Question of the Week: Have you ever walked out of a concert? Which show and why?
Local Spins’ Question of the Week (Oct. 28, 2021)
Have you ever walked out of a concert? Which show and why?
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THE READER RESPONSES:
Jeannine Lemmon – Bob Dylan: Twice in GR in the last 10 years or so. But in part, it was because I was more interested in the accompanying acts — Mark Knopfler and Mavis Staples. A few minutes of Dylan sufficed.
Joel Miller – I rarely leave an event early due to a bad performance. A shit show can still be a great story. One that comes to mind as a cringe-worthy and notable memory is System of a Down a year or so after their bassist tried to sue the Van Andel security crew in 2001. Bad blood was already in the water. Apparently, the guitarist, Daron Malakian, didn’t like being there either. Just complete disgust and disregard for the audience. Kinda wild stuff.
James Koelzer – Bob Dylan. He and Willie Nelson at Fifth Third Ball 2004. Dylan was after the opening act so I fled to the concourse when I couldn’t take it anymore. He mumbled and growled the whole time, never understood a word he said. Willie was great.
Eric Edelmayer – Robin Trower at State Theatre in Kalamazoo. It was so loud I couldn’t hear it.
Gerrit Nestle – Type O Negative, back in the ‘90s at the Orbit Room. The show was boring! Thank God the tickets were cheap!
Janet Barber Melvin – Todd Rundgren at the BOB played none of his old songs and became a political rant.
Brek Rosengren – Foreigner’s Lou Gramm, at the Allegan Fairgrounds. He was old and tired. Around 2004?
Aaron (Aobewon) – In about 2014, we were shopping at antique stores in Bay City. One had two VIP tickets for a sold-out Alice Cooper outdoor concert to sell for a weekend festival event that night. We were 15 yards from the front. First song was total lip sync and backup tape. The lead guitar played one or two riffs over the track. Second song same thing. Third song I jumped up and started screaming we came for live music. Before security began to mobilize my wife started dragging me away and we left. Unbelievable.
Tom T. Ball – 1998(?), Bob Dylan/Joni Mitchell at Palace of Auburn Hills. Joni opened; she was very good, although the sound wasn’t great, nor were our seats. Sat through about half of Dylan; again, sound was not good, nor the seats — up high and on the side. Bob seemed to be re-inventing his catalog that night, and you could hardly tell what he was playing. Mumbling with bad sound is not a good combination, so we walked..
Frank Tobin – Walked out of Stevie Nicks at Van Andel during second song. The opening band, The Pretenders, was so good that the comparison to Nicks was too disappointing to sit through. Rambling talk between boring songs. And yep, frogs can sing …
Jonathan Beaver – Mark Knopfler and Bob Dylan played Van Andel a few years back. I really just went to see mark and his set was great but Dylan’s was atrocious and I only made it about 20 minutes in.
Meegan Holland – I walked out of the Chris Stapleton show at Van Andel Arena, not because of the quality of the concert. It was wonderful. But it was being ruined by two drunk women behind me who would not. stop. talking. Plenty of other drunk people were around us as well. There’s no use arguing with drunk people, so we left. It’s a shame Van Andel sells huge cups of beer that prompt people to overdrink – and overpee (yep, we were near the aisle, so we were constantly getting up to let people by). I’ve never returned to Van Andel since. Makes me sad.
Elle Lively – When Trippin’ Billies at 20 Monroe mashed up “Ants Marching” with “All Summer Long.” I walked backwards until I hit the door.
Rebecca Charbauski – I didn’t walk out, but was flat-out offended by John Mellencamp at Van Andel. He played with his back to the crowd and couldn’t have cared less to be there. He was barely on stage for 75 minutes. Boo!
Tim Sundt – The Who at the Silverdome, 1975. Didn’t leave the concert, but had to bail on the main floor because it got pretty gnarly. Made our way to the concourse level and enjoyed those incredible Silverdome acoustics for the rest of the show. I think this was also the concert when Toots and the Maytals opened, and they got booed off the stage. Not many reggae fans there in 1975.
Andrew Ogrodzinski – I walked out of a Doobie Brothers show in Lansing. It wasn’t that they were bad or sounded bad. Just wasn’t feeling it. That said I do like them and wouldn’t mind seeing them with Michael McDonald.
Luke Sass – I fell asleep during Red Hot Chili Peppers.
