bevan could hardly keep a beat. Tony and Geezer appeared to be in another universe that night. As my then girlfriend and I walked to the car after the gig, we spotted a black limo with the windows open ... the band was in it drinking up a storm. Beevan stuck his head out of the window, and waved at us with a drink in his hand.

Also, Jethro Tull somewhere in VA in ’98 or ’99. Ian’s voice was gone ’cuz of medical issues at the time ... he was quite raspy and barely intelligible. The rest of the band didn’t seem to care.

Then, there was the Kinks at Roseland in 1983. Cyndi Lauper opened for them and was pretty good. The Kinks came on after, played for 20 minutes, and walked off the stage. 
This is all kinds of fun to read! My worst concert experience was Linda Ronstadt at the Erwin Center in Austin. Not because of her, she was red hot. But in those days, the sound in that place was ear-splittingly loud. It completely ruined the show. Everybody was trying to plug their ears. This was during her punk or new wave period.

My best experience was seeing the next to the last Beatles live show at Dodger Stadium in August, 1966. I got the ticket by sending an air mail letter to my sister in L.A. with 3 one-dollar bills in it. Their show lasted only 33 minutes, but I'll never forget it. The sound was crystal clear, and you could hear it over the screams.

When we got to the stadium, a girl was standing by the front gate, holding a Beatles picture and crying. No ticket, I figured. After the show, she was standing in the same spot, still holding that picture and crying. For all I know, she may still be there!
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@ rockysantoro

I saw that concert at the Jacksonville Auditorium...can't remember the year, but 1966 comes to mind.  Anyway, announcer says there is an "opening act from England" and Hendrix walks out.  Never heard of him, and the audience was parents and kids to see the Monkees, of course.  Hendrix did it all...played with his teeth, behind his head, set it on fire, the whole thing.  AMAZING!  I was blown away.  MANY parents and kids left.  Monkees came out...by the third song Mickey fell off the stage...not sure why.  Anyway, an amazing show by Hendrix...

Next saw him in Charlotte a few years later when he "introduced" a new band called Chicago Transit Authority--Chicago!  Another great concert!

Things used to be better, I think...


Okay, it was a bit funny. I meant no offense with the "trying" part.

Boston, shortly after their first album was released. I was told that it was only the second time they had played live and they were terrible. Painfully loud and distorted. Another  show that was way to loud was The Joe Perry Project. During the brief time that he left Aerosmith he decided to torture his fans by playing painfully loud. I left both of these shows early, but not early enough to avoid ringing in my ears for days. 
Bob Dylan. Again. At Coca Cola Parke in Allentown PA. Could not make out one single word. Also we sat far away and couldn't even tell if it was actually him. Even the music was incomprehensible, had no idea what songs they were supposed to be. Same concert as Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp, they sounded just fine.
Neil Diamond in the late 70's. We made a spur of the moment decision. Had Bob Uecker seats. The reverb off the wall was horrible. We left after the second song!
The Black Crows when Shake your Money Maker was out. It was hands down the worst concert, we left about a half hour in along with probably half the crowd. 
Eric Clapton's band in 1973 at JFK Stadium in Bridgeport, CT, My mom went with me - he was so drunk he could not stand up.
'72 or so, Z Z Top @ Celebrity Theater Phx AZ Front row, so loud I still have ringing in my ears, excruciating. Left after 2 numbers.
'73 or so, Clapton @ an outside venue in Phoenix, can't remember which one, smack and booze, what song is that?
11/26/99 Celebrity Theater again, it's a rotating stage that Zappa referred to as performing on a lazy Susan.  R.I.P.  B B King. Love him, worst show ever. Played most of 'The Thrill Is Gone' and then we left after about 30 minutes of 'You Are My Sunshine' renditions. Hope the family enjoyed the ticket money.
I have been lucky I guess or perhaps I haven’t been to as many concerts as you guys.
I remember in the 70’s (or late 60’s) enjoying Alice Cooper, CCR, Neil Young. Perhaps the least enjoyable was Chicago.

