Opening Ceremonies and large televised events can be quite strange really. You have a potential audience of tens of millions, and only a short slot in which to perform. Pull it off, and you can transcend into legend. Fall on your face, and the friendly and polite nether regions of Twitter will tear your limbs off and beat you to death with them. It’s quite difficult. Anyway, here is a list of five moment when musicians couldn’t get it quite right, starting with the most recent offender: Pitbull.
Pitbull at the 2014 FIFA World Cup
Oh Pitbull, you just can’t do anything right can you? The ‘Twittersphere’ was sent on a witch hunt against Pitbull and his white Capri trousers last week after his performance at the World Cup’s opening ceremony. And rightly so. They were beyond shit. I mean just look at him. On that stage, brandishing the most questionable dance moves since Tobey Maguire in Spiderman 3, whilst the world watches on in horror at his high-waist white trousers that are far too short for his own good. What was he thinking?! With sound problems and stage malfunctions, there were ample distractions, but all were not enough to divert our attention from those trousers. Also it’s important to note that he was performing the official World Cup song ‘We Are One (Ole Ola) with Jennifer Lopez too. But Trousers. Watch the offending slacks here from 18:11 in. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dkfxHNRqIQ
The Black Eyed Peas at The Super Bowl Half Time Show 2011
Technically speaking, The Black Eyed Peas didn’t mess up their half time show, in fact, it went completely according to plan. The problem was that their plan was really shit. It was just awful. From the rubbish costumes, to the soulless performance and the terrible tunes, there wasn’t a single redeeming quality about it. Usher looked like he wanted to kill himself, and then the final nail in coffin was placed, with the eternally tragic words “Ladies and gentlemen…the one and only…Slash!” ringing out to cries of “OH GOD NO! PLEASE SLASH. DON’T DO IT.” all over the world as the Guns N’ Roses guitarist duetted with Fergie on Sweet Child O Mine. You should just try and watch the performance back in its entirety now, I guarantee that you won’t be able to do it.
The Who Blow Up A TV Show in 1967
While most of the entries on this list may consist of unintentional gaffes and forgivable (sort of) mistakes, The Who cannot be put in the same category. Because they ‘messed up’ on purpose. Wanting to make a big impact with their live performance of My Generation on national American television, the usual instrument-smashing was incoming. But this time, for a special occasion, the band went a step further. Keith Moon decided to stock up his drum kit with 10 times the amount of gunpowder he usually used. Who can be sure if he even knew if that amount was a safe amount to use or not. He probably didn’t. Either way, a big fuck-off explosion went off. The blast caused a momentary break-down in transmission across America, Pete Townshend claimed he was left permanently deaf in one ear and a flying cymbal sliced into Moon’s arm. Shit the bed.
You’re not exactly going to see that any time soon on Alan Carr’s Chatty Man, are you? Sigh. Watch the performance below:
Paul McCartney at the London Olympics’ Opening Ceremony 2012
Paul McCartney is great. No room for doubt about it. He deserves every last morsel of appreciation and love that he receives. But even legends can’t be perfect. And, unfortunately, Paul just couldn’t bring the goods to the opening ceremony at his own country’s opening ceremony back in 2012. Which is a shame, especially for Paul, considering he was performing to a frankly ridiculous audience in scale, with TV viewers numbering in their billions. Mr McCartney began singing at the wrong moment, and then fell out of time with his pre-recorded vocals and backing track.
Speaking to the NME about the incident, Paul said “I fucked up. I was supposed to wait for a cue. But I forgot. Why? Well, there’s this bloody great bell that we didn’t know about. It was deafening… We prerecorded a playback in case all hell broke loose… We were live, everyone was there, the world was ready and this bloody great bell goes off. And I forget I’ve gotta wait for it, so I go, ‘Hey Jude’, and someone presses the playback. So there’s me on the backing track, and actual me; two of us singing. The drummer wouldn’t look at me because he was in hysterics and I was thinking, ‘What have I done?’ There was no stopping, it was the Olympics.”
Don’t worry Paul. We still love you. Watch the gaffe here:
Madness Cause An Earthquake In 1992
While not a televised occasion like the four previous entries, Madness qualifies because playing Finsbury Park in London is certainly a big event. And they caused an earthquake*. I mean come on. That tops The Who right? I doubt they woke up in the morning seeking to mess with seismic activity. Or maybe they did…
Anyway, the Ska legends managed to get the crowd so animated that reports came in that tall tower blocks were swaying and that people’s furniture was moving. Amazingly, Madness managed to cause an earthquake registering 4.5 on the Richter scale. That’s pretty fucking cool. Sort of. Well, it’s cool because there was no major damage and no one was hurt. You get what I mean.
*(NOTE: For the interest for accuracy, what Madness caused cannot be actually classified as an earthquake. But what did occur produced similar effects as an earthquake, hence the story and the legend).