From guitar smashing storm offs to indecipherable rants, on-stage freak outs come in all shapes and sizes. Above, we’ve compiled twelve of our favourites, ranging from Kanye West’s infamous “I’m a let you finish” attack on Taylor Swift to Dave Grohl’s show stopping altruism. Below, we’ve given you some context on each of them.
12. Dave Grohl
Two summers ago in London, Dave Grohl stopped a Foo Fighters show after spotting a fight in the crowd. “You don’t come to my show to fight. You come to my show to dance, you fucking asshole,” said Grohl. “Get the fuck out of here.”
Because it was an iTunes sponsored gig, the entire thing was captured on camera.
11. Azealia Banks
Perennial underachiever Azealia Banks was performing in Melbourne last October when a fan allegedly launched a beer can onto the stage. As a result, she tossed her mic to the ground and stormed off the stage, citing an unsafe environment and cutting the show short.
10. Billie Joe Armstrong
Green Day’s singer didn’t take kindly to the iHeartRadio Music Festival’s teleprompter telling the band they had one minute left in their set, cutting “Basket Case” short to launch into a tirade of fucks and self-entitlement. Three days later, Billie Joe Armstrong was admitted to rehab for substance abuse issues.
9. Billy Joel
Billy Joel was playing in the then-Soviet Union when the venue turned the lights up high on the crowd, and if an admittedly unverified source is to believed, that led them to freeze. Joel’s reaction was extreme to say the least. After flipping his piano he ran to the front of the stage, interrupting a pretty tight jam between his band to hilariously thrash the microphone stand. Yikes.
8. Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain was already having a bad night when he decided to take his frustrations with a venue’s bad sound out on its monitors. Security didn’t like that, and he liked it even less when Cobain’s guitar struck him on the head. It went to blows, with the bouncer launching off on the Nirvana frontman before the band’s gargantuan bassist Krist Novoselic stepped in to break it up.
7. The Ataris
Singer Kris Roe felt his drummer’s performance last year was “fucking embarrassing” to the point that it led to him angrily smashing Rob Felicetti’s kit with his guitar. Roe said “Our drummer’s fucking failing tonight… I don’t know what the fucking problem is but I’m gonna finish the set by myself” before kicking and tossing the hi-hat off the stage.
6. Axl Rose
No list like this would be complete without an appearance from Axl Rose, but it’s surprisingly not his riot-inducing walk off in Montreal that made the cut here, but rather a similar tantrum in Missouri that saw the eccentric front man diving head first into the crowd at a camera-toting fan. He trashed venue security as he got back on stage before calling the show quits. Naturally, an in-venue riot followed immediately thereafter.
5. Kanye West
Before his outbursts on leather jogging pants, lengthy on stage rants or shoving matches with the papparazi, Kanye West famously stormed the stage at the 2009 MTV VMA Awards, interrupting Taylor Swift’s timid acceptance speech to drunkenly let everyone know that “Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!” True, but it was awkward for everyone.
Slash absolutely ruined Michael Jackson’s 1995 VMAs performance with a solo he absolutely refused to stop playing. As bad as it sounded initially, the whole thing got increasingly more awkward when the King of Pop decided to stop playing along, becoming visibly frustrated by Slash’s incessant shredding before the lights came on and everyone got really, really uncomfortable.
3. Ariel Pink
Ariel Pink maintains that this wasn’t a freak out so much as a “dose of reality,” but he nonetheless wrecked an otherwise solid Coachella performance when he turned his back to the crowd and mumbled his way through an entire performance.
Say what you will about Nickelback, but this one was pretty justified. While playing a gig in Portugal, the crowd decided to start launching rocks at the Canadian cock-rock kings. Apparently they were upset that they were performing. That’s fair. Throwing rocks isn’t.
1. Amy Winehouse
The late Amy Winehouse wasn’t just eccentric, she was a loose canon. Case in point this incident at the Glastonbary Festival in 2008 that led the troubled singer tossing punches at a crowd member who had allegedly lobbed insults about Winehouse’s then-jailed hubby Blake Fielder-Civil.