The Worst Concert Rip-Offs We've Ever Seen

Categories: All In, Live Shots

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On this day in 1978, the rapidly disintegrating Sex Pistols finally fell apart for good. Conveniently enough, they did it onstage at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom, on the final night of the ill-fated U.S. tour that also lurched its way through San Antonio and Dallas.

That night, Johnny Rotten signed off with the line, "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated? Good night." So in that spirit, Rocks Off decided to ask our staff the most ripped-off they've ever felt after a concert. Thanks to Pete Vonder Haar for the idea.

Chris Gray: It feels blasphemous to even think about, let alone type, but I think I'm going to have to go with The Rolling Stones on this one. I've seen the Stones three times. The first time, San Antonio in 1994, was a literal Road to Damascus experience. I went in a virginal 19-year-old classical musician, wet behind the ears and almost totally ignorant of the devilish pleasures of rock and roll, and left ready to slam a fifth of Jack and spike up a speedball. More or less.

The second time I wasn't so lucky.

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This was 1997 at the Texas Motor Speedway outside Fort Worth. It was an atrocious concert venue. The stage was set up in the infield, just far enough away from the bleachers for the sound to almost completely dissipate before reaching the crowd. But it wasn't all the racetrack's fault, either. The Stones were touring on their biggest dog since Dirty Work, Bridges to Babylon, and they played like it: Listless, out of sorts, and flat. It put me off the band for months, if not years.

I hadn't even fully recovered when the third time rolled around, Austin's Zilker Park in 2006. I just went because I could walk to Zilker from my apartment, and a bunch of friends were going. And, naturally, the Stones were incredible. Better than San Antonio - maybe - but either way, they restored my faith and then some, and I've been a faithful worshipper in the church of Mick & Keef (and Charlie) ever since.


Neph Basedow: Sadly, this one's easy for me. When I saved up months of allowances as a seventeen-year-old to get to Chicago to see the Smashing Pumpkins' Farewell Show at the Metro, I didn't know that just a few years later, Billy Corgan would spin into a deluded mid-life crisis and reunite some impostor version of the band with faux members. Although I wholeheartedly feel the true Pumpkins disbanded that evening in December 2000, I've never felt more cheated years after a show.

My close-second, although it was an amazing show, would have to be last year, when I bought tickets the very-second they went on sale to see what we'd been led to believe would be Pavement's first show since their reunion, in Central Park. I had those tickets for a year in advance, and in the months leading up to the fall show, they slowly announced shows before the CP gig, including headlining slots at summer's Pitchfork and Sasquatch Festivals.


John Seaborn Gray: Actually, I think I'm lucky enough to have never been to a really bad show. At Willie Nelson's picnic in 2003, Billy Bob Thornton's pre-Boxmasters band was miserable, but the rest of the concert was great. You remember, you were there.


Craig Hlavaty: I suppose I felt cheated at the last John Mayer show I covered in March 2010. Not because I was at a John Mayer show, because being a male fan of his is its own reward and I wanted to see him live again. No, I felt cheated because I spent weeks getting a campaign together on Twitter and Facebook to get Mayer to sing "Hlavaty Is A Wonderland" instead of "Your Body Is A Wonderland."

He never did sing my version of "Wonderland" and that was a kick in the balls more painful than the one I felt months before when I related to a few songs on Heartbreak Warfare.

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18 comments
Betty
Betty

Musical Scam Claiming to be Christian!  Keith Barkley/Cherith Music Group

We entered into an agreement with Keith Barkley in which he would record 6 songs a month to complete a project of literally hundreds of songs that we have written. In the beginning he said he LOVED our music and that GOD had TOLD HIM to work with us to record it all. We were to pay him $360 a month every month until they were all finished. In the agreement we were supposed to APPROVE his work before accepting it as the FINAL MASTER. This man took 7 months to even start to finish the 12 songs that the agreement stated he needed to finish in 2 months plus he changed the melody lines of our music, did not do the music correctly, he was THE WORST person we have ever worked with musically EVER! He is ATE up with PRIDE so much that he does not even hear what the client wants he thinks everything he wants to do is "THE GOSPEL"! When we told him about the changes he was making he FORCED the changes on us basically by NEVER doing what we asked him to do, but only lingering it out so long until we got so frustrated that he was NEVER getting done that we had to take what we could get for the money we had given him. We wisened up by the 2nd month to what was happening and backed out of doing any more songs with him but then he even took longer since we were not part of his monthly meal ticket anymore. When I finally demanded he finish the work (7 months later) he put us down, told me that I had demon spirits and put our music down saying it was not good and TACKED GOD ON IT of course! I guess GOD must have changed his mind from the beginning about Keith Loving our music and about it being HIS CALLING to work with our music. :) This man is a POOR EXCUSE of a Christian and HORRIBLE Business owner! He does NOT care what the client desires, only what he wants to do. He even told my husband that out of all of the years of recording that he has NEVER been wrong about anything! When he finally sent us the project, one song is so bad we can not even use it and he sent one song without any vocals on it at all. Plus after he started getting the monthly payment even though he had not finished the months songs before, he started demanding payment for the next month when he had shoved our project on the back burner as he was taking many more projects to support his "ministry and his family". So what he is doing is taking tons of work demanding money upfront and not finishing the work in a timely manner and not producing the music in the way it was written. Plus he charges to be on his music label or to be affliated with his Music Group. So anyone that charges for things like that is a Scammer! DO NOT HIRE HIM FOR YOUR PROJECT!

