Concerts are supposed to be moments of joy in our lives when we have the chance of listening to our favorite artists live. However, the small spaces, the huge numbers of concert-goers and the dimness of the lights have made us think at least once in our lives that we might not be totally safe at these venues. As the terrorist attacks at the Bataclan theater in Paris have recently proved, you never know when tragedy strikes. The following list brings together 5 concerts that ended badly, be it by accident or by intent.
1. Black Sabbath – Milwaukee, WI (1980)
As you might know, during rock concerts you can see a lot of flying objects. Various bottles or other items and thrown by the public above their heads or towards the stage. Furthermore, these objects sometimes end up on the stage or even hit the performers. While some of them do not seem too affected by this, others have clear contracts that if something like this happens they will end their concert. This was the case for Geezer Butler, bassist in the Black Sabbath band, who was hit by a beer bottle while singing in Milwaukee in 1980. The incident happened when the lights were out and Butler had to be hospitalized. The band canceled the concert, which led to the public expressing their rage in a riot. Fortunately, no lives were lost.
2. Metallica, Guns N’ Roses – Montreal, Canada (1992)
The early 1990s was a period when hard rock registered a successful comeback. In 1992, Metallica and Guns N’ Roses went together on tour across the United States and Canada. During the performance of Metallica on August 8, 1992, James Hetfield accidentally stepped into one of the pyrotechnic fires. He had to be taken to hospital, having suffered severe burns, and the band ended their set. However, the lead singer of Guns N’ Roses, Axl Rose, decided that his band should also finish earlier since his voice felt sore. These two events really got on the nerves of the concert-goers who went on the streets of Montreal and ended up creating a sort of war zone. No lives were lost, but the damage to cars and houses was quite serious.
3. Krylya – Tushino, Russia (2003)
In the context of the Chechen War, several music venues were targeted by terrorists. Even though the military events took place in the Caucasian republic, the campaign conducted by Vladimir Putin determined the response of the Chechen mujahideen, terrorists linked to Al-Qaeda and the Caucasus Emirate. The first attack was carried out in 2002 in Moscow, at the Palace of Culture, during a musical. Fifty mujahideens infiltrated the place and the police decided to pump narcotic gas in order to put them to sleep. Unfortunately, the standoff resulted also in the deaths of the 120 hostages.
This attack was followed by another after one year. Two suicide bombers detonated themselves near the ticket booths at a rock concert held at Tushino airfield. It was then reported that about 20,000 people were attending the Krylya (Wings) concert. The terrorists managed to kill fourteen people and to emphasize the real Chechen threat.
4. Lamb of God – Prague, Czech Republic (2010)
While touring through Europe in 2010, Lamb of God, a heavy metal band from America had a huge problem after an accident. It all went well until they reached the Czech Republic. During their concert at the Abaton Club in Prague, 19-year-old Daniel Nosek got the chance to leap from the stage in something called “stage dive”. Unfortunately, the young man ended up falling on his head and sustaining brain damage which led to his untimely death. Footage from the concert seemingly showed Randy Blythe, the lead singer, and a security guard pushing Nosek off the stage. As a result, two years later the singer was arrested for manslaughter. After 37 days in prison, Blythe was present at his trial and his charges were cleared.
5. Goodbye to Gravity – Bucharest, Romania (2015)
Very similar to The Station nightclub fire that happened in 2003 in Rhode Island, the Colectiv club in Bucharest burned to the ground on October 30 this year. The lack of security exits and the huge number of people that were crammed inside had initially led to the deaths of 27 people and the grave injuries of 180. The fire started because of some fireworks that started inside, during the concert of the Goodbye to Gravity rock band. Apparently the whole place was upholstered with a highly flammable material in order to isolate the music inside the club. This material caught on fire from the fireworks and burned in less than 30 seconds.
Sadly the death toll raised to 60 people who died either from their burns, from the intoxication with smoke or a combination of the two. As a result, many officials were dismissed from their roles since they permitted the club to operate in such conditions. Furthermore, the whole affair has led to the change of the Romanian government.