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?
Some Russian bear of a violinist (can't remember who), who gave as the most painful encore I have ever witnessed, the entire text (in broken English) and music of Ferdinand the Bull.
Journey and Deep Purple was a close second.. They thought they could come out drunk, play as loud as they want and me not ask for my money back. 1/2 the place RAN out on the Journey concert.

Deep Purple, I came prepared.
They SUCKED, Fallin' down drunk too... 20 minutes with ear plugs, I left...

I'll never forget that there was a traffic jam because the police weren't ready for the premature, "Running of the BULLS" to get out of that place..

Winterland if I remember..

Both the best AND the WORST concert ever: Springsteen. 

Born in the USA, Bruce was in such top form it was like he was radiating this force field of intense energy and at 20 minutes I turned to my fiancee and said, "He can't keep going like this." But he did. For like FOUR HOURS!! The Boss did something I have never seen before, had the lights turned up and not for us to leave he kept playing for another hour! 

Years later he comes back and this time with Tina Turner and without the E-Street Band. Right away I wondered, "What do we need with Tina Turner?" I mean sure she was hot just then, but come on, this is Bruce. 

When the show began I found out. Bruce was there for the money. Walked through all his songs, well a few of them he only played for maybe 90 minutes- MAYBE! if that. A good 5 minutes of which was him just standing there on stage all by himself big smug look on his face while we all cheered and applauded. Why? Who knows. Because at that point he hadn't quite exhausted all his many years of built-up audience capital, I guess. 

Thought it was an awful thing to do then, still do to this day. Easily the worst of them all.
Hall and Oates a couple of years ago.  Totally mailed it in.  One of my friends was there and she left in the middle of the concert. 

A free concert by one hit wonder Aldo Nova was a close second.  Mudhoney (what a weird pairing!) opened the show and most of the audience left when they finished.
The worst were always Ted Nugent and The Amboy Dukes opening up for other artists.

The best was The Beatles Reunion concert performed in Iowa City, Iowa on Sunday (March 31, 1975).

The following link to The Daily Iowan newspaper has a review/writeup of the concert (half way down on page 7).


Never liked Brucey. I do like the Moody Blues but sitting behind them at the Stadium they sounded out of sync, time and tune.  Seen 'em since they were fine.  
Pink Floyd at the Amphitheater a close second.  They suckrd pickled eggs. Too bad.
The best show was them two years earlier.
Oh crap! Sorry! Almost forgot- Neil Diamond!

One of the hottest performers in his prime, he had unbeknownst to me degenerated by 1990 into some sort of Christian version of Bill Murray’s Nightclub singer. Walking into the concert we were beginning to wonder. Imagine 30k people all dressed in church attire.

Slow to pick up on what was going on, the degree to which he had sold out, song after song we kept getting excited at the intro only to be let down big time the minute he started singing. The fire was gone. Not a spark. Not even an ember. You know how you’re supposed to water your campfire, shovel the dirt over, water some more until the whole thing turns to mud? Like that.

We walked out. Now more than 30 years later I am able to enjoy his music again. But not for a good 5 years after that show. A show so bad even the memory was repressed. Until now. Worst show ever.
"The crowd requested such Beatles hits as Street Fighting Man, Don’t Mess With Jim, Hand Jive, and Kung Fu Fighting."

"Our listeners have begun collecting signatures to reunite the Rolling Stones, and if that goes over I see no reason why we can't reunite Jim Croce!"

April Fool’s, indeed.
Aerosmith in Orlando about 1983. They were so wasted, they could barely stand, let alone play. You couldn't even tell what song they were playing. Awful.
Patti Smith.  She laid on the stage with a bottle of booze and slurred out what words she could remember.  Second place Focus.  One hit wonder - they opened and closed with Hocus Pocus - yay!  Sleepy ballads in between.
I still turn off Journey, maybe one song from the studio version.. Unless it is a GREAT, I mean super duper, I paid attention to the sound guy, I prefer studio recordings. 

I loved coral music back then to (still do), pans, xylophones, congas, keyboards.The song "Ice cream" Big smile on my face :-)

The greats give a good show NO MATER.. Carlos Santana, in 35 year of his concerts, never heard a bad one.. Prince the same way (RIP).
I loved James Brown, talk about TIGHT... The original James Brown..

The rockers of the 6-80s, ya never new.. Country Western, Same way..
crazy bunch.. Strange on the "Tugent" comment too. He use to keep it pretty much together too. 3 or 4 times I saw him. For a Rocker for sure..
U2 did too..

LOL "The Tubes"

Leon russell - just horrible, sound, songs, 

met allica - as always, out of sync, poor sound, many live shows since 1985, all have been pretty bad.
on. Good note, the opening bands were better!