Elizabeth Booth
Elizabeth Booth

Man you guys suck ripping on the Crue like that and not even mentioning Nikki Sixx! Ya'll should really go fuck yourselves. You OBVIOUSLY don't know an awesome time if it bites you in the ass. There are people who would give their lives for the chance to see Motley Crue live. I hope Nikki comes and rips your balls off while you sleep!!!! I will never read this publication again EVER!!!! I mean come on you do interviews with Nikki and talk about how awesome the Crue is on several pages and then this. This is backhanded and fucked up!!

Drozy
Drozy

I went and saw The Motorhead/Rev. Horton Heat/Nashville Pussy show at Warehouse Live in 2009. They made everyone get searched and made anyone who had a cigarette lighter throw them away. (Or get out of the long line, walk back to your car and put it away) The venue was packed to the hilt where you could not even stand comfortably in the back without bumping into someone. To go to the bathroom or to the bar to get a drink was a hassle of walking and bumping your way through people. The main bad thing is the sound absolutely SUCKED. All three bands sounded like they were playing in a garbage can. This was on the main stage, big room. I saw some bands play on the smaller venue before and it was okay. Then me and a friend started talking about it and we were remembering our days of working in a "warehouse" and how your voice and noises would always echo. A "warehouse" is the worst possible place for sound quality which is why I will never go see another band play here again. Meridian down the road sounds 100%+ better. Edit Remove

ashley
ashley

i would have to say the common and biz markie concert last year @ warehouse live.

ddb
ddb

@Neph: From all I've heard (and the little footage I've seen), SP's final 2000 Metro gig was absolutely incendiary and incredible. Did you feel ripped off the night after, or was it only in 2005 when Billy announced the band's impending reunion?

This begs the question: is the experience of the concert itself unimportant, just as long as you truly get "the first" or "the last"? If so, that is REALLY weird...

rob
rob

This has to be the most disastrous gig in Houston, ever. I was lucky enough to see Two Gallants at Mary Jane's and Walter's, to crowds of 20 or less, before the second time they came to Walter's. I was happy to see that the band was gaining a lot of new fans, as the place was packed. I was a big fan of theirs at the time and brought a couple of friends who had not seen them before. I think they got 4 songs in before the rogue cop decided to jump on stage, mid song. Him and the guitarist exchanged a few words before, all of a sudden, the pig threw him to the ground. The drummer jumped on the cop, and that's when it turned into a melee. I was at the stage and had a front row seat for this whole ordeal. I decided to get the hell out of there cuz i had some not-so-legal party favors on me, and i don't like jail. I assumed they did something pretty bad to get a cop to interrupt the show like that. Come to find out later, it was over a noise complaint, and several people were tasered (including a 14 year old). I couldn't understand why the cop didn't go to the sound guy instead of the band. I felt like I was in the 1950's. Oh and I totally agree with the Flaming Lips. I was so excited to see them for the first time at ACL '06, to be completely disappointed. Wayne talked through most of the show, and they just didn't sound that great. I guess I just prefer music to confetti.

rogerscorpion
rogerscorpion

I don't consider a bad performance, for instance, the Billy Bob Thornton band mentioned, to be a rip-off--especially, since the rest of the show was so good. To me, a rip-off is when you expect great things from THAT band (& go for them) & they suck.

ep
ep

The Roots at #'s . Aside from coming on late like every hip show and having a sorry ass opening line up. The first two songs were bad ass. All the prior bull shit was forgiven. Then Black Thought acted like a total jerk asking everyone to turn off their cigarettes and for the club to open all of the doors before they would go back on because the smoke was bothering him.. The whole band left and only the bass player at the time stayed on stage playing alone for a short time. then he left. I waited for about an hour before i left and don't know if they ever came back on. Their music is cool but fuck them.

steve
steve

was no one at MGMT?

