Perhaps you've heard by now about the "riot" that happened a few days ago in New York surrounding a free concert featuring Drake and Hanson. Weird that there was a riot at a concert featuring two of maybe the blandest performers ever to exist. Weirder still is that Hanson and Drake were even performing together in the first place. What the hell kind of bill is that?
Apparently, it's the kind of bill where, if it's free, a lot of people come. Like, 25,000 people come -- more than twice as many as organizers anticipated. Police got called to break up the crowd, the show got canceled, and a scuffle ensued -- but due, no doubt, to the docility of Drake and Hanson fans, not much came of it (three were hurt, two arrested). Really, that's no riot. If it's a concert riot with some credibility you want, check out our top ten after the jump.
10. Black Sabbath: Milwaukee Early on in the Dio years (1980, to be precise), Black Sabbath played a show in Milwaukee that ended early and descended into pandemonium. First, Geezer Butler gets hit by a beer bottle between songs, to which Ronnie James notes that the "stage is not a trash can. We don't appreciate things being thrown at us." The band then walks off stage, and 10,000 really pissed off fans tear the venue apart.
09. Dead Prez: Olympia, Washington If ever there were a band to riot over, it's probably Dead Prez, the radically socialist, militant rap duo famous for such sentiments as "I'm down for runnin' up on them crackers in they city hall." After cops tried to arrest one concertgoer for fighting another, the Dead Prez boys urged the crowd to "do something about it." They did: One police cruiser was overturned, another damaged.
08. Marilyn Manson: Kansas City, Missouri Marylin Manson got two songs into his 2003 show in K.C. before the barrier between the crowd and the stage collapsed. The concert was stopped for about a half hour while the barrier got put back up, only to collapse again after the next song. At that point, the venue shut down the show. About 2,000 fans rioted and police came to get the crowd out. When they started getting pelted by rocks and beer bottles full of piss, they busted out the pepper spray.
07. Iron Maiden: Bogota, Colombia When fans tried to crash the gates at Simon Bolivar park to see the Maiden in 2009, the riot police got called in to stop it. In total, 111 people were arrested, and one cop was injured to the point that he required facial reconstructive surgery. The city was so upset about it, officials considered a ban on heavy metal concerts there. Maybe they should have?
06. Metallica: Bogota, Columbia ...Because heavy metal fans in Bogota apparently do not fuck around. Almost exactly a year later, at the same venue, police deployed 1,500 officers -- and four fucking tanks, for heaven's sake -- to crush the rumored insurgency of gate-crashers. It wasn't enough. Fans outside the venue rioted, resulting in 160 people arrested, thousands of dollars in property damage, and one guy who got stabbed in the hand.
05. Red Hot Chili Peppers: Woodstock '99 To be fair, the Chili Peppers didn't have a whole lot to do with the pandemonium that took place on the closing afternoon of Woodstock '99 -- blame that on the concert promoters, who not only were charging $4 for a bottle of water and $12 for a slice of pizza at the 3-day festival, but were also frisking concertgoers on their way in to make sure nobody brought in any food or water. MTV's Kurt Loder later described the scene as "like a concentration camp." Did we mention the lack of toilets? After two and a half days, enraged fans basically razed the place, looting vendor booths, destroying infrastructure, setting a huge audio tower on fire and perpetrating at least four rapes.
04. Guns 'n' Roses: Maryland Heights, MO On the Use Your Illusion tour in 1991, Axl Rose got upset about a fan taking pictures of the show. So upset, in fact, that he was compelled to leap from the stage and tackle said fan. Security pulled him off, and when he returned to the stage, Rose said, "I'm going home," and then he threw his mike to the floor and walked off stage. Fans rioted, leaving dozens of fans injured and Rose charged with inciting a riot (he wasn't convicted).
03. Guns 'n' Roses and Metallica: Montreal Metallica's set gets cut short when a pyrotechnics explosion gone awry seriously injures James Hetfield. This really makes Axl Rose -- who apparently hadn't learned any lesson from Maryland Heights the year previous -- look like a serious pansy for walking off stage during the very next set complaining of "vocal problems." Sigh. Rioters smashed stadium windows, burned a car and looted a souvenir shop before police could quell the uprising.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
02. The Who: Cincinnati Though the show was not scheduled until 8 p.m., the crowd started gathering in the early afternoon for the Who show at Cincinnati's Riverfront Coliseum, in part because of the first-come, first-serve seating policy there. Fans pressed on each other so hard, one guy actually busted through a plate glass window from the pressure, and when the doors opened shortly after, the stampede that ensued left eleven crushed to death.
01. The Rolling Stones: Altamont The granddaddy of all concert riots. Accounts differ as to whether or not the Hell's Angels were actually hired to do "security" for what was supposed to be the "Woodstock of the West," held just four months after that seminal concert -- but it's a fact that the Angels were paid to be there (in beer). By late afternoon, violence between the drug-addled crowd and Angels had grown so intense that Marty Balin of Jefferson Airplane actually got punched in the head during the set, which led the Grateful Dead to refuse to play.
But the pivotal moment came during the Rolling Stones' headlining set, when a fan who had climbed onstage pulled a gun on the Angels, who stabbed him five times and then kicked him to death. Meanwhile, two fans were killed in a hit-and-run car accident, one drowned in an irrigation canal and 850 were reportedly injured.