John Sinkevics – I proudly walked out of Motley Crue’s concert at Van Andel Arena years ago: The most ridiculous, unprofessional display of rock I’d ever seen. But there have been other shows where I’ve seen flocks of people flee midway through, whether due to poor performances or objectionable ones – or because of unruly, disrespectful fans.
William Hahs – Combinations of Acts I’ve ever seen J. Geils and UFO. J. Geils was awesome; UFO was just garbage loud to the point that the music was unintelligible.
Ted Bergin – I left a Los Lobos show in Cincinnati. They were fine I’m sure. We had tickets to see Kitaro that night. When we got to the venue, a small sign was on the door saying the show was canceled. It was a Saturday night, so we figured we’d just catch something else in that big city. Los Lobos was playing and we liked some of their stuff. We paid and walked in. Hard rock cranking out. Likely their current stuff. The place was packed and loud. It was not what we were mentally prepared for (new age jazz flute).We lasted maybe 10 minutes and left.
Nic Stubbs – Bela Fleck & the Flecktones at Calvin College. We left because the “kids” thought it was a rock show instead of a jazz concert. They stood up instead of sitting for people sitting behind them. They were asked to sit and refused. We couldn’t see, the kids didn’t care, so we left.
Joe Ferguson – I walked out of a Dylan show at Wings Stadium because our seats were right in front of mains. We couldn’t even guess what songs they were playing
Mike Ensing – The Stones in ‘81 at The Silverdome, Night 2, because they were two hours late after Iggy Pop & Santana (Keith & Mick clash backstage likely). At least it was late in the show. Nickelback a couple of songs in, Richard Kelley & I didn’t need to get $ back for our free tickets
John Wood – Cake in Minneapolis, 2018. The guy did more talking than singing. Politics, conspiracy theories, aliens.
Robert Biggie G Gill – Sleeze Beez @ Orbit Room (Club Eastbrook then). It was one of KLQ’s free Thursday shows. They were just absolutely awful.
Joziph Phillion – P Funk – 20 Monroe. They were sober and god awful. I think Dumpstafunk was the opener, they canceled too.
Mark DeWitt – There are many bands that I would not have seen had I read or seen a documentary or biography. Motley Crüe needed a lot of studio help and Kiss needed Bill Aucoin to break out.
Steve Grinczel – Gordon Lightfoot was so hammered (and awful) at WMU’s Miller Auditorium in 1981-ish that he did everyone a favor and walked out on the audience at intermission. Does that count?
Brian Kelly Rampenthal – Aerosmith back in the day! Steven Tyler could barely stand. Alice Cooper at Castle Farms. He was way too wasted! Billy Squier and Microdot made up for it though.
Lance Hendrickson – Coldplay, June 13, 2009, Qwest Center in Omaha. Fine staging, excellent sound, decent arena, but I’d rather have been listening to a septic tank being pumped out. I sawed through, like, 35 minutes before I ran to go find a bar. Uck.
David Winick – I’ve seen Bob Dylan several times over the years. He played at VanAndel Arena about eight years ago. I had to leave during the first set. I couldn’t listen any longer.
Roz Krull-Clayton – Dave Matthews Band, Van Andel Arena, 1998ish. They jammed out every song for over 20 minutes each which made me never want to listen to those songs again.
Gary McCourry – Had to leave a Grover Washington concert once because it was too loud, disappointing because other than that it was fantastic. Also left a very uninteresting Kenny G concert, mainly because a lady behind me kept whistling very piercingly and screaming over and over, “We love you Kenny!” She was worse than any loud concerts I have ever attended.
Kevin Lyons – Bob Dylan
Todd Long – AC/DC at Ford Field. Sound was horrible, so we went to the Tigers game instead.
Mike Pawloski – Gary Myrick and the Figures at Lowell Showboat. Stevie Ray Vaughan opened. First time I had seen him live; three more times after that. Was the only one standing in front of the stage during his performance. In retrospect, walked out more disgusted with the crowd than the performance.
Rick Wilson – Wishbone Ash “blew up” on stage at GVSU Field House in ’74.
Art Griffin – I’ve been to my share of concerts in my life and last Friday’s Kip Moore concert at Monroe Live was my first. Let me preface it by saying I have seen him before and he was fabulous. I just feel like that venue just doesn’t work with loud music very well unless you have a really good sound person.
