Being a musician definitely has some perks. You get to travel all over the place, touring with your bandmates and playing the music you love. But sometimes, what happens on tour can get a bit out of hand.
Here, musicians reveal the most ridiculous thing they’ve seen while on tour.
1. Seen a guy crowed surfing in an inflatable raft with speedos and snorkel at a show. Same show, a guy climb up a pillar in a tent at a festival jump off and break his leg. A band threw a pineapple into the crowed and it hit someone straight int the face. I have lots of these.
2. Mid set, standing on the edge of the stage, some old guy is tugging on my pant-leg. I try to ignore it, finally look down and he’s holding up a shot at me. Now, I like to drink as much as the next guy, but I was hot, sweaty, tired, and taking a shot at that exact moment as not gonna be pretty. So I take the shot glass, set it down on the stage and keep rapping. Then after the set I did the shot, which seemed to make him happy. Went over to the bar and the guy asked me to do another shot with him, I obliged. I threw my shot back, and he proceeded to get about a drop of the alcohol on his tongue before vomiting all over the bar, me, and other patrons at the bar.
3. I was a guest roadie for this musician who’s a well known partier.
He was a total introvert and I never saw any cocaine whatsoever. Shocking right? Also I’d like to mention he really is a great guy and he would always try to throw as much free stuff to the crowd as possible and do free meet and greets and stuff but his management shot him down 99% of the time.
4. We played the main stage at Reading Festival in 2008. Now, throwing bottles and stuff at the stage is pretty commonplace there, but this day was special. Metallica was headlining. Tenacious D was playing. Avenged Sevenfold was supposed to play, but cancelled at the last minute.
So picture an endless sea of drunken metal heads that have been going hard for the last two days, who are furious because Avenged cancelled, who just want to see fucking Metallica, and then the Plain White T’s step out on stage. Before they even hit a single note, the barrage of bottles, garbage, batteries (!), and even a superball (which was pretty cool because we got to keep it and bounce it around) were launched into the air.
It continued throughout the whole set at full tilt. Then we played Hey There Delilah. And something magical happened. The bottles stopped. The crowd started spreading apart. A large hole formed in the middle of the mob with ONE drunk dude standing in the middle. All of a sudden, the two sides of the crowd started charging at each other, like that scene in Braveheart. The drunk guy in the middle DROPS HIS PANTS, throws his arms up, and the biggest fucking circle pit I’ve ever seen converges all around him.
And here we are watching from the stage, playing a cheesy little acoustic love song while all this intense moshing is happening. It was the single most incredible moment, and something we will never forget.
Never had more fun.
5. I was on tour for three weeks this summer filling in on drums for my friends band. We are from New Jersey and just played a show in Michigan and it started raining really heavily. The band we were on tour with decided to get a nice hotel room for the night and let two of us crash on their floor while the rest crashed in the van.
While waiting to go into the hotel three of us were standing outside smoke a cigarette and chatting. Two huge guys walk out of the hotel and come up to us, the one guy goes “Hey my names Clifford…. like the big red dog.” in his Tennessee accent. Turns out these guys were doing some floor work on the hotel and each had their own king suite (story continued on the next page…).
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We then say some of us are going to go in the van to sleep, Clifford felt bad for us. He said if we play him some songs on “that there geetar” he would give us his room for free. So we go up stairs play him a bunch of songs, he’s feeding us whiskey, beer, and weed, then leaves and lets us have the whole room for the night. Shouts out Clifford.
6. While covering Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”, an elderly man in a wheel chair rolled up and started head-bobbing to the groove, only to immediately stand up and throw down some serious moves. We are certain we cured his paralysis with Stevie Wonder.
7. I’m mid set at this venue, guy jumps on stage and tries to start rapping with me. Literally is yelling at me to “listen to this flow” and I guess started rapping. I couldn’t really hear him over the music. I’m tying my best to ignore him and continue the set but he keeps tapping me on the shoulder and trying to get me to listen. At one point I stop rapping and I’m like “dude I can do nothing for you, I haven’t even made it yet.” He kept trying to rap, so I finally pushed him off the stage back into the crowd, because I was getting pissed. After the show my wife informed me that I had pushed him literally right on top of her as she was standing in the front row.
