Musicians Who Stormed Off Stage During Live Performances

"The show must go on" is a fantastic Queen song but a difficult motto to follow. Sometimes the show can't go on for technical reasons. Other times something upsets a performer so much that they say, "The show must go to hell" before storming off stage like a bat out of that very same hell. Whatever the explanation, some pretty high-profile musicians have spread their bat wings and flapped away right in the middle of live performances. Some of them didn't even wait until the middle.

While there are plenty of reasonable grounds for these musicians to vanish like indignant magicians, there are plenty of bogus ones, too. Regardless, audience members may feel tricked into spending their hard-earned money on tickets, traveling long distances, or waiting hours in line to hear half a song and a whole lot of disappointment. As if taking their cue from the flighty performer, those disgruntled concertgoers sometimes go batty and raise hell themselves. Here are some of the many cases where musicians took the stage and then took off.

Welcome to the mumble

Hockey fans probably know Montreal as the city where overzealous revelers started fires after the Canadiens knocked Boston Bruins out of the NHL playoffs in 2008. But in 1992, flaming mayhem ensued after a concert co-headlined by Metallica and Guns N' Roses, a band notorious for triggering riots. As the Montreal Gazette described, Metallica frontman James Hetfield was "seared to the bone" in a pyrotechnic mishap, and went to the hospital. Metallica had to call it a night far earlier than planned, so Guns N' Roses could either start their set early or make the already bummed-out crowd wait. They made the crowd wait ... for over two hours.

Guns N' Roses' notoriously thorny vocalist Axl Rose didn't want to be there. He reportedly thought cities that started with 'M' brought "bad juju." (If so, Hetfield's accident probably reinforced that fear). Rose also had issues with the equipment, but didn't ask for a roadie's help. While singing, Rose acted like an Ax-hole and "kept muttering into his mic." After nine songs — all of which probably sounded like "Welcome to the Mumble" — he abruptly exited the stage, no doubt wishing someone would take him down to the Paradise City. His bandmates were bewildered but rightly surmised that Rose wouldn't return. So they left, too. Outraged concertgoers tried to bring Montreal to its shun-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n knees. According to Vice, an estimated 10,000 people rioted. Looting and bonfires abounded, and people overturned police cars.

Baby, I loathe your way

English singer-songwriter Peter Frampton has probably given a lot of people ear-gasms over the years with romantic classics like "Baby, I Love Your Way," "Show Me the Way," and the suggestively titled, "I'm in You." His much-beloved 1976 album, Frampton Comes Alive, rocketed up the charts to become "the best-selling album of all time" before the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack surpassed it, per Rolling Stone. People cherish Frampton Comes Alive so much that a copy of the album briefly upstaged the actual live Frampton. He didn't take it well.

In 2017 Frampton made ear-love to an audience at Treasure Island Resort and Casino in Red Wing, Minn. However, a cameraman ruined his mood by filming a member of the crowd. As the Star Tribune detailed, a woman held up a copy of Frampton Comes Alive, which showed up on the video screens. The roughly 8,000-person crowd unleashed roars of approval, interrupting Frampton's guitar solo. Then the camera focused on the woman's copy of "I'm in You." A visibly vexed Frampton "leaned his face into the camera and let out a two-word expletive." According to one eyewitness, the fuming musician got into "camera tug-of-war" with the cameraman before leaving the stage. Then the video screens went black. A casino spokesperson confirmed that the singer did return to the stage after having the screens shut off completely, even throwing in an encore song to boot.

Puddle of Mad

The lyrics to Puddle of Mudd's 2001 single "Control" read like a rough draft of 50 Shades of Gray: the Musical. There's a bunch of butt-smacking, being chained to a bed, and an unhealthy-sounding romantic dynamic premised on dominating one's mate. So it's a tad ironic that vocalist Wes Scantlin, who co-wrote the song, has a love affair with handcuffs that seems to be built on a lack of self-control. Scantlin's been arrested for a variety of erratic shenanigans, including attacking a neighbor's patio with a buzz saw, "taking a 'joyride' on an oversized luggage carousel" at Denver International Airport, and vandalizing a home he previously owned, per NME. In 2016 he had "a dramatic two-hour standoff" with more than 30 police officers during which Scantlin brandished a rifle.