Worst, when my kids were young I remember taking them to a New Kids On The Block concert...uugh! Torture!
But, they enjoyed it.

For payback, in the 90’s I took my kids to see John Fogerty, Neil Young, and the Rolling Stones concert’s and they enjoyed it!

 Just a decade and a half correction, the date for B B King should have read 11/30/2013!
Living Colour in Santa Ana at the Galaxy Theatre. Wanted to see them for years, finally got t a show and all Vernon could do was turn up the volume to ear-piercing levels and look and laugh at the audience. Just downright disappointing.
Gordon Lightfoot at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia in the early 1980’s: He was stinkin’ drunk and slurring his words while  he sang. Very disappointing! 🤬
dwmaggie -- did I mention on this website that Steppenwolf played at my high school?  University High in West L.A. They were good. They didn't do The Pusher, probably at the instructions of the Principal.
"I saw the CSNY concert at the Hollywood Bowl that Joni Mitchell opened and that started Joni's and Graham's long-running romance?"

They began their relationship in 1968 and it ended in 1970 around the time Deja Vu came out so in the interest of accuracy, there was no CSNY in 1968...
 ZZ Top.  One of my favorite bands, but they need a new sound man.  I've seen them multiple times in multiple venues over 40+ years and the sound is always bad.  Too loud, can't hear the vocals.  

Best concert?  Pink Floyd at the old Cleveland Stadium.  The sound was fantastic for a huge outdoor stadium.
More than I can remember. One show was Mason Williams at the Valley Forge Music Fair. I hung out with the band after the show and shared a joint with Mason. Pretty cool. Stan Rogers at The Cherry Tree in Philadelphia. The line to get in was crazy. Stan hadn't been there for a couple of years so people were hungry to hear him. That was the single best show I've ever been to. One month later he died on a plane of smoke inhalation. It still saddens me. Joe 
Saw Lucinda Williams at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair NJ maybe 10 years ago. Before the concert she was boasting about having "Neil Young's sound guy" at the board. She started playing and the sound was terrible, slowly driving people out of the venue. I spent most of the concert at the crowded bar listening to the same complaints. At one point she ridiculed members of the audience for leaving--all of us big fans (up till then). Funny thing is one of the best concerts I ever attended was probably 10-15 years before that when she had just released "Passionate Kisses". She played at Maxwell's in Hoboken NJ. Just her and Gurf Morlix (her then producer) on guitar and about 20 people in the room. The sound was amazing and it was an incredible opportunity to see an emerging artist in such an intimate setting.
Ginger Baker , 1972 Central Park Amphitheater in NYC. Not exactly sure what you'd call the genre of music he was playing that night but it was African influenced. Remember the crowd calling for him to play Toad and his response " Toad is Dead". It was concert best forgotten, but since you asked. 
Worst was Aerosmith in 78' so wasted it was just noise, couldn't tell one song from the next.
And last year David Gray terrible mix and unintelligible gibberish like he was coked up.
Best concert, hmm, Jethro Tull Thick as a brick and in modern times U2's last tour was a stellar production of sound and light.
Oh and Bryan Ferry's reunion tour and Prince last tour
Hot Tuna at SUNY Plattsburgh in the fall of 1972. They were so LOUD that my ears started to hurt badly. I had been to loud concerts before but this was ridiculous. I needed to leave the auditorium about halfway through the set. I couldn’t hear for a week afterward and I’m sure everyone that attended the concert probably got some permanent hearing loss. 
U2 was awful, they avoided much of their material by playing cover tunes. Also saw a band member of Talk Talk fall off of huge speaker and knock himself out cold. Another band mate just walked over and unplugged his guitar that was in feedback.
As per others' posts, worst concert(s) for me were due to either a deaf/apathetic/non-existant person at the sound board or elitist bands which think they know best how the sound should be set. 
Rockadanny, Yes I agree. Some of the worst concerts I've been to were due to a bass head at the sound board which results in making vocals and the rest of the music unintelligible. 
Give you another one - Rahsann Roland Kirk, unfortunate for him to be the opening act for Santana at the Filmore East in NYC 1971. Not sure what Bill Graham was thinking, but I can definitely say that it wasn't a crowd remotely interested in jazz and he took the brunt of the displeasure.
Nancy Griffiths.  Her reedy, thin voice was weaker and more out of tune than I could stand.  The final straw was her pathetic political finger-wagging between songs.

