From their inception, rock and metal performers have been dutifully trying to break the mold and push the boundaries of music and counterculture. They thrive on not doing or saying what they’re told or what’s expected of them. If there’s one thing that rock and metal fans know by now, it’s to expect the unexpected from these acts.
We all know about the traditional places bands play at —clubs, theaters, arenas, stadiums, festivals— but this article isn’t going to be talking about any of those places. Although they all have their place and time, they’re far too mainstream for these performers. We’re here to talk about all the off-the-wall places bands have performed.
From the steps of Wall Street to Antarctica. From a local Denny’s in California to the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. Buckle in as Loudwire takes you on a world tour of the 10 wildest locations bands have played live.
Rage Against the Machine on Wall Street
Michael Moore filmed the music video for Rage Against the Machine’s track “Sleep Now in the Fire” on the steps of the New York Stock Exchange in 2000.
Moore didn’t actually have a noise permit, nor one to film on the sidewalk or street, and reportedly told the band not to stop playing, no matter what happened. He was eventually led away by the NYPD, after which the band attempted to enter the New York Stock Exchange.
But they didn’t get very far before the titanium riot doors came crashing down. At 2:52 PM, the Stock Exchange was forced to close its doors.
Did you know that Metallica became the first band to play on all seven of the Earth’s continents in 2013? Did you know they also did it in a single calendar year?
They secured the Guinness World Record by playing in Antarctica. The band performed in a transparent dome in front of 120 scientists and people who won tickets to the event.
The hour-long show was called “Freeze ‘Em All” and was performed without traditional amplification due to the continent's fragile environment. Instead, the sound was transmitted to the audience via headphones, silent disco-style.
Red Hot Chili Peppers at The Pyramids of Giza in Egypt
Red Hot Chili Peppers performed under the stars in front of the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt in 2019 for thousands of fans in 2019. Their 20-song set included the band’s classics such as “Dani California” and “Under The Bridge,” and they also covered “Pyramid Song” by Radiohead.
The event marked the Peppers’ entrance into a select group of artists who have have had the opportunity to play at the oldest of the Seven Wonders of The World, joining the likes of Frank Sinatra, Scorpions, Grateful Dead and Shakira.
KISS on a Boat at a Concert for Sharks
KISS also played at a truly wild concert venue in 2019. They performed a mid-sea concert in Australia for great white sharks, plus about eight human fans as part of a promotion for Airbnb to launch their Animal Experiences category.
The set list for the maritime concert included the classic “Calling Dr. Love” and low-frequency of KISS’ classic rock was supposed to be a call to some sharkie fans, but, alas, none attended the event. There were some sea lions jumping around according to drummer Eric Singer though.
The White Stripes at a Bowling Alley
The White Stripes performed a special show at a bowling alley in Canada in 2007. The bowling alley was only one of the tiny shows the band played in unusual venues while on their North American tour.
They also played a mobile classroom and a moving city bus while in Canada, and turned Tower Records Los Angeles into Icky Thump Records for one show.
The set list for the event included “Let’s Build A Home,” and the band apparently bowled a few times during the show (as they should).
Foo Fighters on a Truck Flatbed Protesting the Westboro Baptist Church... Twice!
When Foo Fighters cruised into Kansas City for a show in 2011, the Westboro Baptist Church decided they must protest (rock ‘n’ roll is the work of the devil, after all).
What they didn’t anticipate was Foo Fighters protesting right back at them.
The Foos rolled by the protest dressed as the truck stop characters from their “Keep It Clean (Hot Buns)” tour promo and serenaded the picketers.
This happened not once, but twice.
The second time, Foo Fighters blasted Green Day’s “American Idiot” and Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
What was in the water in 2019?
That same year, hardcore band Wacko played an intense show at a local Denny’s in Santa Ana, California, that has become the stuff of legend.
The concert, like most metal concerts, got a little rowdy. A 17-year-old promoter, who paid $400 just to rent the space and threw down some extra cash to rent a generator and host an after party, was left on the hook for the cost of the repairs.
The band launched a fundraiser for the damages, which came out to be around $1,000. It was reportedly the first show the kid ever booked. We wonder where he is now.
In 2009, Korn played a set while thousands of feet in the air. They were, of course, in an airplane.
Passengers on the flight from London to New York were made up of European MTV contest winners and eight U.S. soldiers who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The five-song set included “Falling Away From Me” and other hits. Jonathan Davis sang through the airplane’s PA system while James “Munky” Shaffer and David Silveria performed using battery-powered practice amps and a child-size drum set.
Chino Moreno Inside a Volcano
Deftones’ Chino Moreno performed solo inside of a volcano in Iceland in 2016, with only an acoustic guitar.
That’s right. Not next to, not in front of, inside.
Moreno was lowered 400 feet below the ground into the magma chamber of the Thrihnukagigur volcano. Only 20 people were allowed to attend the event that Moreno himself said he was “a little nervous” about. But the volcano hadn’t erupted in more than 4,000 years and had shown no indication of doing so anytime soon.
Flogging Molly in a Roman Coliseum
Celtic punk band Flogging Molly once performed songs such as “Drunken Lullabies” and “If I Ever Leave This World Alive” in a coliseum from the Roman empire.
The gig, which was part of a festival in 2014, took place in Aventicum. Aventicum was the largest town and capital of Roman Switzerland, the remains of which now sit beside the modern town of Avenches.
The band even walked through a gladiator tunnel to get onto the stage.
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