What are the funniest things you've seen at a live show? Mine would have to be last December at the Double Door in Chicago. Me and a couple friends were front row standing at the stage for the James McMurtry show. He rocked out, then sent the band offstage for a couple solo acoustic songs. It's real intimate, and everyone's quiet except for my buddy who had his back to the stage 'cause he was talking to a girl. I see McMurtry keep glancing at him, and I kicked the back of his leg to get his attention. Finally McMurtry stops playing, looks directly at him, and says "Hey, turn around, pay attention, and shut up." The crowd cheered and he resumed playing without missing a chord. I still give him grief about that.

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I saw Mazzy Star at the Trees club in Dallas in the mid-90s and four songs into the set a guy jumps onstage and yells "Hell yeah!" Well, if you know Mazzy Star's music you'll know just how out of place this is. The waify singer Hope Sandoval then walked off stage and the lights went up. End of show....how rock and roll! I was in on a comped ticket thanks to a buddy and was not a fan so I thought the whole thing was pretty funny.
Beat Farmers ... all kinds of things (generally involving Country Dick Montana) but two of my faves were him pouring beer over his hat while singing about waterfalls in the "Big Rock Candy Mountain" and lying on his back and picking up a bottle of beer between his boots and bringing it over to his mouth where he downed it with barely a drop being spilled.

Razorbacks ... while opening for Blue Rodeo in Toronto's Convocation Hall their bass player took his double bass up into the audience and proceeded to play it while standing on it on a ledge ... looked pretty dangerous from where I was seated but nobody got hurt.

Alejandro Escovedo ... patiently waited while his violinist and cellist played the Thirteen Years Theme and then launched into his song about the Sun and the Moon ... only a crucial string on his guitar broke and they had to do it all over again.

Bob Dylan and the Band ... there were a couple of hippy girls sitting behind us, smoking dope ... Dylan came out and played several fairly obscure songs (not obscure to devout fans like we were) and then went back to get the Band ... one of the girls said, "I'm glad that's over with. When's Dylan coming on?"
10,000 Maniacs ... some guy in the front kept yelling at Natalie Merchant ... between songs she asked him where he was from ... she got the lighting people to train a spotlight on him ... later when he became rowdy again, Natalie stopped singing and said something like: "You already have a spotlight now please let others enjoy the show." He did.

Alejandro Escovedo … with a full band this time ... the venue had no seats and AE got the people who were sitting on the floor to stand up by saying, "Hey ... this isn't a Melanie show! Everybody up!" later he decided to do an unplugged segment and the whole band shifted to the middle of the standing crowd ... a plaintive cry rang out: "Shut the fuck up people or you'll never hear this!" So they did and it was a fabulous show. Alejandro isn't usually this bossy.

I was at a 10,000 Maniacs show 2 years ago when they were about 4 songs into the show nd the couple behind my wife and I were talking and the guy says wow Natalie Merchant still has a great voice, problem was she is no longer in the band Mary Ramsey is the lead.

I saw the Stranglers at the old Ritz in NYC in the mid 80's and a "look at me" guy jumped up on stage. Instead of throwing a snit like Mazzy Star (I would have been pissed!), Hugh Cornwell and Jean-Jacques Burnel tackled the guy and pulled off his pants; the bouncers had to come out and and rescue him! The band went back to mics, didn't mention the commotion and started into the next song.
Runners up - The band Blotto at the Chance in Poughkeepsie New York. If anyone remembers Blotto it was probably for their novelty hits "I want to be a Lifeguard" and "Metal Head". For a while, they were sort of the house band at the Chance. They filled in one night for Garland Jefferies who had to cancel at the last minute. Blotto came out and launched into a spot on version of R.O.C.K Rock, Jefferies hit at the time and lampooned him every opportunity they got. It was also the night before the Band was to play a Thanksgiving show and Dylan was rumored to be one of the guests. Sarge Blotto placed a mock phone call to his "good friend Bob" and it was hilarious hearing his side of the conversation.
Also, any of the shows David Johansen did as Buster Poindexter in the 80's. I saw him many times at Tramps (another defunct club) in NYC and he was always a hoot.
I saw one of Paul Westerberg's solo shows at Amoeba in L.A. and at some point in between songs someone yells "FREEBIRD" to which most of the crowd groaned and Paul kind of stopped went up to the mic and said "Is that still funny?"

