Who were the drunkest performers you saw on stage?

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

  1. WhoAreYou

    WhoAreYou Soul Survivor

    Location:
    New York City
    I missed this era of widespread (dys)functional alcoholism on stage as I was born in the 1980s. I saw a few acts growing up who, in retrospect, I realize probably had imbibed a little bit beforehand, but nothing like what you guys saw- I’m...jealous?

    As an aside, I’m no stranger to a drink or 4 before going onstage, but about a year ago, I ran an experiment out of curiosity- how many drinks does it take before I notice my lead guitar playing starting to be affected?

    Answer? 1. I seriously didn’t expect it and didn’t want to admit it at first, but after a single drink, I noticed that I had to focus harder to make my hands play as fluently as they do sober. Note selection, rhythm, all of it was affected. I guess it’s okay if you’re trying to tame your nerves to not overplay, but you can’t really push yourself into your higher abilities...your playing becomes increasingly mediocre. I doubt anyone in the crowd noticed, but I did.

    Since then, I generally stay away from drinking before a gig. After? Oh yeah. But usually not before.
     
    patrickd, Bryan Harris and Fullbug like this.
  2. nicotinecaffeine

    nicotinecaffeine Forum Resident

    Location:
    Trenton, OH
    They weren't drunk, but clearly baked. DMB in 2000. Songs were about half speed, the crowd all looked like cast members of Dawson's Creek. Bored as hell.
     
    Fullbug likes this.
  3. Marty T

    Marty T Stereo Fan

    One of the members of The Last (it wasn't Joe and I won't say who) almost fell on me as I stood at the stage ready to prep him back up. This was a good ten years ago.

    John Fahey drank beers on stage at Mc Cabe's in Santa Monica and got fairly sauced - he said he was drinking his dinner.

    David Lee Roth was downing Jack Daniels on stage at Van Halen's very last show (Hollywood Bowl, 2016, I think). However, he seemed so unaffected by so much booze, I was wondering if it was actually tea.
     
    MortSahlFan likes this.
  4. JediJoker

    JediJoker Audio Engineer/Enthusiast

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    Apple juice is an old stage trick. Presents as most brown booze reasonably well and is good for the voice.
     
  5. rjp

    rjp Senior Member

    Location:
    ohio
    i don't think it was alcohol, something much bigger had a hold on lucinda williams when she walked off the stage in las vegas after 2 songs.
     
  6. jmrife

    jmrife Wife. Kids. Grandkids. Dog. Music.

    Location:
    Wheat Ridge, CO
    Jerry Lee Lewis onstage at a movie theatre when I was 13. Flubbed the lyrics, couldn't do the piano runs, and he had a task keeping his pants up. Almost turned me against rock and roll. Almost .
     
  7. Rink Danko (the Band) Solo shows at the Old Waldorf in San Francisco....
     
  8. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    If TV performances count, then I presume attendees of the Miami Beach Auditorium in the final years of The Jackie Gleason Show before CBS gave it the hook in 1970, Gleason often did shows drunk out of his gourd.

    And of course, there were quite a few performances of Take Me Along on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre during its 1959-60 run where he could barely stand up because he was so soused.
     
    Bryan Harris likes this.
  9. unclefred

    unclefred Coastie with the Moastie

    Location:
    Oregon Coast
    I saw a stream of AWinehouse shortly before she died. a few months maybe. She didn't make it through one song. They had to take her off stage. Booze, heroin or both it looked like.
     
  10. unclefred

    unclefred Coastie with the Moastie

    Location:
    Oregon Coast
    I used to have one drink at every break, beer and a shot. At that time it was usually 9p-2a, a break every 45 min. By the last set even I knew i was off, but everyone else was drunk so it didn;t seem to matter.
     
  11. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Must've been after he lost part of one of his legs due to a burst cyst in the knee. I have seen pics of him in his last few years where he was morbidly obese.
     
  12. Snoddywilko

    Snoddywilko Forum Resident

    Location:
    United Kingdom
    That must have been the Belgrade gig as she hadn’t performed for a few years before that.

    It was just alcohol, apparently.
     
    unclefred likes this.
  13. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    It wasn't until after his son Dean Paul's death in '87 that the drinking onstage was for real.
     
    Devin S likes this.
  14. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Like I said . . . after his son died, from which he never recovered.
     
    unclefred likes this.
  15. DTK

    DTK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    Heh, Hendrix could play like a god as usual when very, very stoned. But the few documented times (one, rather) he played drunk it showed.
     
    Evethingandnothing likes this.
  16. Devin S

    Devin S Fate is a luxury

    Yes, that's true. He fell apart after his son's death.
     
  17. dewiecox

    dewiecox Forum Resident

    Probably Eddie Vedder at multiple shows. One where he was tackled by the giant Tim Robbins.

    Cedric of The Mars Volta was probably the most messed up I’ve ever seen. Had a crazy look in his eyes the entirety of their 3 hour onslaught. Don’t think he blinked. Read he had downed some ayahuasca tea. He brought if from a performance aspect but you could tell he was in another universe.
     
  18. Snoddywilko

    Snoddywilko Forum Resident

    Location:
    United Kingdom
    My memory may be off but I recall watching a documentary about him filmed in his final years - minus one leg - & I could have sworn he said he lost it after drunkenly driving his jeep into a cow late at night, or something.
     
  19. DTK

    DTK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    She relapsed into heroin for a while after Kurt's death.
     
  20. rrbbkk

    rrbbkk Forum Resident

    Sonny Terry circa 1975. Brownie was not pleased.
    Joe Cocker, 1977. Agonizing.
    Eddie Van Halen, 2004.
     
  21. Evethingandnothing

    Evethingandnothing Forum Resident

    Location:
    Devon
    Yeah, potweed will usually enhance playing ability. Booze on it's own may get a lively, interesting performance but not necessarily a good one. Booze and potweed together is a bit of a lottery, but large amounts consumed slowly can lead to a very clear state (in my experience) that is the perfect place for inspired playing. I'm not advocating anyone else try this out though.:idea::crazy:
     
    DTK likes this.
  22. chacha

    chacha Forum Resident

    Location:
    mill valley CA USA
    Probably Warren Zevon at Old Waldorf in San Francisco
     
  23. Almost Simon

    Almost Simon Forum Resident

    Mark E Smith with the Fall. 1996 I believe, when Brix returned the band, A shambolic live show in London. The last time i saw them live, all the times before that (4 or 5 times during the proceeding 5 years,) had been excellent. Mark was fond of a drink so this review is perhaps not surprising.
     
  24. Chee

    Chee Active Member

    Location:
    Denver
    Bocephus sometime in the 80's. Hank Jr. had a smile all show long. Jerry Lee Lewis around '86 at the Palomino Club in North Hollywood. Some guy was bugging him to do some song called "Meat Man" or something like that and he said he'd meet him outside to talk about it.
     
  25. applejam101

    applejam101 Humble Fan

    Location:
    NYC, NY, USA
    I saw David Cassidy in 2010. He was inebriated to say the least.
     

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