Tomatoes and bottles are out, and unless you’re following the strict toilet paper and rice traditions at Rocky Horror, you’re going to have to come up with something much more creative. Whether they were offering a present, heckling the music, or just being a jerk for no reason, these concertgoers have set a new standard for strange and disgusting projectiles.
The Fangirl Stuff: Harry Styles of One Direction has probably had more weird girly things thrown at him than any other artist. Aside from the famous tampon-in-the-face incident (unused, thankfully), the teen idol has been hit with lacey bras, stuffed animals, and even a miniature naked doll of himself. But those are nothing compared to the dildo Adam Lambert was hit with in Ontario.
The Expensive Stuff: Some fans clearly have more of a budget for these things, because rappers have had some expensive presents hurled onstage. A$AP Rocky caught a bag of cocaine and several joints during a performance at Coachella. He didn’t seem to mind too much.
Kanye West, on the other hand, was outraged when someone threw money at him in Dublin. Though it was a single nickel that did not hit him, he stopped performing and said, “I ain’t trying to make no excuses but, some motherf***er threw a f***in’ coin up here and it like threw me all the way off. Don’t throw no hard shit up here while I’m performing, seriously. You f***ed it up for everybody. I was having a perfect show, flawless victory.”
The Food Stuff: Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber have both been hit with the bad side of the food pyramid; eggs. But as it turns out, the candy attacks can be just as brutal. A repeated Mentos protest caused a song to go into retirement. After Foo Fighters parodied a Mentos commercial in their 1995 music video for “Big Me,” fans began showering them in the chewy mints every time they performed the song. The band grew frustrated with the ritual and refused to play the song live for many years.
David Bowie was hit in the eye with the sharp end of a lollipop, which, horrifically, became lodged between his eyeball and his eye socket. He cursed and demanded to know who had thrown it, explaining that he only had one good eye due to a childhood fight (hence the different colors). “Lucky you hit the bad one,” he warned the Norway crowd.
The Animal Stuff: You may think that Ozzy Osbourne owns this whole category, and you’re not wrong. The artist famously bit off the head of a live bat that a fan had thrown at him during an Iowa show, thinking it was fake and made of rubber. He was also known to chuck raw meat at his fans, which of course, fueled the fire and caused them to chuck it right back. But heavy metal band W.A.S.P. has also had some honorable mentions in this category, with offerings like a dog’s brain, a hog’s head, and a moose butt hitting the stage. “It’s not that I really mind,” said frontman Blackie Lawless. “But what I wanna know is, how do they get these things in the arenas in the first place?”
Similarly, Alice Cooper was hit with a live chicken at the Varsity Stadium Rock Fest in 1969. His mild response was the stuff of head-ripping, blood-drinking rumors for decades, until he finally cleared the air in 1991. “I’m from Detroit, I’m not a farm kid. I figured a chicken has wings, it’ll fly away. So I took the chicken and threw it and it didn’t fly. It went into the audience. Blood everywhere. The next day, everybody’s reading, ‘Alice Cooper rips chicken’s head off, drinks blood.’”
The Dirty Stuff: A substantial amount of bird poop rained down on Kings of Leon during a show in St. Louis, though the audience couldn’t be blamed for that. Tila Tequila had it much worse. She was completely attacked with human feces, garbage, and rocks at her Gathering of the Juggalos performance in Illinois. She responded by angrily pulling out her breasts. What a show.
Nickelback was also pelted with rocks by Portugal spectators (because, of course), and Green Day slung the mud right back when they were splashed at Woodstock ‘94. But Cher Lloyd may have had it worse than anyone when she got hit with a bottle of pee at the V Festival in Essex.
At least she can join the club of artists who’ve shaken off some very weird stuff and made the show go on. And if you think the music crowds are bad, just remember that time Paula Deen got hit in the face with an entire frozen ham.