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Top 10 Strangest Concerts Ever

VO: Adrian Sousa WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
Script by Nathan Sharp I came here for the music, not…whatever this is. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten strangest concerts ever.  For this list, we’ll be looking at the most outrageous concerts throughout history. The outrageousness can come from a variety of factors, including the stage design, performance art, the public’s reaction to the concert…basically, anything which would make a concert unconventional and strange. We’ll only be including live concerts on this list, so weird performance pieces like The Flaming Lips’ parking lot experiments will not be included.
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Top 10 Strangest Concerts Ever

I came here for the music, not…whatever this is. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten strangest concerts ever. 
For this list, we’ll be looking at the most outrageous concerts throughout history. The outrageousness can come from a variety of factors, including the stage design, performance art, the public’s reaction to the concert…basically, anything which would make a concert unconventional and strange. We’ll only be including live concerts on this list, so weird performance pieces like The Flaming Lips’ parking lot experiments will not be included.
 

#10: Lady Gaga Is Puked On

They really will call anything weird and disgusting “performance art,” won’t they? As far as we’re concerned, there’s art, and there’s throwing up on someone. No one, especially paying customers, wants to see that. Lady Gaga was performing “Swine” at Austin’s SXSW Festival when performance artist Millie Brown stuck her finger down her throat and puked green liquid all over the singer.  The performance was rightly condemned by many for glamorizing bulimia and generally just grossing people out. Either way, it was certainly one strange thing to witness, but then again, so is Lady Gaga.
 

#9: David Bowie’s Glass Spider Tour

Leave it to David Bowie to do something completely ridiculous, asinine, and outrageous and somehow make it work. Such was the case for his Glass Spider Tour. Only, this wasn’t so much a musical tour as it was an elaborate stage production. Audiences were treated to scripted intros, elaborate lighting effects, choreographed dancers, and a 60-foot tall glass spider. While massive stadium shows like this are commonplace today, this was unheard of at the time, and critics absolutely hated it. It is now considered a massively influential tour, strange though it may be.
 
 

#8: Kid Koala’s Space Cadet Headphone Experience

With artists like Snarky Puppy and Kid Koala taking the headphone approach to their performances, it seems as if this could be the future of live musical acts. Kid Koala’s Space Cadet Headphone Experience was certainly…well, an experience. Koala is known for his graphic novels as well as his music, and he combined the two for this concert, which saw him performing live while stills from his graphic novel were shown in tandem. Fans were even given “space pods” to sit on and could play around with old music gear in the Exploratorium.  It would certainly be an experience to remember.
 
 

#7: The Beatles’ Final Concert

When you think of The Beatles, one of the first things that comes to mind is their famous rooftop concert, which was performed on the roof of their Apple Corps building on January 30, 1969. Joined by Billy Preston, with microphones wrapped in pantyhose, and,  in the case of John and Ringo, wearing their wives' jackets the Beatles managed to play for 42 minutes before being forced to stop by the police. A rooftop concert is odd enough, but considering they were the biggest band in the world, and that this ultimately became their final show, it takes on an almost mythical quality.
 

#6: The Wall Live

The Wall is without a doubt a formative album for prog rock, so you know the accompanying live show had to be something special. Throughout the concert, Roger Waters performed the entirety of Pink Floyd’s legendary The Wall, complete with a gigantic wall made of hundreds of bricks a Stuka Dive Bomber crashing into the wall and exploding, a giant inflatable schoolmaster,  and projections of various political images. It was both a thrilling rock concert and an artistic, theatrical experience, and it was unlike any concert you had ever seen. But then again,  isn’t that any Roger Waters concert?
 
 

#5: Kanye West’s Free Concert in Armenia

Kanye West has always been one for theatrics. In 2015 West staged a free show for the citizens of Yerevan, Armenia, performing an impromptu gig at the city’s famous Swan Lake.  An impromptu gig by one of the world’s most popular hip hop artists is one thing, but it gets much weirder. Deciding that you couldn’t perform at a body of water without jumping in, West did just that, prompting  hundreds of fans to jump in after him. This didn’t fly with the police however,  and they promptly stopped the concert, presumably for safety reasons. Damn police always ruining the fun with their concern for public safety...
 
 

#4: Rage Against the Machine at the Democratic National Convention




Rage Against the Machine at a political convention? Who thought this would be a good idea? RATM indeed played at the 2000 Democratic National Convention, and, fearing that riots may erupt, police helicopters flew above while   up to 2,000 police officers in riot gear patrolled the concert. Sure enough,  a riot broke out after the performance, which was apparently instigated by attendees attacking the police with concrete and “noxious agents” in water bottles.  Police used tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets to stop the riot, and six people were eventually arrested. So, it went about as well as expected.
 
 

#3: The White Stripes’ One Note Show

Hey, it’s technically a concert. They did play their instruments, after all. In 2007, the band was touring Canada, and they had one last stop to make in St. John’s, Newfoundland before they could state that they had played in every province and territory. They put on a free show in the city, which consisted of the band getting on stage, playing literally one note, and sauntering off while proudly declaring that they had officially toured all of Canada. White even contacted the Guinness Book of World Records to secure them the record for shortest concert of all time, but he was denied.


 
 

#2: U2 Performs in Kmart

Imagine shopping for underwear and seeing one of the biggest bands in the world performing in the lingerie section. Such was the case in February 1997, when U2 decided to perform “Holy Joe” and announce their upcoming world tour in the lingerie section of a New York City Kmart. According to them, this was meant to satirize consumerism, but we think they just wanted the publicity.  While it was only one song – and a b-side at at that – it’s still quite dream-like to think of one of the world’s most popular bands performing among discount underwear .
 
 

#1: Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison

Johnny Cash was one badass dude. Cash took an interest in the location after watching the movie “Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison”. After writing “Folsom Prison Blues”, he began to receive fan mail  from prisoners who requested that he play for them. When Cash suffered a bit of a career dip due to a battle with drug addiction, the Man in Black decided to make a comeback by recording a live album at the prison. Despite the unconventional location and gritty songs,   At Folsom Prison was an enormous success, and it effectively revitalized Cash’s career in the eyes of fans and critics alike.
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