Three tn come to mind. Jerry Jeff Walker and Joe Cocker both too drunk to perform. George Jones too sick to perform. Left the stage to go to the  bathroom sinus issues. Left couple of more times.didnt even try. I forgave him for being Ill but not for even trying. Had a clock offstage second it hit nine thirty he was gone.
The worst act was 38 Special at the Super Bowl of Rock 3 July 1977. Journey was weak also.

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Elvis Costello, early 80's.
Such a talented songwriter, but boring uninspired stage performance  with horrible acoustics. 
A Dave Matthews gig in a Raleigh basketball arena a few years back.  The acoustics were so hideous you could barely understand the vocals.
Granted we didn't have Sect A Row 1 seats, but it was like being in a sewer pipe.  Spouse a big fan, halfway through said 'F this', and we went away.....
Best heard at open venues.....like most live acts imho, unless the place is small.  Heard some great acts in the local indoor spaces...better control of the audio at the boards..
Bob Dylan - 25 years ago (Denver Coliseum). The arena's acoustics were horrendous, but worse he seemed bored and uninspired.  

I've really wanted to like Phish, but their extended jams were just self masturbation and I walked out midway through the 2 shows I went to (both Red Rocks). 
Modest Mouse. They showed up drunk or high (or both?), sound sucked, and they didn't even play the one song everyone was there to hear. At the end they just left the stage. No words, no encore. Only stayed because the beer was good.
Warren Zevon. Introverts and hit records don't work well together.
Joe Cocker. Alcoholism and singing don't work well together.
JJ Cale. Music was okay, but he sat on a chair with a wide brimmed hat pulled down over his face the whole night. Maybe it wasn't him?

Bob Dylan. Could not even decipher what song he was singing. I don't think he understood that people go to his concerts to hear his songs, not some "muttered interpretation".
I wonder how many classically trained musicians come on stage ripped?  
Not many.

Dianna Krall, several years back, was a let down.  Seemed under the influence.
George Harrison - Dark Horse tour. Last show of the tour, George's voice was shot and Ravi Shankar filled in between almost after every song. Between George's voice, or lack there of, and Ravi droning, it was excruciating. 
The worst shows that I have ever been at always involved bad sounding pa mixes that you just could not listen past like pretty much all of the shows I went to at the mark of the quad cities.
Worst performance I remember was Sonic Youth opening for Neil Young on the Ragged Glory tour. Just total noise. Worst sounding concert was Black Keys (Brothers tour) at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. The soundboard operator turned the bass up to 11 - it was basically unlistenable. I stuck it out, but was so disappointed.
Elton John...Atlanta....mid or late 70's. He was established as a main music star by then. Venue was a large auditorium with thousands present. He played and sang like he wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. His band played like they were just showing up for a paycheck. I thought he owed more to the audience since the tickets weren't cheap.

Lou Reed.

It was probably my fault to some extent. It was not reasonable to expect Rock'n'Roll Animal and he did not deliver it. Even the beginning was to be the same songs, but Rock'n'Roll Animal it was not.

Although it was decades later, I think I got a zombie from this article...

Rolling Stones at soldier field 98’. 
Got stuck working for them for 5 days setting up the show, we all got free tix, then when the show started, it was so bad we all left. 
BB King a few years back at Wolf Trap in VA. He just sat in a chair in a diabetic coma and complained about the band. Oh and he played guitar a sum total of 30 secs. Same lick twice just 30 mins apart. 
Greatful Dead...most overrated band ever. Walked out on them at the Boston Tea Party club and at Woodstock. Boring....

Another stink fest was Carly Simon about 4 years ago in Boston. She couldn't carry a tune.
Absolute worst performance was The Doors, having Jim nearly throwing up on me off stage, and spending most of the show curled up in a fetal position. And at this late point in the bands career Robby, John and Ray were probably fed up and just didn't put their hearts into it. I've had worse experience at concerts, but that's another story.
1972 or 73? Cobo Hall Detroit, The Ohio Players...The band was fine it's just that the late cheapo seats we got where the moveable retractable kind and they were placed in and area where the night before was a circus and for the entire show everything smelled like animal s**t. No amount of libation could overcome that smell...And since we were from out of town and unfamiliar with the place, we were to young and dumb to move.
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Allman Brothers -- Yeah, it was during the classic period when Duane Allman and Dickie Betts (was that his name?) were trading licks all night, but Duane only seemed to play one lick -- the whoop-de-doodle-do one. After about three hours of it I decided that if I heard one more whoop-de-doodle-do, I'm leaving.  About fifteen seconds later, presto. I left. It didn't help that the band's attitude never strayed from an "I'm cool and you're not" sneer.  The next morning I heard from my Allman Bros. acolyte/fellow concertgoer/college roomie that they continued boogying for another hour. And, hey man, did I miss something special!