Steve Morse gets both second and third prize.  I’m a big fan, but the Steve Morse band was so loud I moved farther and farther to the back of the room until I was out the door and just kept going.

More recently, the Dixie Dregs at the Boulder Theater.  Again, deafening, so loud I couldn’t distinguish between instruments.  We went to the bar next door, which was piping in the live concert sound for the last two thirds of the show.  Better, but still a mixing mess.

Fourth prize goes to Dan Tyminski at the Cavern, outside of Nashville.  Dan was trying out his band and they couldn’t decide what genre they were playing.  Lounge-lizard-country-pop-bluegrass?  But the real culprit, again, was gawd-awful sound.  Boomy, thumpy, distorted, aggressively unpleasant.  Complained and were told:  this is the last show Dan’s going to do with this band and is going to re-group (I.e. he was just playing out the string), and they weren’t filming this show for Bluegrass Underground so the usually great sound crew wasn’t being used (but nobody else has complained so refunds were refused).

The really disturbing thing about all these experiences was how so much of the audience loved the show.
Always an admirer of Bob Dylan, several years ago he played in Chicago and we couldn’t wait.  It was the worst performance by any musician I’ve ever seen. On top of Dylan’s mumbling, something fully expected, the music was loud, but not in a good way.  Painfully loud, high distortion loud, unintelligible loud, so loud and distorted there were no dynamics, just loud.  Dylan didn’t say a word and I honestly couldn’t say that he actually sang anything.   A puppet might have had more personality.  
I’m just now recovering from the experience.  His music won’t be denied and I began to listen several years later but man we’re we disappointed that evening.  
I wear those foam earplugs to any live show but the absolute worst was KISS on their first farewell tour. It was Albuquerque at the Tingley and was so loud and distorted even with the earplugs was unintelligible. Left midway through. The next worst was Nugent. No further comment needed on him. Made it 4 songs...  

Some of best concerts have been ZZ Top in an outdoor venue, Steely Dan at the same venue and STP. All time favorite band live is Los Lobos! These guys are tight, fun and bring the musical goods, never seen a bad show from them and their sound crew is always on point.
Best- the Levellers, numerous times throughout the 90's. Those cats could play. 

Worst- dead heat between Bob Dylan, Wembley Arena 1989, and the Rolling Stones the last time they played Glastonbury. Actually the Stones were worse, completely unwatchable,  i left after one, well i hesitate to call it a song.
World series of rock n roll Cleveland stadium 75’. The Rolling Stones with Billy Preston and still had Mick Taylor. J Giles opened, both were great. I was like 14 or 15.

Hundreds since then. 
Rush…every time they have been out west. The last show was Vegas at the MGM Grand. When they played “Headlong Flight”, everything in the arena stopped. Everyone working there gathered at each portal…there was no one manning the concessions. Even the older men and ladies working the shows gathered to watch. It was magic. 
Sly and the Family Stone, early ‘70s. The start of the show kept getting delayed. We waited probably two hours. When it did start, Sly was so blitzed he was incomprehensible. My date had to be home by 11. We pushed that a little bit, but heard about 30 minutes of music. My friends said he finally got booed off the stage after a total of about 45 minutes. It was a disaster all the way around. One great thing about concerts back then was if there was good crowd interaction, the band would keep coming back for encores. These days it’s all choreographed. An encore is just built into the show, then you’re done no matter how much the crowd cheers, generally about 11 pm. When the house lights come on, show’s over.