Back in our day, getting hurt at a concert was a rite of passage, crowd surfing an artist was a privilege, and catching something thrown from the stage was a souvenir you’d never part with.
Apparently, things have changed.
There’s no better example of this than a shoe Justin Bieber threw into the crowd being auctioned for $6,000 (which overshadowed the equally ridiculous story of its other half getting a dedicated Instagram account). But seeing as we’re not sneakerheads, Beliebers, or wildly irrational human beings, that’s not a story we can comment on with any expertise.
What we can provide insight into are ridiculous, ludicrous, and sometimes justified personal injury lawsuits people have filed to cash in on their concert attendance.
Heavy metal bodyguard goes down hard
Despite the misleading heading, we’re starting with what must be the least rock ‘n roll lawsuit of all time. The case was filed by former KISS security employee Timothy Funk and centers around a slip he blames on the band he was protecting.
This Funk-y case attributes Timothy’s fall on what he believed to be the band members’ “foolish and reckless” decision to spray the venue and its crowd with water and confetti.
His case claimed he should receive money for his medical bills and lost wages. Hopefully, that included future wages. Can you imagine interviewing for another security job after that?
Interviewer: So...you’re the bodyguard who slipped on confetti?
Funk: I prefer the term ‘pressed natural plant fibers,’ and it was wet.
Interviewer: And you sued the people you were hired to protect?
Funk: Well, yea, they were always spraying water and confetti at shows.
Interviewer: So that wasn’t your first experience with…“wet pressed natural plant fibers?” And you still fell? *Sigh* Just go.
Emo pop band pitches corporate products
The All-American Rejects call themselves a rock band, but with lyrics like, “You're sweet just like the sun, but what happens when the sun doesn't stay?” we’re not buying it.
In 2010, the band took their not-so-rock ‘n roll brand to new lows when they agreed to advertise Monster Energy drinks during breaks between songs. But instead of slapping a few stickers on their guitars and chugging the corporate sludge on stage, the Rejects agreed to sling unopened 16-ounce cans of Monster Energy into the crowd.
Shockingly, this plan did not go well for anyone.
Especially for the concertgoer who took a caffeinated pop-top straight to the face and had to get 12 stitches. She signed up for the teenage angst and sweaty crowds but walked away with a lifelong scar, a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, and the most reasonable claim in this article.
Knob-turner’s gimmicks take the cake
To date, no one has been able to explain why musicians who make electronic music are paid so much for live appearances. All they do is hunch over a sound board and bob their head, but some of the truly pioneering DJs are finding new ways to look busy.
For example, Steve Aoki averages $83k every time he takes the stage to hit play on his pre-recorded tracks, and he keeps busy body surfing and throwing cakes into the audience.
In 2012, a fan sued Aoki after he tossed a liferaft into the crowd and jumped in. Aside from proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that his presence on stage was totally redundant, Aoki’s stunt also broke a fan’s neck.
The $10.7 million case was settled out of court, but just one year later Steve was at it again.
This time, someone took issue with his cake-throwing (another recurring stunt he employed to distract concertgoers from his ho-hum knob-turning). During one Vegas concert, Aoki catapulted a sheet cake into the crowd and one of his fans slipped on the remains.
The settlement wasn’t made public, but considering he makes $23 million a year to “perform” songs like Cakeface, Steve should be fine.
Concerts are inherently dangerous activities, and a person on stage can’t be expected to control thousands of adoring fans, so it may seem ridiculous to blame a live performer for an injury. But when you frame it in another light, these people are paid millions to rile crowds into a frenzy. So they’re not entirely blameless, and they can certainly afford it.
The next time you slip on some wet paper or take a can of diabetes to the scalp, give us a call -- we’ll throw you a liferaft.