Beyoncé knows who her real fans are, and they’re not the electric ones. In Montreal last night (22 July) she got her hair caught in a blower when perched on the lip of the stage singing ‘Halo’, but soldiered on regardless as security guards fished her locks out. When stage props go wrong – here are nine more real-life Spinal Tap moments.
Credit: Andy Whitton/NME
U2 couldn’t have been ‘Tap if they’d tried when they found themselves trapped inside a giant lemon. It was the lavish PopMart tour in 1997, during the stadium-eating Irish rockers’ ‘ironic’ phase, and they thought it’s look pretty sweet if they emerged from a lemon (they had a song called ‘Lemon’, see) for their encore. It never really worked, but in Japan they were stuck fast.
Apparently the inspiration for This Is Spinal Tap itself, Black Sabbath‘s 1983 tour saw them construct their own version of Stonehenge to lump around with them. They spent 40 grand on the replica, but it was so enormous that only one of the stones could fit in the average venue. More of a mystic brick, really.
AC/DC hit upon a wizard wheeze at a gig in Sydney to hire actors to pretend to be policemen and arrest the band onstage. It was a hit. The action looked so realistic that the fans actually rioted in protest. When the genuine police stepped in, then-singer Bon Scott lamped one of them because he thought it was still an actor.
Promoting 1976 album ‘Tejas’, implausibly bearded boogie bluesmen ZZ Top decided it’d be a champion plan to play on a stage infested with rattlesnakes (in tanks, thankfully) and some real live buffalos. They were wrong. One buffalo went bananas, smashed open the snake tanks and everyone fled screaming.
Back in 1967 The Who were getting quite a reputation for incendiary shows, so elected to see just how incendiary they could get. On US TV show The Smother Brothers Comedy Hour, Keith Moon rigged his drum kit so it would explode at the climax of ‘My Generation’. He got a little over-enthusiastic with the explosive devices and almost blew Pete Townshend to smithereens.
Never ones to rein back on rock’n’roll excess, Fleetwood Mac gave elaborate stage props a go in 1977 with a 70ft inflatable penguin that would, well, inflate and sort of float above the audience. It did neither. “It must have had leaks or something,” Lindsey Buckingham told Rolling Stone.
And then there was the time when Alice Cooper‘s favourite sartorial accoutrement – his boa constrictor – voided its bowels onstage. Now, that was bad enough, but then a bunch of clowns (part of the show, not just some clowns who happened to be passing) came on to clear up the dung but started throwing up from the stench. Alice, the trouper, carried on.
Finally, more Sabbath-related mayhem with Ozzy Osbourne‘s patented meat catapult on his 1981 Diary of A Madman tour. As he revealed to Rolling Stone, rehearsals had seen a bit of overuse of the machine so when it came to the big moment the elastic was a little loose. “I put my foot on this lever,” said Ozzy, “and several pounds of offal slowly comes and splats on the back of my head.”