This weekend, rapper Travis Scott held his annual Astroworld Festival with deadly results. After a number of red flags and warning signs were ignored by festival organizers and security, the crowd of 50,000 rushed the stage at the start of Scott’s performance after waiting for two hours, resulting in hundreds of injuries and the deaths of at least eight people. Now, as testimonies are being published and lawsuits are being filed, the public is getting an inside view of what happens when a concert goes terribly wrong.
As fans of some of the loudest, craziest, most raucous live bands in the world, metalheads know a thing or two about concerts getting out of control. But both fans and artists alike are seasoned enough to know how handle them, and metal musicians will happily stop the show mid-song if they see something they don’t like going on in the crowd. And as the true story of the Astroworld tragedy unfolds, we’re reminded of those moments when a metal star stopped their gig to lend a hand to the people who make this all possible.
Here are 10 times heavy artists put their fans before the show…
Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson boots sexual assaulter
“Why don’t you pick on someone your own size instead of picking on girls?” Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson is not here for anyone’s bullshit, as evidenced by this video. The singer had a huge fan — literally huge, “the big guy the bouncers are scared to take on because he’s as big as they are” — thrown out of his show for the dude’s treatment of female crowd members. This further shows what a stand-up dude Bruce is — and what happens if you’re a piece of shit at a metal show.
Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows cuts “Bat Country” short to save passed-out fan
Most bands playing their megahit single at Graspop wouldn’t want to screw up their rhythm. But Avenged Sevenfold frontman M. Shadows didn’t give a fuck — midway through playing his band’s breakthrough hit “Bat Country,” the singer stopped the show to help out a fan. “Hey, security, someone’s really hurt in there,” says Shadows. “They’re knocked out cold, you gotta get them out.” Artists, take note: it really IS that simple.
Corey Taylor stops Stone Sour set to let fan receive medical attention…
You can bitch about Corey Taylor all you want, but you can’t deny that the guy is decent when it comes to his fans. The frontman paused a Sydney show by his band Stone Sour because of a “medical issue,” urging the crown to move aside so “professionals can get in there.” Thanks to Corey’s diligence, someone’s life might have been saved — who cares how his new mask looks?
…AND stopped a Slipknot set when the pit got our of control
What does Corey Taylor think? Corey Taylor thinks that his fans are of the utmost importance. When Slipknot performed in San Bernadino, CA, multiple fans began having trouble during the band’s raucous set, passing out and having seizures. Corey stopped the entire show, telling onlookers, “No one is fucking getting hurt on my fucking watch, do you understand me?” Hell yeah, dude.
Disturbed’s David Draiman pulls a female fan out of a brutal pit
During a 2019 show in Houston, Disturbed frontman David Draiman noticed a female fan getting roughed up in the band’s pit. Rather than just call security, Draiman brought her up onstage to make sure she was safe. “On behalf of the gentlemen in Disturbed, I want to apologize for you getting jumped into our gang,” said Draiman, before the band took a selfie with her. Who says chivalry is dead?
Architects’ Sam Carter calls out groper
At a 2017 Dutch music festival, Architects frontman Sam Carter decided he had enough. The singer announced to the audience that he saw some piece of garbage grab at a crowd-surfer’s breast, announcing, “It is fucking disgusting, and there is no fucking place for that shit.” He then added, “Not at my fucking show. So, if you feel like doing that again, walk out there and fuck off, and don’t come back.” Words to live by.
Security was actually doing great tonight, there were just so many crowdsurfers… so I jumped down to catch a dude… then jumped right back into the song! Ha! All caught on https://t.co/3jrnjeRzcc pic.twitter.com/ZgQsrNYkBW
— Matthew kiichichaos Heafy (@matthewkheafy) April 15, 2018
Trivium’s Matt Heafy joins security in helping a crowd-surfer
Most of the time, concert security do their best to keep fans safe, but at metal shows crowd-surfing can get out of hand. That’s what happened at a 2018 Trivium gig, which forced guitarist and vocalist Matt Heafy to hop down into the security area and help a crowd-surfer get his bearing. Then again, maybe this one doesn’t exactly belong on this list — because the band never really stopped playing! Guess Trivium are just that hardcore.
— Kari /// Linkin.Bert (@bombalurina03) November 6, 2021
Linkin Park stop the show to help fan who fell into the pit
One clip that’s been making the rounds in the wake of Astroworld is this one of Linkin Park stopping their show to help an injured fan. As you can see in the footage above, Mike Shinoda is the first one to cut things short, before frontman Chester Bennington starts yelling, “Pick him up!” Apparently, one Twitter user tried to argue that mosh pits are just meant to be crazy brawls, but thankfully someone had this clip on hand to prove that that’s not the case. Grow up, dude, this is supposed to be fun.
Chevelle stop the show when fan is pepper-sprayed by security
During a set at Ft. Bragg, hard rockers Chevelle noticed a fan being pepper-sprayed by security — which, understandably, they decided to call out. “There’s no need to pepper spray anybody!” shouted frontman Pete Loeffler, adding, “This is a rock show — this is what people do at rock shows.” Another member of the band added, “Why don’t you just come onstage and spray me with pepper spray?” We can only hope that security guard got demoted to cleaning the Port-O-Johns.
— Nicole (@RHandLMindCole) September 6, 2019
Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson slams security beating up fan
It says a lot about Bruce Dickinson that we get to bookend this list with times he helped out his fans. This one, though, is especially fucked up — during an Iron Maiden show in Tacoma, Bruce took a second to call out the venue’s security, who apparently ganged up on a fan to, in Dickinson’s words, “beat the shit” out of him. “I hope that kid takes this building to the fucking cleaners,” snaps Bruce. Calling out the staff of the venue you’re currently playing at is dangerous — but hey, don’t fuck with metal.
Words by Chris Krovatin