Uncut’s Worst Gigs – Ever!

Today: Elton John throws a piano stool at a fan's head, then cries

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In last month’s UNCUT, our writers, friends and favourite musicians reminisced about their favourite gigs.

Well, in this month’s issue we’re looking back on the worst gigs we’ve ever seen – including The Stone Roses, Bob Dylan, Kevin Rowland and David Bowie – with rare photos from the shows too.

We’re also going to publish one of the worst gigs every day, with online exclusives, so feast your eyes on this, and be glad you weren’t there!




Hammersmith Odeon, London


December 24, 1982


Elton’s career was in the doldrums – his Jump Up! LP had underperformed badly and, fuelled by cocaine and brandy, the era of tantrums and tiaras was in full swing. Matters came to a head at his annual Yuletide homecoming gig.

Shortly before the show, news broke that drummer Nigel Olsson had flu. Elton decided to play the gig regardless, though it quickly became obvious that, without the drummer, the band was conspicuously weakened.

Compensating with an ill-advised show of Jerry Lee Lewis-style theatrics, Elton deepened the crisis. His piano stool flew into the stalls, striking front-row ticket-holder Serena Connolly.

“Is this how you treat your fans?” she cried. Elton’s ill-advised response – “If you’re hurt, call the RSPCA” – brought further protests from the injured fan until, unable to go on, Elton left the stage in tears. For a while confusion and uncertainty reigned, and a queue formed at the box office for refunds. Elton reappeared, presenting Serena with a large bunch of flowers, and the show limped on to an unimpressive conclusion.

The nightmare came back to haunt Elt at the following evening’s end of tour party. Guest of honour Serena chose a smart off-the-shoulder dress – revealing the bruises sustained during the previous evening’s antics.



Not even UNCUTs war-weary gig-hounds have been to every show in history – but you lot probably have.

Email Allan_Jones@ipcmedia.com to share your memories, of the ones we’ve published or any which we have missed, and we’ll publish the best in a future issue


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