That same year, Scantlin also had a one-sided showdown at a show in Ohio. Things were going surprisingly handcuff-free when the Puddle of Mudd frontman halted mid-gig to spew profanities at a random man in the crowd, whom he accused of the hard-to-commit crime of stealing Scantlin's house. Then the angry singer walked away. In 2017 he stormed off again while performing "She Hates Me" in Dallas. Scantlin glared at drummer Dave Moreno and said, "David, why?" before leaving in a huff. Clearly the man needs help, and we hope he gets it.

Cuckoo for 'Coco'

Lil Wayne "stands just five-foot-six in sneakers," according to Interview Magazine, but he reached great heights by standing on the shoulders of his giant brain. A straight-A student, he established himself as a grade-A rapper at age 12. He nearly blew it all to hell when he accidentally shot himself in the chest but thankfully survived, thrived, and declared to the world, "I think you stand under me if you don't understand me." And if he can't stand you he might stomp you lyrically, or at least stomp away from you mid-concert.

In 2015, the rapper verbally curb-stomped his former record label Cash Money and its owner, Birdman, who discovered and mentored Wayne. Rolling Stone reported that Wayne sued for $51 million — presumably in cash — because the company allegedly withheld money from him. He also roasted Birdman and co. in the song "Coco (Freestyle)." Some of his verbal burns reached biblical proportions, most notably, "No more am I my brother's keeper — Cain and Abel" and "The day you met me is the day Hell froze / On the day I left is when it thawed out." Wayne wanted to perform "Coco (Freestyle)" during a gig at Nova Southeastern University, but the DJ accidentally played the O.T. Genasis track, "Coco." The rapper responded with great vengeance and furious anger, cursing at the DJ and chucking his microphone before running off stage.

We're all stars now in the nope show

Marilyn Manson's gimmick seems meticulously designed to create conflicting feelings in a public that puts people in neat categories. He needles mainstream society, subverting its idols with album titles like Antichrist Superstar, and album covers like the one for Mechanical Animals, which features Manson "as a naked androgynous alien." He mocked the image-driven fickleness of fame in songs like "The Dope Show," while simultaneously gaining fame for a carefully constructed anti-aesthetic. But while his persona feeds off psychological discomfort, sometimes the person underneath has peaked through under duress, creating unplanned tension during shows, dope or otherwise.

In 1999, Manson abandoned a show after discovering someone placed a smiley face on a stage prop. Per the Associated Press, the goth rocker angrily rushed off stage. Unruly concertgoers "swarmed Manson's tour bus," fought police officers, and committed trespassing, leading to 23 arrests. Fast-forward to 2018. Manson was on the mend after a different prop-related incident. As the Hollywood Reporter explained, a gun-shaped prop fell on him, fracturing his leg in two places. He was still wearing a cast when he returned to the stage months later. However, Manson unexpectedly left that stage after "only a few songs" because he felt the fans weren't "showing him enough love," according to People. He kept demanding applause and seemed incoherent. Many in the crowd felt cheated while others understandably worried about his health.

Do you have the time to listen to him whine?

It takes confidence for a band to name their debut album for a major label Dookie, and in 1994 Green Day was full of it — confidence, not excrement. Despite its name, Dookie doesn't stink. If fact, it propelled Green Day to superstardom, thanks to stellar songs like "Basket Case," which explored frontman Billie Joe Armstrong's struggles with bisexuality. The track's angst-filled lines portray Armstrong as "one of those melodramatic fools" who's full of neuroroses and amusingly asks, "Am I just paranoid or am I just stoned?"

