The showbiz mantra for many years has been that "the show must go on."
That is, until the pigeons descend to make an unfortunate and messy appearance.
This apparently may have been the case Friday night, July 23, 2010, when the poop (sorry, I mean pop) band Kings of Leon took the stage at the Verizon Ampitheater in St. Louis, Missouri.
As reported by Robert Patrick of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper, the Kings "left the stage abruptly ... rendering the concert canceled." They said safety was at stake.
Apparently, during the third song, things took a decidedly yucky turn and led the band to scuttle off stage.
As reported by the Post-Dispatch, the band's skinsman, Nate Followill, earlier tweeted that a pigeon had defecated into his brother bassist, Jared's, mouth during their third song.
The Tweet by @doctorfollowill reads "So sorry St. Louis. We had to bail, pigeons (expletive) in jareds mouth. Too unsanitary to continue."
Nate's tweets are now invisible to non-followers, according to the Post-Dispatch.
Now, having been to a plethorapalooza of concerts--before parenthood--this author has experienced weird happenings a-plenty. There was the Iron Maiden concert where an always-brash Bruce Dickinson told the person who was shining the laser pointer in his eyes in no uncertain terms to cease and desist. There was the music festival in Germany where this writer (all 105 pounds and five-foot-five of her) got caught in a mosh pit and was forced to push back against hulking six-footers; the time in Cleveland where an out-of-it weirdo licked yours truly's arm. And the list goes on.
But pigeon poop? That's a new one. Do this band's actions reek of Axl Rose diva-dom? (Or should that be diva-dumb?)
Can one seriously make the case that there was no ample supply of vodka, whiskey, or other alcohol conveniently located on-stage or off-stage that the bassist could not use to swig? Couldn't the drummer or guitarist have done an extended solo while the bassist recomposed himself offstage for about 5 to 10 minutes?
It's not like the experience with Metallica's James Hetfield, where he had skin on his arms burned off and had to be carted off to the hospital.
Nonetheless, Dr. Gary Smith, associate professor of pediatrics, emergency medicine and epidemiology at Ohio State University, says that whereas a child who's purposefully ingested human poop is likely to feel no ill effects other than diarrhea, other animals' feces is a different story. He said that animal feces could contain parasites and harmful bacteria. "If that were to happen, then a different red flag would go up" that necessitated a call to a physician.
One wonders whether there was a doctor in the house at the Kings of Leon concert in St. Louis last night.
Fortunately, there was no riot or Who-like aftermath (see an EW story on these tragic 1979 concert deaths) to this stinky experience and, so far, no harmful health effects for the bassist. Refunds are also going to be issued.
Naturally, the band is pooh-poohing this whole ordeal as the venue's fault. You've got to question whether we will soon be aflush with pigeon-poop lawsuits galore. Will pigeon poop shields need to be installed at amphitheaters and outdoor venues across this litigious land?
What do you say, Kings of Leon fans and nonfans? Did the band overreact? Where does their obligation to fans--many who traveled from all over the Midwest to see the band at their St. Louis appearance--begin and end? When does the band's health (mental or otherwise) and well-being override all else?
LATE UPDATE: The band has just released a statement Saturday noting that the pigeon poo was not in the bassist's mouth. He had been hit several times at the concert, but the last straw, as it were, was a direct hit with some of it landing "near his mouth" and, so, the band just couldn't "deal any longer." Well, that changes everything.
Additional sources (for some levity and perhaps as a lesson to pop primadonnas?):
VH1's "100 Most Shocking Moments in Music" (including a bird pooping in Cyndi Lauper's mouth at a 2004 concert)
"(expletive) happens" during 2004 Cyndi Lauper concert in Massachusetts, from Fearless Cyndi Lauper Mailing List
Â© Leigh Ramsey, July 2010, for Gather.com. All rights reserved.