Same show - my buddy Chris is front row and is a diehard Westerberg fan and is just in heaven. Paul is tuning his guitar and Chris let's out a "Yeah!" or something and Paul says to him "Are you going to cheer every time I play the right chord?" It was pretty funny.
I saw Toto in 1982. (What can I say--I was only 18, and I loved "Rosanna." Plus I had free tickets.) Anyway, the singer tripped over a monitor and fell down , but got up and finished the show. I learned the next day that he'd actually broken his ankle in the fall.
I have a couple. One of the first live shows I ever saw was in the infield at a harness racing track in Louisville called Louisville Downs. It was Redbone, circa 1976-ish, the summer they had the hit "Come and Get Your Love." Redbone opened the show with the song. The crowd went wild never guessing that the band would shoot its biggest bullet first. Then, midway through the set, they played it again. The crowd loved it again. Then, for their encore, you guessed it, they played "Come and Get Your Love," for a third time...as the crowd made it's way to the parking lot.
Lynyrd Skynyrd at Louisville's Convention Center, also around 1976. We were sitting high up on the wing of the stage and looked across the length of it. Second song into the show a beer bottle flashed through the lights, arcing high like a well shot three-pointer, and then spiraling down. It landed on the forehead of the bass player. Not many people out front noticed it. The band finished the song and then members threw down their instruments, flipped the audience the bird, and marched off stage. Since so few people had seen the bottle thing, the crowd was confused as hell. The roar went up for the band's return, which happened after several long minutes of clapping and whistles. Ronnie Van Zant took the mike and yelled, Y'all wanna see us play?" The crowd went nuts. Then he got specific. "Y'all wanna see ME play?" Yes, hell yes, the crowd cheered and clapped. Then Van Zant went one-by-one through his line-up, pointing and yelling into the mike, "Y'all wanna see HIM play?" It was a big group and the audience was losing steam by the time everyone was covered. But rock n' roll provided on both sides of the stage and the show continued on into the night.
I have a Mazzy Star one too.
The band were playing and woozing along, in near darkness onstage. The adoring crowd was probably half lesbian, as this was Albuquerque in the mid-nineties. Me and all the lesbians were singing along and just as happy as can be to be seeing this band out in the middle of nowhere. Chatting, drinking dos equis, you know...happy.
Hope stops mid-song and says, "Will you just shut. the. fuck. up!"
Her speaking voice was this sort of nasal, annoyed-as-shit Mrs. Roper from Three's Company sounding thing, and at this command me and the lesbians DIED laughing for a full minute.
The show went on, Faith fuming in almost complete darkness.
I'll show my red-neckedness on this first one: An old girlfriend (and now, ex-wife) took me to see a "jazz" show at some fancy opera hall. I believe it was Branford Marsalis. Heretofore, my experience with "jazz" was the ragtime bars on Bourbon Street. There was hootin' and hollerin' involved, required, practiced, whatever. Well , midway through the first song, I hollered out a raucus "yeah!", by way of participation/encouragement. You would have thought I had just interrupted the Pope. Every head in the place turned my way, including Branford's. My girl was aghast. Uh... sorry... I'll let you get back to (what I later called) finding it and losing it again.

Another time I saw 38 Special open for Rush. The crowd was so packed in that your arms were pinned by your sides. The singer for 38 Special decided to toss cans of Heineken to the crowd. Who couldn't catch them and took a few off their heads. Oops.
Back in the 80s/90s there used to be a club in Oakland called the Omni that was big with all the hair bands. At the front of the stage there were these large metal grates that the crew could remove in order to get under the stage (run cables, etc). Apparently the singer of the headlining act was not informed the grates had been removed that evening. In addition, his tech had thought it a good idea to put his mic stand front and center, PAST the gaping hole left by the missing grates. To open the show the singer ran out in all his metal glory, b-lining right for his white on white Jovi mic stand and disappeared into the underbelly of the stage.

A hell of a way to start your set.
Every run in I have had with Tommy Stinson has been classic (and stories from others prove the same). The best of them was at the Double Door. Prior to the show the line for the men's room was just unbelievable. A rather drunk fellow at the urinal was engaged in telling a rather salty tale of catholic boys' school youth to another very drunk fellow at the other urinal (and quite loudly). All of a sudden the stall door opens and there is Tommy Stinson. He says simply, "Man, that is the funniest fucking story I have ever heard." The whole line/crowd sees him and just yells "Tommy!" in unison like the bar welcoming Norm at Cheers. I don't know how no one saw him head in, but everyone seemed surprised when he popped out.

Same night - Tommy had done a version of "Glad All Over" by The Dave Clark Five that evening and my friend that had grown up in Liverpool was with me signing along with every word. We were positioned pretty near the front of the venue. Tommy stayed after the show to sign autographs and I approached and carefully explained that the last time my friend and I had seen him (at Mabel's in Champaign, IL) my friend had not gotten an autograph, and I pointed at my friend, Rob. Tommy immediately beams when he sees Rob, and yells "You're the fucker that knew every word to Glad All Over!!" It was fantastic.

Salut! Tommy Stinson. You, to me, are Rock and Roll.



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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.