Jennifer Alexander – Filter at the Orbit Room decades ago. Singer was too wasted to be on stage.
Michael J Vizard – I probably passed you on the stairs leaving Motley Crue, John. (Alice was fun though.)
Chad Michael Wedeven – Domestic Problems, a few years ago at Elevation. The band was fabulous; the crowd and the venue were not. EVERY SINGLE table and stool in the room was reserved, so you could only kinda lean on the wall somewhere. And the crowd was full of part time drinking yuppies who pitched their conversations to drown out the music snd sloshed their beer on my shoes and clothing. I don’t need that in my life, especially post covid.
Daine Hammerle – I walked out of The Pyramid Scheme for one of the Dead Prez shows cause there were sooooooo many locals. Cut my losses and gtfo.
Dave DeHaan – Bad Company opened up for The Jonnies at Rib Fest in Kalamazoo to a few thousand people about 15 years ago, but there were only a couple hundred people left when The Jonnies took the stage because the singer, Ian something, insulted the crowd the minute he started talking. He told the audience that he heard about all the beautiful women in Kalamazoo but then he wondered why none of them were in the audience. Wow!
Lorraine Thibdaue Pickett – Walked out of a KISS concert years ago after the third song.
Robin Connell – KISS. They were pretty new, and the warm-up for Aerosmith. My boyfriend was not happy that he missed the rest of the concert but, between the insane drug use going on around us, and KISS, I couldn’t handle it.
Kathy Grinsteiner – Same about Motley Crue at Van Andel!
Kevin Murphy – Aerosmith in 79 at Wings stadium. Howard Jones in 85.
Diann Neil Engblade – Bob Dylan. This was during his “Slow Train Coming” period. We were at a venue somewhere in Chicago. He barely spoke to the audience except to proselytize. He wouldn’t veer from his Christian songs–which seemed more out of key than usual. The entire concert was an ordeal. We didn’t leave because the other couple that we were with were clearly enjoying the concert. On the way home, we joked about Bob Dylan and made some comment about the quality of the music. After that, our friends seldom spoke to us again. Several years later, another friend told us that the reason they stopped calling us was because we didn’t like the Bob Dylan concert. People take their music very seriously. We walked out on a Gordon Lightfoot concert in about 1989 and a Charlie Daniels concert in 1977. Terrible performances and we weren’t the only people hitting the exits.
Stuart Poltrock – Peter Frampton at Club Eastbrook (?). It was just too darn loud, painfully loud, just stupid loud. I wanted to like the show, but had to walk out.
Ken Evans – Tool show in 2001 at VAA. The band was good, but the vibe two days after 9/11 was already off, the crowds were smashing against the front railing and they had to make multiple announcements to back the crowd off. Then when Maynard made his comments about the USA causing the attacks, the crowd got even angrier and more aggressive. At that point I was out.
Andy Westmoreland – We went to watch The Pretenders open for Stevie Nicks. Thought we’d stay for the main act, but Stevie announced she was going to play B-sides, and some stuff she recorded in Tom Petty’s basement that “never got the airplay it deserved. It was just as terrible as you imagine, and we only managed about three songs.
CT Revere – Screaming Trees at the Reptile House. But I only went across the street so I could listen without my ears bleeding.
Lee Chase – The Patti Smith Group opened for Journey in June of ’78 in Lansing. About half of the crowd split before Journey started. I walked out of a Leon Russell show at a small bar on Division St. maybe 15-20 years ago. It was so painfully loud the music was unintelligible!
Mike Dodge – Ted Nugent at the Civic, 1981 maybe. None of us were fans; we just went for something to do on a weeknight. Krokus opened and we deliberately tried to miss them but did see the last song or too. The sound was horrible (like most Civic shows) and of course the tune(s) was horrible. Then Ted came on. This show was part of his “Intensity in 10 Cities” tour. He had 2-3 other guitarists in the band and the sound was nothing but a horrible blur, you couldn’t tell who was playing what or what the song was half the time. We waited for “Stranglehold” thinking that would be his saving grace. He played it about five tunes into the show, swung on a rope more than he played and then we split. Horrible show, we should’ve just stayed home.
