Kanye West and Crowd Banter Gone Bad: Featuring Axl Rose, A$AP Rocky and...Barbara Streisand?
Hey, did you hear the news? Kanye West made some headlines during his stage banter while touring in Australia. But no, seriously this time: He got pretty pissed at a couple of handicapped fans that didn't obey his demands that everyone stand. We don't know how far he's taking this Yeezus/Jesus thing but it ain't happening dude.
Most fan interaction from stage is a good thing. Bands prostrate themselves before their fans ("You're the best crowd we've ever seen! Really!") and toss out guitar picks and other innocent and grateful displays. But occasionally performers are less than pleased with those in the audience.
Axl Rose in St. Louis (1991)
Bad crowd interaction begins and ends with Axl Rose and the Guns 'n' Roses, particularly his notorious display at the Riverport Amphitheater, which would come to be known as the "Riverport Riot/Rocket Queen Riot." The vocalist caught a fan with a camera a few rows back and gave security roughly four seconds to apprehend him before lunging into the audience himself to give the fan what for. He then told the crowd the show was over and the rest of the band had little choice but to follow him offstage. Irritated attendees began to riot and Rose would be arrested (but not convicted) for inciting the fracas. The Guns subsequently gave described their feelings in the liner notes for Use Your Illusion I, noting "f--k you, St. Louis!"
Barbara Streisand mid-Campaign Speech (2006)
It's nice that you have your political beliefs but we highly advise against airing them out mid-concert speech. Barbara Streisand was railing against George W. Bush—she was excited for the midterm elections we're sure—when a less Democratic-minded fan yelled from the audience, requesting that Streisand continue on with the concert portion of the evening. Streisand told him to "shut the f--k up," with much fanfare from the rest of the crowd. Yes, freedom of speech exists, but don't exercise it in front of celebrities with microphones and their over-loyal fans (note: The video below edits out her political speech)
Jack White in A Mood (2013)
Jack White may be this generation's greatest guitar player and he hangs out with Neil Young. So it kind of comes with the territory that he's also a tad grumpy at points, as many news stories have pointed out over the last year. One prime example was when he left stage 45 minutes into a set at Radio City Music Hall during 2013, complaining of a lack of excitement that no one else at the venue perceived. "Jesus Christ, is this an NPR convention?" he proclaimed, dissing the only radio organization that plays the music he based much of Lazaretto upon. (note: Only the first quote from this video comes from his first performance at the venue)
Hip-Hop at South by Southwest (2012/2014)
The two major hip-hop collectives at the moment—A$AP Mob and the Odd Future gang—have little in common. Except for causing major disturbances at South by Southwest. A$AP was the first crew involved when one of the Mob members jumped into the crowd and unsurprisingly had his do-rag snatched. Frontman A$AP Rocky tried to calm nerves but a few thrown beer cans later the whole crew jumped in the crowd to start a mini-riot. Tyler, The Creator of Odd Future was less concerned with calming things down in 2014 when he called for fans stuck outside to rush the gate when security declared the venue full to capacity. He was arrested in the aftermath.
Aaron Lewis and Righteous Indignation (2014)
Aaron Lewis and Staind are the exception to most of the examples in this list because he wasn't creating problems: He was solving them. Lewis saw a crowd surfing girl getting some hands in unpleasant places as she crowd surfed at Rockfest and he wasn't having it. We quote: "Alright, listen up, you f--king a--holes. That f--king girl right there is, like, 15 f--king years old and you f--king pieces of s--t are molesting her while she's on the f--king crowd. Your f--king mothers should be ashamed of themselves, you pieces of s--t. You should all be f--king beaten down by everyone around you for being f--king pieces of s--t. If I f--king see that s--t again, I swear to God, I will point you out in the crowd and have everyone around you beat your f--king a--." No violence resulted but it could've been major legal problems for Lewis if it had.
Maynard James Keenan Knows Karate
This example doesn't actually fit as the Tool vocalist didn't say anything to this fan who crashed the stage but it's so awesome as to deserve a spot on the list. Many vocalists use shaming to make misbehaving fans feel embarrassed. Nothing can be more shameful then having the vocalist virtually dry-hump you while he performs. One male fan attempted to tackle Keenan as Tool performed "Pushit," not realizing that the vocalist is ex-military, more than competent in jiujitsu and quite possibly crazy. The fan's attempts at a hug are greeted with a hip-toss and a chokehold before the vocalist begins laying into the unfortunate fan with his groin. While performing. Horrifying justice served. (note: Fast-forward to 4:00)