NPR Asks: What’s Your Spinal Tap Moment

Spinal Tap
I remember seeing Billy Idol at Massey Hall in Toronto way back when. He was so drunk he was flopping around the stage like a caught fish on land. Still managed to perform. At one point he stopped the show to yell at a couple of guys down front smoking pot. He was screaming at them to stop doing drugs or get out. Comically sad.

National Public Radio (NPR) ‘all songs considered’ blog asks what moments have you’ve had a concerts that were so hilariously bad that they would qualify as a Spinal Tap moment (the mockumentary that showed us how great really bad can be)!

Feel free to share your stories in the comments.

You can read the NPR blog here.

Larry Lootsteen

Music is life and I love to write about all things music. Independent music blogger. Writer in general. I am a big fan of alternative and indie music but there's no genre I haven't found something to like.

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2 thoughts on “NPR Asks: What’s Your Spinal Tap Moment

  • This story is about my band Tempus Fugit’s show at Ildikos on December 20 1987. Ildikos was a punk club located upstairs on the south side of Bloor Street in the first block east of Bathurst. We were supposed to play along with the band IROK who bailed at the last minute. As panic set in at not having any other bands on the bill and needing to fill up an entire night of music, we savagely practiced and pieced together every song we knew and some we didn’t. As it turned out “John Yeates and Banned” ended up opening for us and took 2/3 of the door money for their trouble. They brought a total of 0 people so it only seemed fair. Plus I think they would have kicked our asses if we had said anything which was difficult as we were on stage when the took the money and split.
    Upon arriving at the club we realized 3 things. First it was about -20C inside the club as they hadn’t paid their gas bill and had their gas shut off. Secondly all of the urinals and sinks in the bathrooms had been ripped off the wall the previous night which I have to imagine was an entertaining evening. Thirdly there was a drunk guy there who insisted on beating up our friends and in doing so convinced us that he would be our bouncer for the night, keeping all our Jewish high school friends in line. He got the other 1/3 of our money.
    During the day 2 things happened. First Ildiko set up a big butane flame thrower in the middle of the club to try to warm it up and secondly I drank vast amounts of warm milk with corn syrup at the insistence of our bassist’s mother, as a remedy for my laryngitis that I had acquired due to a throat infection. As a result, the club was freezing cold by the time anyone showed up and I had a difficult time both singing and in containment as warm milk with corn syrup has a liberating effect on one’s…um…functions, which leads back to the bathroom problem.
    The show went off without a hitch free moment. We played 3 sets of music over about 2 1/2 hours. The middle set focused on Side 3 of The Wall by Pink Floyd as it’s centerpiece which shows how desperate we were. During Hey You I was under a red sheet for dramatic effect, which I later learned my sister thought was due to the fact that I couldn’t remember the lyrics and was looking at them under the sheet. That is actually a better reason so I should probably go with that one. “Games Without Frontiers” and “Tom Sawyer” were also among the casualties of the evening.
    I think we paid all of our dues on this night alone. The next night was supposed to be a big Punk show for New Years Eve with Bunchofuckingoofs. The club never recovered from our set and our little high school prog band played the last ever show at one of Toronto’s biggest bastions of Punk music.

  • Aerosmith at the Skydome in T.O. The night started with a group of friends trying to figure out what to do when some said “hey, Areosmith is playing the dome tonight, let’s go but some tickets off a scalper and see it”. There were 9-10 of us so needless to say we wound up paying 3x the face value for really crappy seats. The band came on and the stage was set up with elevated stages on each side of the main stage, and one across the back of the stage, all designed to look like rooftops. As one song got to the mandatory solo, a completely wasted Steve Tylor starts running laps around the main stage and risers. As the solo comes to the end, timed for Steve’s return, he keeps running past the mic he left on the right riser and continues to do laps. The bands picks it back up again expecting him to get it next time around, but he still misses it. This went on for 5 more laps until a roadie clued in and had to step out in front of him on stage and hand him a new mic and stand for him to continue. The rest of the show was not much better. This show has confirmed my theroy that the more I pay for a show, the worse it will be.


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