Who were the drunkest performers you saw on stage?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by spencer1, Sep 26, 2019.

  1. the pope ondine

    the pope ondine Forum Resident


    there's a clip on line of him playing that will break your heart (mid 80's. David Sanborns show?)
    squittolo likes this.
  2. BTR75

    BTR75 Active Member

    James Brown. Canada Day concert, suburbs of Toronto, maybe 1992? Went to this show with my friends parents, I was 11 years old at the time, no idea who James Brown was. Vague memories of everyone standing around waiting ages for him to actually go on. Then when he finally does crawl up on to the stage he’s so pissed he can hardly stand let alone sing. Crowd starts booing, he starts swearing into the microphone before being escorted away. Show over.

    Was only years later I learned who I “saw”. The “greatest live performer in history” lol
  3. Atmospheric

    Atmospheric Forum Resident

    Maria Muldaur, opening for Grateful Dead. Had to be led out to the mic stand.
  4. Joint Attention

    Joint Attention Forum Resident

    Gig Harbor, WA
    The Reverend Horton Heat.

    I saw Dash Rip Rock pull him up on stage one night in Dallas. They handed him a guitar, but he was too drunk to hold it, much less play it.
    Bryan Harris likes this.
  5. Lownotes

    Lownotes Forum Resident

    Denver, CO
    Three I saw that started the show "sober" and ended anything but:

    Chris Wood
    David Bromberg

    Drunk as skunks:
    Josh Graves
    Don Reno
  6. BilboAlaska

    BilboAlaska Forum Resident

    John Prine in a bar in Fairbanks Alaska in 1974 performing his first album. Through the years I have seen him 5 more times and he was never drunk for those.
    Sneaky Pete likes this.
  7. g.z.

    g.z. Forum Resident

    :uhhuh: Every one of the other bands came to play.
    Van Halen came to play around. Fully lame.
  8. Lorne Malvo

    Lorne Malvo Well-Known Member

    The Clash in 1977 at Eric's club in Liverpool, they'd just flown over from Belfast and got absolutely hammered on the flight.
    When they finally arrived on stage they could barely stand up, they had to start every song 2 or 3 times until they got it right,
    Strummer fell over many times..
    dlemaudit likes this.
  9. Vic_1957

    Vic_1957 Forum Resident

    NJ, USA
    Sorry, no Rick. Just a very small ensemble. He sat down most the time. He could hardly walk or see. But when he played, he was awesome.
  10. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    It probably shouldn’t be surprising, but I am a little surprised to see so many accounts of Shane not holding it together on stage. I only saw the Pogues once, but he was clearly very drunk yet performed perfectly. I’ve seen several television appearances, all of them with him visibly wasted, none of them failed performances. So I’ve had this impression of him as a guy who you would think shouldn’t be able to stay upright, yet is still completely with it musically at all times.

    EDIT: This of course does not count the straight-up no-show habit that got him fired from the band in the first place. Just that once you get him singing, he seems to have it.
    squittolo likes this.
  11. Bryan Harris

    Bryan Harris Hipster Doofus

    A sad story if you're a fan of Rick Danko, but an awesome story if you're a fan of roadies. They sound like an elite unit!
    hiterss, squittolo, Frans T and 4 others like this.
  12. Endymion

    Endymion Forum Resident

    When I was waiting outside a small club for a John Wetton concert I overheard the club manager having a conversation with another guy.

    He said Wetton arrived so drunk for the sound check that he wasn't sure that he could play the show. He was thinking about cancelling the show.

    Fortunately at the concert Wetton was doing just fine. You could see that he was in a funny mood but his playing and singing was okay.
    squittolo likes this.
  13. screechmartin

    screechmartin Forum Resident

    British Columbia
    Many of us have been disappointed by the booze fueled sloppiness of Ronnie and Keith, and have stopped attending as a result. I bought tickets regularly from 1981 - 2002, but finally gave up when it became clear I was watching two guitarists who were too soused to even qualify as competent bar band members. I know it's not every night, but why should I have to play the lottery when I'm paying several hundred dollars for a ticket?
    hiterss, squittolo, Mr.Sean and 5 others like this.
  14. If you can remember how drunk someone was on stage, you weren't drunk enough yourself. Shame on you
  15. john lennonist

    john lennonist There ONCE was a NOTE, PURE and EASY...

    I was at this show (at least I hope it was the same show, since I hope they didn't do this nightly throughout the tour).