Chuck
Chuck

Sometimes I wonder who your target market is at H.P.?

Cherith
Cherith

Attention to everyone reading this post.  DO NOT take Charlie and Gina Jones as a client for recording.  They are the people who have made this complaint and EVERYTHING they have said is 100% FALSE.  I have e-mail proof with dates and times where they approved the work I have done.  They also failed to read their contract that states that the deposit is non-refundable.  They were also told that their music needed some work to make it much better.  We did NOT say we LOVED their music.  We told them that we did feel that God told us to call them because we could HELP them.  I also have the email proof of that.  They were also given a cut rate for the work which was far below the normal rate due to their financial situation.  It boils down to the fact they wanted to find something wrong with anything they could to avoid paying for the services rendered.

They also had a separation in their marriage that resulted in they delay of the total project which I have email proof once again to back that up.  Due to that separation, Gina herself in a email that I have told me to take all the time that was necessary to get the work done.  She even told me to scratch one of the songs we had most of the way finished and had spent a lot of time on, and put another one in it's place.  We did that for her and even  wrote the music for her and she LOVED it and we have the email to prove that as well.  The song she wanted to scratch was one of her husband's songs that she herself said she had told Charlie she never did like and it wasn't that great of a song.  She was defaming him all over Facebook and then all of the sudden she takes him back and they start their bologna like nothing ever happened.

They are the only clients that have EVER said they were not pleased with our work.  They even made comments that they have even been in the "Nashville" scene.  Well, I know some of that Nashville crowd and the few names they gave me that they knew, when contacted did not know who they were. 

I have a BIG list of people who are TOTALLY satisfied with our work.  The problem with Charlie and Gina Jones are that THEY are prideful, egotistical, people who think they are God's gift top songwriting and have no reason to be.  The reason for their separation is that her husband has a problem with pornography, and has had for years.  And from what has been posted on Facebook, we do not have time or space to talk about Gina's problems.  It has always been said that when you expose demon spirits for who and what they are, they will rare up on you and this occasion is NO exception.  When you allow sin of any kind to enter into your life, sin is also what you spout out.  She is trying to pray for physical healing with the same mouth that she is casting stones with and God WILL NOT answer her prayers for healing.

We at Cherith have a great reputation in several states with our clients.  If you want to bring trouble into your business as well as stress, than Charlie and Gina Jones are CERTAINLY the clients for you.  If not, then certainly STAY CLEAR of these people.

Neph Basedow
Neph Basedow

ddb, you're absolutely right; the Metro show was phenomenal. And incredibly intimate/emotional for such big fans. I didn't AT ALL feel ripped off after the show; it was only until Billy resurrected the band that I (along with others in attendance with whom I've spoken) felt cheated. Pissed. Like that experience we fans shared with the band/Billy suddenly meant less (to Billy). I still cherish the entire experience (I don't consider it unimportant), but do wonder why BC even wasted his time and energy having the show if he was just going to recycle the band name/image a few years down the road.

Tommy
Tommy

Spot on review...what you DONT know is, as soon as Black Thought left the stage complaining about the smoke, he fired up a HUGE spliff outside and smoked it himself...I know this because I worked there...

And while we're at it, add KRS-One to the list at Meridian about a year and a half ago...We listened to M1 from Dead Prez talk trash for maybe 3 hours till about 1:45 am and called it quits so I dont know if KRS ever actually came on or not...

Oh, and there was that Geto Boys reunion show at Warehouse live...Bushwick Bill was so drunk he vomited on the stage...

TJ
TJ

Dead on review ep! I was there and VERY disappointed in their performance and their lame ass attitude about the club and the smoke etc... I tried to shake hands with Cody Chestnutt backstage (the guy that sang on "The Seed 6.0") and he wouldn't shake my hand; instead he covered his mouth and shook his head in disapproval because I was holding a cigarette. He was standing around trying to look important with his bell bottoms and feather pimp hat like he was Superfly or something. Where is he now? Those guys try, but will NEVER come anywhere close to being as cool A Tribe Called Quest.

steve
steve

unfortunately i got there right when they ended.

Guest
Guest

Well put. It sounds like most of you got what you deserved. Motley Crue? Man, I'm so tired of reading how "rock 'n' roll" the staff of this rag is when it praises the worst shit to high Heaven. Your shtick has been old for a while.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Wow, that sounds so utterly lame. They are performing in a club. With all the booze and drugs going around, they get worked up by cigarette smoke. Talk about unprofessional.

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