The 10 Most Annoying Rock Star Behaviors
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A few months ago, we vented about the endless ways other fans annoy us at concerts. But that was really only half the battle: sometimes, it's the performers themselves who sabotage the show. Here are the 10 most annoying things that bands do at rock concerts.
1. Show up ridiculously late
Rock stars aren't accountants, and nobody expects them to take the stage at the precise moment listed on the ticket. We get that. A little late is good, even. It gives everyone time to park, deal with will call, wait in the bathroom line and get a beer. But some artists routinely take the stage two, three or even four hours late; Lauryn Hill, we're looking squarely at you here.
Guns N' Roses started some shows on their last American tour after midnight. Rockers, here's a helpful guideline: Do not go on later than forty-five minutes after the opening act.
2. Exclude key band members
Some bands have members who just don't feel like being rock stars anymore. We understand that. When Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac and Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones decided to scale back their lives and get off the road, we would have all preferred to see them with their bands still. The shows suffered from their absence, but people have a right to quit. A band isn't the mafia.
What's infuriating is when in-fighting (almost always over money) deprives fans of the proper band. Right now, we have Van Halen without Michael Anthony, Black Sabbath without Bill Ward, New Order without Peter Hook, Slayer without Dave Lombardo, the Eagles without Don Felder and Kiss without Peter Criss and Ace Frehley.
In the case of Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, Kiss had the nerve to put other people in Peter and Ace's makeup. The drummer even sings "Beth" these days. It's insane. We don't care what sort of issues you have offstage. Pull it together.
3. Play too much from the new album
We have no issue with bands playing a ton of their new material. It does, however, get annoying when you pay to see an artist and the vast majority of the show is new stuff, especially when that material is a pale imitation of the old stuff. There's a certain expectation when you buy a concert ticket (especially to an arena show) that you're going to hear songs from throughout an act's career. It's just hard for people to fully appreciate music they don't know very well.
Radiohead abandoned much of their 1990s work during their last tour. The result was a setlist that didn't change much from night to night, and many disappointed fans. Neil Young has occasionally taken this to the next level by playing an entire new album before it comes out. In June 2004, he took Crazy Horse out on the road and played Greendale straight through two months before it hit shelves. Three old songs were tacked on at the end. By the end of one show, the crowd was singing "Hey Hey, My My" to themselves between songs.
4. Only perform the hits
The flip side of Number Three. Some artists have long catalogs of great songs, but their concerts tend to fall back on the same 15 songs they've been dragging out for decades. It's like eating 10 chocolate bars for dinner; it's not satisfying. You need to balance it out. Sure, the crowd loves to hear hits and you want to do anything you can to hold their attention, but you also need to challenge them a bit.