    As I recall it, it was either in the Spring or Fall of 1974.

    Ray was smashed (others -- at least Dave, given his reputation -- probably were too).

    Ray was pretending to jack-off his beer bottle (with his finger over the top) then removed his finger and the beer sprayed all over the audience.

    They played 20 minutes :wtf: then walked off the stage, show over.

    Luckily I saw them three or so more times in later years, and all were great shows.

    Oh demon alcohol,
    Sad memories I can't recall,
    Who thought I would say,
    Damn it all and blow it all,
    On demon alcohol.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
    squittolo likes this.
  16. Chris Schoen

    Chris Schoen Rock 'n Roll !!!

    Maryland, U.S.A.
    Eric Clapton at Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, N.Y. 1974 - So drunk he was flat on his back on stage. Lucky he had Freddy King, who played most of the leads that night...
    hiterss, squittolo, Mr.Sean and 4 others like this.
  17. john lennonist

    john lennonist There ONCE was a NOTE, PURE and EASY...

    I posted the following before seeing the above post:

    I saw Dan Hicks about six or seven times over the years -- he ran the gamut of mildly to very blasted during his shows. He could be a pretty mean drunk.

    But he performed at a private show organized by my brother (who has to be the world's biggest Hicks fan).

    Showed up with a decent heat on, but didn't drink once he arrived at the club. He (and his super-tight band) performed great and was a really cool dude to interact with (posing for pictures, signing autographs).

    A truly unique talent... who pulled through several years later when I asked for a personal favor for an ill friend.

    RIP Dan

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
  18. Macman

    Macman Senior Member

    Easily Shane McGowan of The Pogues in 1990 at a club called The Power Station in Auckland. He was drunk when he came on and drank heavily throughout the show. He was a staggering slurring mess, but it was still a great show. Sad and awe-inspiring at the same time. It's amazing to me that he's still alive almost 30 years later.
  19. john lennonist

    john lennonist There ONCE was a NOTE, PURE and EASY...

    I saw Rickie Lee in 1980 or 1981.

    Similar to the above -- she had a bottle of Jack on stage that she had completely downed by the end of the show.

    I remember thinking, "She's gonna end up like Janis."

    Glad to see she cleaned up and seems to be a happy person these days.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
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  20. john lennonist

    john lennonist There ONCE was a NOTE, PURE and EASY...

    :laugh: :biglaugh: :laugh:

    One of my musical regrets:

    I wasn't yet familiar with this fantastic band but some buddies were big Pogues fans and invited me to a show or two (at relatively small clubs).

    When I later got into the band I was pissed I hadn't taken 'em up on it.

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  21. GeetarFreek

    GeetarFreek Forum Resident

    I saw Page & Plant in Little Rock in 1995, I was up front and something seemed off w Jimmy for sure. He just didn’t play well at all, and kinda staggered around stage. Plant seemed distant and the two hardly made any eye contact.

    Years later I hear the story Plant slapped Jimmy across the face backstage before show for being blotto.

    I believe it !
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  22. john lennonist

    john lennonist There ONCE was a NOTE, PURE and EASY...

    Rory Gallagher sadly had a very bad drinking problem.

    But if he was drunk when I saw him in 1974 (he was an opening act, I'd never heard of him before) he was the greatest drunken guitar player who ever lived!

    Ar dheis de go raibh a anam, Rory.

  23. nodeerforamonth

    nodeerforamonth Forum Resident

    San Diego,CA USA
    I'm just saying, from the audios and videos I've seen on that show, Metallica was pretty tight that show.
  24. Thoughtships

    Thoughtships Forum Resident

    Devon, UK
    Weird. I remember them starting the wrong track twice and being all over the shop. But I was at the back. And farely drunk myself. Plus I'm 50 and my memory is fairly pickled.
  25. MHP

    MHP Lover of Rock ‘n Roll

    Mick Taylor in 2006, Denmark.
    The club owner had precious words about the man we were about to experience:
    “Mick Taylor! The best guitarist The Rolling Stones ever had! Here he is!”
    Out came a band from Norway, playing 3 songs. After that, Taylor came swaying onto the stage. The man was so drunk he could hardly stand on his feet. A few times the magic sound from the legend was there, but it was all too rare. It was all too obvious that Taylor had a drink too many. When he was young, he probably could have done it.Now it was just embarrasing to watch.
    squittolo likes this.

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