8. We lost a bass player after a gig once, to the point we almost had to list him as missing. We finished our set and partied it up with friends at the venue. We soon notice our bass player hasn’t been seen in an hour or two. He had apparently last been seen zig-zag-walking away from the venue. There was a nearby park on one side and a river on the other. We were stressing out and combined with someone weed paranoia, were frantically looking for him everywhere but expecting the worst. After about 3 hours searching we gave up and went home, hoping he would be okay. He apparently woke up in a bush in that park a few hours later, with the first people walking by him happening to be German tourists speaking fluent German. He thought he had somehow been transported into the future and was now in Germany.
9. I played a house show in Portland with my punk band. Everyone is huffing paint. Someone got their guitar stolen, and the collected door fee got stolen… Roll to the after party at another house: stolen kegs, free beer!
10. A little while back my crappy band sold enough tickets to open up for this much bigger band. We were all teenagers, and absolutely obsessed with these guys. I knew that if I could get to the backstage area to meet them I’d be a legend among my group.
Easily got backstage after telling the bouncer that I was in one of the local bands. I thought that he would say no, so I was totally unprepared to meet the band. I walk in, do an awkward wave and sit in an isolated chair (story continued on the next page…).
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The lead singer says “who’s that sweaty guy?”
“Uhm. I’m Milkweed.”
Weirdly my band mates still thought that I was cool as hell for getting backstage.
During their set their lead guitarist started climbing around the ceiling like a monkey. He fell down into the crowd, and disappeared.
Lead singer to crowd “give him back. Give us our guitarist.”
The guy ended up having a broken ankle.
11. Played a show in Knoxville with my band. We’re mid-set and this guy comes up and throws a $20 bill on the stage. Which is cool, but weird because we’re not a cover band, we play original music, and this is the first time we’ve ever been tipped.
This guy is wearing old time-y clothes; long heavy trench coat, old weird looking hat, and a MONOCLE!!
Anyways, he walks over to a waitress, whispers something, and leaves. We find out later from the waitress that this guy told her that we should keep doing what we’re doing, blah blah, but she also says the guy told her that he was “spending his family’s inheritance tonight” and he showed her this bible that had a gun inside of it. She told him she didn’t think he should have that in the bar so he left.
The bartender said the guy had been paying $20 a drink all night. So weird…
12. I’ve seen a guy play keyboard with his junk and people LOVED it.
13. Viewing violent crowds doing circle-pits, rowdy moshing and insane stage diving. I was always grateful for my safety behind my drum-kit but also felt somewhat responsible for the reason people were getting covered in blood or hurt. Stage divers were always a bit unpredictable, it was a relief when they dived back into the crowd and not drove a fist into our faces.
14. The coolest thing was when a group of woman brought their mother to the club in her wheel chair. One of the daughters said her mom was in hospice care and her last wish was to have a scotch and listen to some traditional jazz in the French Quarter. We played some standards and she gently waived her white napkin in the air, between songs I brought her a drink and she kissed me on the cheek, her daughters were all crying but she had the biggest smile.
15. Played a show at this dive bar one time in Virginia, a larger woman was standing in front of us the whole time. She was enjoying the music and having a good time, it was nice to see someone of a different crowd getting into our music. Nearing the end of the show she… (story continued on the next page…).
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Nearing the end of the show she turns towards the crowd, back facing us, pulls her pants down, and moons everyone.
16. I’ve seen a band whose entire setup was a drum kit, old Halloween decorations, and a tape loop of spooky sound effects.
It was awesome.
17. Played a gig where the host later brought out a bunch of green vodka. We all started into the bottles and then had the champagne brought out as a sort of chaser. We chased the champagne with bear, ostrich and other weird meats. Funky cheese, too. More green vodka was brought out, and about 2 minutes into the second round of bottles, women were topless, men were grinding them to fight songs that were now being sung, and it was the perfect scene of Valhalla.
I’m a violinist, and I was playing Gounod’s Faust (opera) at an ambassadors home in DC, and was one of three invited to stay for the after party.
18. Played a venue that also doubled as a strip club on different nights. The strippers pole was right in the middle of the stage. Every now and then during our set, someone thought it would be a fun idea to spin around the pole and show us his stripper moves, causing a few hilarious moments and painful-looking falls.
19. Got mugged after a gig once. Should’ve known seeing a man jogging towards us in a tattered flannelette shirt on a Wednesday night wasn’t going to end well. Guitar cases are harder to use to defend yourself as you’d think.
20. This’ll tell you how lame me and my band were.
In Nottingham, a city known for girls being just generally mischievous. We’re playing at the 20th Anniversary of Nottingham Rock City, we had quite a bit of a buzz about us at that time. We get there at about 2pm and we’ve done our soundcheck by 4.