Nearly 20 years after Green Day released Dookie, the band was full of even more confidence, and Billie Joe Armstrong once again left us wondering whether he was paranoid or just stoned. The confusion surrounded an onstage eruption at the 2012 iHeartRadio festival in Las Vegas. Per the Guardian, Green Day started their set after Usher, whose performance ran too long. Armstrong seemed to think the band's time was cut as a result because when a digital signal indicated that Green Day only had a minute left to play, the singer flipped out. After basically calling the band's time allotment a load of, well... dookie, "Armstrong and his bandmates then trashed their guitars, storming off stage." Later the singer denied that the slot had been shortened and blamed his destructive outrage on drug and alcohol abuse.

One not-so-sweet day

Mariah Carey has compared herself to the prim and proper Mary Poppins, and we kind of agree with her. Though she doesn't travel via magical umbrella, her voice is like a spoonful of sugar. That dynamic voice made Carey a megastar among megastars. She probably has more hits to her name than some professional boxers, and as of this writing, she has the most no. 1 debuts in Billboard Hot 100 history (three). So when ABC wanted a musical heavy hitter for Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest in 2016, Carey seemed like a sure bet — probably the surest bet — to knock it out of the park. Unfortunately, technical difficulties rained on Carey's parade, and she didn't have a magical umbrella.

As CNN described, Mary Poppins Carey "belted out 'Auld Lang Syne.' Then her act started to unwind." When she tried to sing her Grammy Award-winning hit "Emotions," she couldn't hit the right notes, and seemed to be at a loss for lyrics. Bad emotions followed as the exasperated singer explained that a proper sound check hadn't been conducted. Equipment problems reduced her to dancing in small bursts and seemingly trying not to explode. A third song brought another malfunction, so Carey walked off, and ABC kicked off 2017 by dropping the ball twice.

And after all, you're my wonder walkout

Everything about the band Oasis sounded like the opposite of a place of refuge or relief — save for its name and maybe the song "Wonderwall," which, after all, is "about an imaginary friend who's gonna come and save you from yourself," according to guitarist/songwriter Noel Gallagher. If that friend existed, maybe they would have been the one to save Noel from his brother, lead singer Liam Gallagher, who infamously bashed Noel on the head with a tambourine mid-concert. The brothers often fought, and Liam clashed with everyone, including — and perhaps especially — the fans at concerts.

Liam has walked out on shows more times than we can count. One of those times led to violent revolt in Glasgow in 1997. Per the Herald, the band had just finished playing "Wonderwall" when someone lobbed a bottle, hitting bassist Paul ”Bonehead” Arthurs and prompting the band to storm off. Enraged fans stormed onto the stage and broke windows. In 2000, Liam pissed off Swiss fans at a festival in Nyon. The Guardian reported the singer hurled insults at the crowd, and the suddenly not-so-neutral Swiss hurled bottles and cans. So, Oasis took "a brief break," only to return, then leave for good after two more songs. In 2017 a post-Oasis Liam bailed on a concert again, blaming unspecified voice problems. However, many assumed he'd reacted to a pro-Noel Gallagher sign in the crowd. Hoping to save the performance, fans reportedly chanted, "F*** Noel."

Sorry, Mr. West is gone

Psychologists disagree on whether mental illness is a key ingredient of genius, but some studies and anecdotal evidence suggest a link. And while we don't know if Kanye West is a genius in a traditional sense, his sensational music proves his artistic IQ is through the roof. A man of many extremes, West struggles with bipolar disorder, and is a polarizing figure. He litters songs with strong contrasts and contradictions, whether he's ironically rapping about black skinheads or "[cooking] up summer in the winter." He accused President George W. Bush of not caring about black people but later somewhat backpedaled. He even claimed slavery "sounds like a choice." West gives show-stopping performances but also stops shows to go on off-the-wall tirades.

Across West's ebbs and flows there have been two constants: Beyoncé and the MTV Video Music Awards. In 2009, he infamously interrupted Taylor Swift as she was accepting the MTV award for Best Female Video. West then declared that Beyoncé deserved to win. And in 2016, West interrupted himself during a concert in Sacramento. He had gotten through two songs, according to the Sacramento Bee, before he began criticizing Hilary Clinton. He also accused Beyoncé of pulling strings to win the 2016 MTV award for video of the year — for which West was also nominated — and implored her husband Jay-Z not to have him assassinated. Afterward he stormed off stage. The concert ended after 30 minutes.