New York Dolls -- loved the record but the performance was all about posing. No trace of conviction or chops. I have to say, though, that I love David Johansen's LP, the one where he does the demented lounge singer.

Vladimir Horowitz at the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, maybe thirty years ago. My buddy's parents had an extra ticket. Was it front row center.? Anyway something to that effect.  It was long past Vlad's prime.  He couldn't get his fingers to work. He couldn't remember the scores.  Of course, this never mattered in his prime because he was famous for taking audacious liberties with the music.  But even Vlad was embarrassed by his performance. The audience, though, was too much in love to give him guff.

And then there was Steve & Edie Gorme with my parents in Vegas.  At one point, Edie jokingly said, "Who needs the Doors?"  It was maybe 1968. Being a Doors fan at the time, I took personal offence...
Macy Gray, about 10 years. Sadly stumbling around the stage. Songs a jumbled mess. We left after 5 songs.
And I also attended a Dylan concert where most songs were unrecognizable.

Best...Rolling Stones with Stevie Wonder opening, Hollywood Palladium.
Grand Funk Railroad in Philly 1968,69? small venue by the river. The speakers I do remember they were so big and LOUD and some guy, he had to be tripping, was on the edge of one shaking all over woo. He had to go deaf. They were so freakin deafening we left.
Kid Rock was the worst!! I remember watching and it was horrible, then the drummer got up and the drums kept going lol!!
Best was Rush on moving Pictures and Steven Wilson a few years ago!
Mostly the worst concert, and momentarily the best ever, was Frank Zappa playing SUNY at New Paltz in the early ’70’s. He had a really great band at the time. I think I recall George Duke, Flo and Eddie from the Turtles, Jean Luc Ponty maybe, and some others who were excellent musicians. Being an a__, he spent most of the concert diddling around with his comedic crap, patronizing the audience I guess he felt wasn’t up to appreciating his music. I was really pissed and felt ripped off.

Then he broke into a scintillating, unforgettable guitar solo on Montana that was simply stunning. It’s a shame he was on that lame trip of his.



+1 coldplay at 2016 super bowl. I wasn't there but it was the first halftime show that made me and a lot of watchers all over the country sober up.
@tony1954 - Let me guess - when you saw Zevon everyone was sitting in there seat passively watching?  I saw him many many times - he got into it like crazy when folks were up on their feet dancing and just jamming out (later in his career he only played places with a dance floor right in front of him). I learned that early and always arrived early and sat on the floor right in front of him. As soon as I’d start jamming on his playing he’d just light up. There were a couple nights when it felt like he was playing just for me. I’m sorry you had the experience you did. I loved Warren every time I saw him and I’ll miss him until the day I die. 
Not that it was the worst, but I've just remembered a Byrds Concert.  At the Aquarius Theater in Hollywood (where, at the site's previous incarnation, my older sister actually had her sweet sixteen party). Crosby, of course, was long gone but Gene Clark, once more with the band, had just quit that very night. Or was it Crosby who just quit?  In any case, McGuinn, Hillman and drummer Mike Clark bravely soldiered on as a trio. McGuinn sang both lead and back-up vocals and played all the guitar parts.
Black Sabbath @ Memorial Coliseum in 1971 or 1972.  They quit after maybe 2 songs and announced they had to do so to make it to another gig on time.
Bob Dylan. Hands down. He didn't even play Like a rolling Stone. Walked on staged played for about an hour then walked off. 

Pathetic. I did leave at the end but immediately after called the radio station with my review. I wasn't the only caller. 
Another vote for Dylan. Probably 40 years ago, when he did his Christian revival thing. The audience was not amused.
I saw Pink Floyd do their kick off tour of Dark side of the Moon back in 1972.....amazing!! Jethro Tull Thick as a Brick, David Bowie when is was doing China girl, Mody Blues, Justin Haywood voice is amazing  also Andrea Bocelli in Central Park  Saw Rush in 71 at a bar where l was a bouncer and at the time, and l had no idea who they were
Sunset strip, converted movie theatre 1968.  Janis Joplin came on stage with Big Brother.  She sang two songs, puked and left.  Big Brother said go home shows over.   Same year Steppenwolf, I swear they forget how to play.  Everything they attempted to play sounded like crap.
That’s easy, Gun’s n Rose’s toward the end of their reign. Axel couldn’t even finish a song. Pathetic, we left.