Thomas Leonard Saxe – I was working “front stage” security when Terrible Ted opened (for someone like Foghat, I forget) at GV. My ears were almost bleeding, and I begged my boss to allow me to work backstage. Little did I know it was another tinnitus arrow shot into my helpless eardrums.
John Crissman – I walked out of the same (Motley Crue) show. When he first came out and said, “How are all you mother fuckers doing”? I realized I was in the wrong place. No, I did not buy the tickets.
Rev Charles Preston Smith – It’s been a blast reading all the responses. I had one of those moments where I later had to eat my words … TWICE! Early-mid 80s in my metal head days I was a huge fan of W.A.S.P. After seeing their set, the headliner took the stage and we barely made it through 3-4 songs: METALLICA! Prior to the show, I was part of a record shop in-store for Metallica and reluctantly had them sign an album. I’m sure glad I kept that with the original bass player. Ten years later, a buddy and I went to a tiny club to see what we thought was going to be a ‘scantily clad girl band’ with a hit remake of ‘Sweet Dreams are made of This.’ We walked out of Marilyn Manson after a few songs and later I paid a ridiculous amount to see the same band at Van Andel Arena!
James Reeser Dearborn – We walked out on blues guitarist Roy Buchanan many years ago. The performance was terrible. Mere weeks later he committed suicide. He was obviously dealing with inner demons at the show we attended.
Dean Madonia – Nothing that bad, but I took my wife and son to see the odd pairing of Hall and Oates and Tears For Fears in Detroit a few years ago. My wife is a huge fan of both bands. She bought a Hall and Oates Tee the second we walked in. We watched Tears for Fears (awesome) and then Hall and Oates came on. Daryl looked cool in his shades as he swaggered out onto the stage. Then, for the first few songs, he acted like a spoiled prima donna, angrily gesturing to the monitor mixer about his stage volume. Oates looked miserable and embarrassed onstage. When Daryl phoned in the ad libs on the next few songs, my wife got disgusted with his attitude and we walked out and exchanged her H&O shirt for a Tears For Fears tee instead. She is no longer a fan of H&O.
Bobby Berg – Veterans Park, Milwaukee, Elton John was the surprise concert after a week of celebrating Harley Davidson’s 100th birthday. 75,000 angry bikers walked out.
James Gerard Collins – At Hank III in GR a few years back. My buddy leaned over as they switched singers and said, “I”ll see you outside.” I didn’t really pay attention. A couple songs later, I was out front with him. Great stuff, just not my bag. I wondered why there was so much metal and spikes and such. Also wondered about the mosh pit during the Hank senior part. It was crazy watching kids mosh to Hank Senior though. I was very confused until they switched stuff up. Had no idea, just a friend who said to wait and see.
Bradley Raffenaud – Had to leave but not by choice: Grand Master Flash @ DeVos, sometime around 1984. Show was canceled. They had only sold eight tickets and four of us were teenage punk kids. They stalled to the last minute to see if any walk-ups would be enough to play for … could actually see people peeking from behind the curtain while we sat waiting for the show to start along with four other people scattered in the room. Was disappointing: Poor promoting of the show or GR just wasn’t ready.
Grant Jacobus – I walked out of Mediski Martin and Wood at the State Theater in Kazoo because they would start jamming and get a groove going, then right into space. Then they would get jamming again and get ya body ready to let go and dance then space: Like kissing your sister. Nothing going to really happen, lol.
Jennifer Hunker – Journey at the Van Andel. Heart opened and Ann sounded rough so it didn’t start out awesome. Then when Journey came out and the new guy started screeching out the hits, I couldn’t do it. Walked right out with no regrets.
CT Revere – I also walked out on Robert Glasper at a Tucson Jazz Festival show because it wasn’t what I was expecting. If I had it to do over, I’d have stayed.
Michael Packer – I’ve rarely walked out of a concert. That being said – I DID walk out of a Gentle Giant show. After they performed Foghat played and I just could not stick around for them. Then, when Gentle Giant performed at the Ford Theatre in Detroit they opened for Renaissance. I watched part of their show, then headed backstage, then watched the rest of their show – so that’s kind of walking out. Why I stuck around and watched John Lennon at the “Free John SInclair Rally” is beyond me. He sucked. I also stuck around for Patti Smith, and I don’t know why. She came on about 3 hours late and was so drunk out of her skull she had to hold herself up by the microphone stand and slurred her words throughout. Those are some of my stories and I’m sticking to them (and if you read this far you get the Golden Turkey Award!