Break on through (to the other side of the stage)

Jim Morrison: tumultuous poet, musical Dionysus, and the guy who allegedly tricked Rick James into taking LSD. A hypnotic rock Adonis, the Doors vocalist owned every stage he set foot on. But he wasn't just a photogenic showman. For Morrison, performances were "experiment[s] in mass provocation, resulting in scenes of illumination and chaos," according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The man who would be lizard king said in a bio, "I am interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos — especially activity that seems to have no meaning. It seems to be the road toward freedom..." (Morrison briefly lost his freedom in 1969 when police arrested him for exposing himself on stage).

When Morrison sang, "Break On Through (To the Other Side)," he wanted listeners to shatter boundaries and inhibitions. But he "broke through" in a different way on December 12, 1970, the night of his final live performance, which he cut short. Technically, Morrison didn't storm off stage — he stormed through it. Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek claimed that Morrison's "spirit" exited his body. When it reentered, the singer reportedly smashed a hole in the stage with his mic stand. Citing a Johnny Depp-narrated documentary, wrote that people who recall that stage-busting outburst say it happened just before Morrison sat down and stayed down. That was the end, our dearest friend.

The minor talk and the major rift

If you're familiar with Rufus Wainwright, you probably know he sang a lovely cover of "Hallelujah" for the Shrek soundtrack, and he wears his politics on his sleeve. Wainwright uses his music in fundraising efforts to oppose Republican politicians and makes politically charged songs like "Going to a Town," which contains the line "I'm so tired of you, America" and was described by Cavalier Daily as a "lacerating 2007 critique of the George W. Bush administration." Wainwright later used the song "as an implicit critique of Trump." So when he performed it with the Minnesota Orchestra in December 2017, the audience likely wasn't surprised that he slammed a GOP vote on tax legislation, remarking, "We have to fight for this country."

This unpleasantly surprised Manny Laureano, the orchestra's chief trumpeter. Laureano later wrote in a blog post that he knew practically nothing about Wainwright and thought he "sounded like a one-hit wonder with a following." The Star Tribune reported that the upset trumpeter "conspicuously" stood, "swung his arm in an exasperated gesture, put his horn down and walked off." Laureano called this characterization an exaggeration but acknowledged leaving in protest. He considered Wainwright "angry" and "self-indulgent" and deemed his comments unacceptable "at a time of year" meant for togetherness. Hopefully he knows the audience came together to give "Going to Town" and standing ovation.

It ain't over till the fat ego stings

Sportscaster Dan Cook famously proclaimed, ”The opera ain't over till the fat lady sings.” So if you want an opera to last forever, you should only cast thin singers or fat mimes. However, if you want someone who will end a performance prematurely, you should consider casting Roberto Alagna. Though not a large lady, Roberto Alagna had an obese ego. As reported by Reuters, critics once considered the talented tenor "the successor" to Luciano Pavarotti. Unfortunately, opera directors found him criminally difficult, a fact which earned him and his wife — the vocally gifted but over-the-top-diva, Angela Gheorghiu — a rather unflattering moniker: "the Bonnie and Clyde of opera." True to his nickname, during a 2007 production of Aida, Alagna made the audience feel robbed.

As the BBC detailed, Alagna was the male lead in Verdi's Aida. On the first night the cast killed it, receiving a 15-minute ovation from an audience that included Italy's prime minister and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. On night two Alagna died a quick, humiliating death. Reportedly sounding "nervous" during an aria, he got showered with boos and stormed off stage, abandoning his singing partner mid-song. Alagna's replacement had to rush onto the stage "wearing jeans" instead of a costume. Blind to the fact that he violated his contract with the opera house, Alagna threatened to sue after he was barred from singing in the remaining performances.