Suddenly the dressing room door bursts open and these two Nottingham girls burst in and… (story continued on the next page…).
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Suddenly the dressing room door bursts open and these two Nottingham girls burst in and… (story continued on the next page…)., one of them is in latex, and they both start kissing in our room and shouting about JD. Pure rock n roll.
We are taken aback. We are listening to Tori Amos. I am in the corner reading Lord Of The Rings. Our bassist mentions that we’re just about to have some sandwiches and would they like one. Guitarist embarks them on a conversation about how if floozing it up is their thing then more power to them but they’ve probably got more to offer than that. Drummer is, as you’d expect, looking on in horror as we blow his opportunity of a third threesome that tour. For a metal band we were mostly cool guys.
Anyway they sit down, smoke a joint with us, and we ended up having a really interesting conversation with them – apparently the floozening is kind of thing up in Nottingham and it’s sort of expected by the bands coming through. One of the girls was a doctor in training, she’s probably saving lives now. Very interesting. Also we never got laid.
Idiots. Absolute idiots.
21. Played a basement in DC, then immediately travelled to Philadelphia where our hosts showered us with booze and drugs until 6am. I woke up alone in our van at 1pm in the middle of summer completely drenched in sweat. That was probably the closest I came to death. That night our van was broken into, but they only stole cigarettes and condoms.
22. I’ve been working at this local venue for the past couple years now. We once had an act refuse to go on because the lead singer felt we hadn’t been “kind” to him. Had to go over to this 30-something wannabe rocker, and tell him that we do indeed like him and would he PLEASE get up on stage to play his set.
23. I was always so sad to see people moshing to our music and doing it completely wrong.
No, flailing your arms around wildly is not moshing. No, punching someone in the stomach is also not moshing. Holy shit please put that knife away already.
24. Working backstage at a music festival. Our headliner was pretty big that year, and there were a lot of excited fans waiting to see them. Due to their relative fame, there was a bunch of security. Somehow though, two 13 year old girls managed to launch themselves over one of the barriers they were so excited to see the band. One was crying to hard and hyperventilating when we told them they’d have to leave, that she fainted.
Our headliner? A 70 some year old blues singer. So confused why these girls were so damn hyped about seeing a 70 year old, passed his prime, blues singer…
25. Show up to Kirkwood near Tahoe in Northern California. We drive through the little ski town and it’s dead, seems like the place is empty. We set up in the one bar/restaurant at the lodge and get ready for what seems like it will be a rough, boring night (story continued on the next page…).
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At about 10pm shortly after we start the set, a group of about 20-30 people show up ready to PARTY. Everyone’s wasted, there’s a girl is dancing double time to everything we play, a dude is passing out while standing up and still trying to dance, people are hooking up, I’ve never seen so much happen in such a small crowd.
It ended up being one of the funnest nights of the tour.
26. I opened for Wheetus a couple of years ago on their ‘come back’ tour in the UK.
When I arrived at soundcheck I hadn’t even listened to them since the early 90’s and didn’t have a clue what they looked like.
So I was chatting away to what I thought was some random guy , he then gets on stage and starts sound checking teenage dirt bag.
I go up to the sound guy and was like, “Why the heck is the other support act covering teenage dirtbag?!” Turns out, I was chatting away to the front guy from Wheetus , asking him where to put my guitar case blah blah like he was a technician… Kinda awkward.
27. Was playing a Jazz Gig, and the audience was clapping on 1&3…cringe
28. I’m neither a musician or a roadie, but I go to a fair amount of concerts, and I recently saw the most awkward “crowd surfing” I’ve ever seen.
It was at this concert in Portland. The band makes an announcement between songs, that their drummer and the guy who opened for them, are going to crowd surf, and the crowd must keep them surfing for the whole song. Now, I’ve seen musicians crowd surf before, but usually it’s during the heat of a song, when the crowds really pumped and ready for it, I have never seen it announced beforehand.. So they start playing some kinda slow song, and the guys awkwardly climb out on top of the crowd(which, mind you, is 90% girls). One of them immediately falls. The crowd, with help from some security guards, slowly manages to get him back in the air. The next minute and a half was spent awkwardly twisting and turning these two guys, while the crowd was trying to push them back on stage, and the band was physically not allowing them back.
Eventually the crowd just dropped them on the ground cause it was clearly not fun for any party involved, except maybe the guys still on stage after watching their friends fail at crowdsurfing. Overall, one of the worst shows I’ve seen this year.
29. I once got paid, and it even covered my expenses. So outrageous.