Laurie Lacross-Wright – We walked out of a Willie Nelson concert about 20 years ago. He was so stoned his band couldn’t follow him. Very disappointing.
Karen Dunnam – I choose my concerts carefully. But one time, my 250 friends and I were forced to walk out on the OSU marching band. (Third quarter of a football game. Those people see maize & blue band uniforms, lose their minds.)
Ted Jauw – I was the Stage Manager at DeVos so I had to stay, but there were many a night where I was surrounded by angry people wanting refunds. The worst was when George Carlin looked at his GR audience and said, “Oh shit. Polo Shirts.” He launched into a 20-minute screed about White Supremacy and golf while I ran to the backstage with his manager who knew what this meant. I arrived just in time to see George Carlin entering his limo and saying to us, ‘Adios, Motherfuckers!’ I had to return to face the mob but he performed one minute over his ‘set’ requirement and the promoter ate the entire loss. He was hilarious, by the way.
Diann Neil Engblade – I saw George Carlin on homecoming weekend at CMU in 1974. The audience was full. However, half were CMU alumni and parents of current students. When George launched into the seven dirty words bit, most of them left looking pretty angry.
Patrick Ryskamp – Left a DMB concert after 30 minutes because I couldn’t hear the band. All I could hear were a bunch of stoned, off-key, loud fans trying to sing along. It was horrible.
Randy Scott Marsh – Many moons ago in the early ‘70s, I went to a show at the old Kentwood Roll Arena. The headliner was Uriah Heep and the opening band was Dreams, an amazing horn band that had the Brecker brothers and David Sanborn, and Billy Cobham was the drummer. They grooved so hard and played so much funky music I and many others left shortly after Uriah Heep started their set. In comparison they were just loud and not interesting enough to stick around for.
Brian Haik – Worst band I ever witnessed was My Bloody Valentine. I was working at All Points West Music Festival in 2009 and was forced to listened to them. They were terribly loud and feeding back, they couldn’t play their instruments. Just downright terrible. Another time that I couldn’t walk out because I was working the door at Founders Brewing Co. a heavy metal band was booked and people were fleeing as if the building was on fire. Name of the band was not worth remembering.
Julie Mascorro – Almost left John Mellencamp at DeVos because the fans were so rude and kept interrupting. He was good though, from what we could see.
Justin Stover – Me and some friends left a Damien Rice concert early because it was such a bad performance.
Jim Plasman – Marshall Tucker and Diving For Pearls were both horrible. Walked out on both concerts.
Dave Adams – I was working that Motley Crue show, if it was the one they were filming for a DVD release. I could only stomach about five minutes.
Steve Goeddeke – There was a big exodus from Griz band about halfway through their set a couple Electric Forests ago. I didn’t understand because I thought it was a really cool moment where the piano/organ player was really feeling it on a bit of a solo exploration. Guess the kiddos wanted more womp.
AJ Dunning – Walked out of a Malmsteen show in the late 80’s when he announced when launching into Hendrix’s “Spanish Castle Magic,” that “here’s one that my best friend taught me.” Hopefully he saw me flip him off before I turned my back on him to leave.
Ryan Koster – American Hi-Fi is definitely one of the worst bands I’ve seen live. Unfortunately, I was working in the venue and couldn’t really leave.
Charlie Royce – It’s hard to think about how many shows I’ve walked out of, but the vast majority are because of it being too loud or a horrible mix. If I had to post my biggest disappointment it would be a 1990 jazz hit at a hotel in NYC with Les McCann and Eddie Harris. I loved those guys until this concert. It was a 3 90-minute show night so Les thought it would be OK if he ate his chicken dinner at the keyboard. He sang while chewing. Missed half of his licks. Probably greased up the piano keys as well. The band just didn’t care. It killed what should have been a magical night in the city.
Kyle Brown – Can’t say I have, but the closest was Ian Anderson at DeVos a few years back. Ian’s voice is gone and the show involved a lot of pre-recorded video that just didn’t work. Other than that, I’ve stumbled on some bad performances at big festivals. The Dresden Dolls at Rothbury were probably the sloppiest band I’d ever seen.
John Olszewski – Sat in the rain all day waiting for Blue Öyster Cult to come out at Lowell Showboat in the 70s. Only saw their equipment.
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