On Tuesday, Lenny Kravitz took his turn at dominating the Internet, and in a way he probably hadn’t hoped for, mainly because that way was his Mr. Cab Driver popping out of his trousers during a show in Sweden. For a musician, onstage fails are an unfortunate job hazard that sometimes just can’t be avoided. Just like a carpenter is going to occasionally catch a finger with a hammer, or a doctor is going to lose a scalpel in someone’s appendix – sh*t happens sometimes. Musicians play hundreds of shows a year. The odds are greatly stacked against them making it through unscathed, free of embarrassing incidents and the ensuing Internet scorn.
You are not alone, Lenny. You have friends here, and no, I’m not just talking about Steven Tyler. Although he would be classified as more of an admirer than a friend. These friends have fallen onstage, they’ve gotten sick onstage, they’ve exposed themselves onstage, they’ve done stuff we didn’t even think was possible onstage. There are incidents that range from Dude, it’s all good. You’re totally going to live this one down to Yeah, that one is going to stick with you forever. Lenny’s #PenisGate incident probably lives in the middle, somewhere in the vicinity of I’d say that will follow you for a year or two and then everyone will forget.
Here are some other infamous onstage fails.
The Stage Divers
You’ve got to stick the landing, son! Haven’t you watched Olympic gymnastics? The landing is EVERYTHING. But Vic Mensa, performing at Lollapalooza this year, very much did not stick the landing during his performance.
And let’s not even wonder where the hell he is coming from in this clip. Let’s do Vic a solid and focus on the positives – good recovery, good effort. Just be careful next time, Vic.
Was Method Man kicking it in the green room, smoking a blunt and watching PCU before the show?
We’ll never know. But regardless where the idea came from, Meth failed to effectively communicate his intentions with the other party here. So, as a result, his stage dive ended not on the friendly landing strip of out-stretched hands, but the incredibly less-friendly venue floor. On the plus side for Method Man? I’ve heard marijuana is great for aches and pains. And he definitely had one or two after this move.
From the stage dive handbook:
“Before conducting a stage dive, a stage diver should first effectively gauge the distance they intend to jump so as to ensure they will be able to successfully make the jump, not hurting any spectators in the process. If upon surmising and estimating the intended distance, the stage diver determines it to be too far, they should refrain from conducting the jump and/or chose a more suitable landing spot.”
Miguel, who was performing at the Billboard Music Awards in 2013, either skipped this part of the handbook or grossly overestimated his ability to leap a great distance.
Miguel, you did a Hulk Hogan leg drop on that poor woman! That’s not cool. Miguel, you’re supposed to be cool. A guy doesn’t release an album with this as the cover if he does not think he’s cool. Ninja-kicking an audience member is super not cool, Miguel. Do yourself and the audience a favor and read the handbook next time.
The Puke Crew
Oh, Justin Bieber. I’d say puking on stage would be a career low for you, but that would involve some selective memory.
The poor crowd at Bieber’s 2012 concert in Phoenix are in the lucky position of forever having the image of their beloved Biebs throwing up onstage in their memory. Even the most passionate Belieber would have to admit they weren’t exactly thrilled to see their beloved Justin go out like that.
I’d say this one is up for debate. Did Lady Gaga mean to throw up on stage? I feel like an argument could be made that, yeah, maybe. Watch the clip. She kind of works throwing up seamlessly into her performance.
And it’s not like adding a quick up-chuck is below Gaga’s standards of what is and isn’t acceptable on stage behavior. I’m of the opinion that it was not part of the choreography. But I am also of the opinion that if anyone was going to incorporate throwing up into a dance routine, it’d be Lady Gaga. So, yeah, ultimately undecided on this one.
Yes, sir. Not even Beyonce is immune to the looming dangers of onstage embarrassment. Way back in 2007, before she had effectively taken over the human race, Beyonce was performing in Orlando when a lethal combination of stairs and a long dress got the best of her, causing her to straight-up faceplant mid-song.
I watch this video, and all I can think about is falling off a bar stool in Denver and my cousin loudly yelling “dinger, you took a dinger!” for the next hour. It’s refreshing to know that there is at least one thing Beyonce and I have in common. That’s at least some proof that she’s human.
The bass player for Nirvana had the kind of stage presence usually reserved for large trees blowing in the wind. But, you know, we all get caught up in the moment every once in a while, which seems to have been the case for Mr. Novoselic at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards.
For all we know, Novoselic had tossed his bass up in the air and caught it hundreds of times. But the bugaboo here is that all of those successful bass tosses weren’t caught on camera and didn’t take place during a MTV event that was a legitimate cultural event.
Kings of Leon
Does a bruised ego count? You bet it does. It’s one thing for fans to throw things at you, but when pigeons are throwing things at you, and by “throwing things at you,” I mean raining feces down upon you, you know you have a problem.
Kings of Leon had this problem at a show in St. Louis in 2010. High above the stage at the outdoor venue, the peaceful Midwest sky was occupied not just by stars, but pigeons. Pigeons apparently do not care much for the Kings, and responded with the kind of class usually reserved for riled-up soccer fans. One pigeon has some serious aim, though, hitting bassist Jared Followill in the mouth. Hold on, I’m going to be sick. Might need to pull a Bieber real quick.
The… Well, We Don’t Have Anything To Add Here
The password is nipple. The act in question is Nipplegate. Should we really been surprised when this happened? Right before Justin Timberlake exposed Jackson’s nipple during the halftime show of 2004 Super Bowl, he said, and I quote: “I’m gonna have you naked by the end of this song.” And that’s exactly what he did.
Well, kind of. He started. Jackson’s reputation was damaged, the FCC threw around fines and new restrictions, and Timberlake, well, he kind of got off scot-free. Call me crazy, but that doesn’t seem entirely fair.
Spears’ performance at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards was slated to be her big comeback performance. She had spent the past few years wandering in the wilderness in the outskirts of crazy town, and now she was back! Or least she was supposed to be back. It didn’t quite go according to plan.
Spears walks through the performance like I walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night, completely disorientated and confused. She eventually rebounded, but the stink of this one stuck around for a couple years.
Yikes. This one is still embarrassing.
Simpson was a fresh-faced newcomer, the younger sister of Jessica Simpson, and her 2004 appearance on Saturday Night Live was going to really establish her as an up-and-coming artist. Slight issue, though: If you’re going to lip-sync, have your cue game on fleek! Simpson’s cue game wasn’t, and the end result was an embarrassed young lady doing some sort of jig onstage, something no one wants to see. Like, ever.