…the opening act, who had a hard time on stage because the audiences gave them such a hard time.
To promote its album Tattoo You in 1981, the Rolling Stones set out on one of biggest tours in rock history to that point, playing some of the biggest stadiums in the country, including the 94,000-seat capacity Los Angeles Coliseum. Lead singer Mick Jagger asked a young, rising R&B star he liked to open the band’s two L.A. shows. The singer’s style of dress and music didn’t quite mesh with the hard-charging classic rock fans expected from the Stones. The singer took the stage wearing thigh-high boots, black underwear, and a jacket—that was all—and sang falsetto through a short set of pop-soul numbers. The fans voiced their displeasure by loudly booing the singer and his backing band…and throwing food and other stuff onto the stage. After four songs, the singer left the stage and reportedly cried backstage. That performer: Prince.
While the Monkees recorded a lot of great songs, sold millions of records, and had their own delightful TV sitcom, as far as important rock acts go, they do rank much lower than Jimi Hendrix, one of the greatest and most original guitarists of all time. In 1967, the Monkees were at the top of their game, and Hendrix was just getting started, which gave the world the odd and unlikely pairing of a Monkees concert with Hendrix as the opening act. Monkees Mike Nesmith, Peter Took, and Mickey Dolenz were all huge Jimi fans and asked their manager to book the Jimi Hendrix Experience as the support act for their 1967 American tour…even though Hendrix had just told Melody Maker that he “hated” the made-for-TV band and compared them to “dishwater.” The audiences at Hendrix’s tour stops with the Monkees—made up of pop-loving young fans—liked Hendrix about as much as Hendrix liked the Monkees. The crowd would relentlessly chant for the Monkees to come out—or for their favorite Monkee by name. At the end of his seventh and final concert, Hendrix gave the crowd the middle finger.
They Made the Boss Mad
Bruce Springsteen went on a year-long, 100-plus-date tour from 1992 to 1993 to promote two simultaneously released albums Human Touch and Lucky Town. The whole thing ended with a benefit concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City for the Kristen Ann Carr Fund, named for a 21-year-old woman who had just died of sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Carr adored Springsteen, so he agreed to headline the show, and invited along some other musicians to perform, including R&B star Terence Trent D’Arby, best known for the #1 hit “Wishing Well.” The Boss’s fans did not care that Springsteen had personally invited D’Arby, or that the concert was for a good cause. After D’Arby finished his set amidst a few hundred people heckling and booing him, Springsteen came out onstage and chastised the audience for their behavior, calling the hecklers “rude [expletive deleted]” and reminding them that D’Arby was his guest, and demanding they show some respect. They remained quiet when the young singer joined Springsteen for a duet of the Rolling Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”