On this day, January 25 2008, British Sea Power’s keyboard and cornet player Phil Sumner ended up in hospital after being knocked unconscious when he attempted a stage dive. The crowd at Leeds Irish Centre failed to catch him when he jumped off a 12-foot PA system landing head first. A spokeswoman for the band said, “The impact knocked him out straight away. He was unconscious for three minutes and there was a lot of blood.”
Ouch! Keep back from the edge; it can be dangerous up there.
New Kids on the Block’s Danny Wood injured his ankle (poor thing) while on stage in Manchester during a concert in 1990 when he tripped over a toy animal thrown on stage by a fan; he was forced to fly back home to the US for treatment. And more trouble in the boy band department — in 1998, Backstreet Boys roadie Michael Barrett filed a $3 million lawsuit against the group claiming damages after a 50-pound cannon fell on his head during a show.
Now why didn’t anyone get these on film so we could see them over and over again on YouTube? I would’ve paid money to see this: in 1999, former Culture Club singer Boy George was knocked unconscious when a mirror ball fell on his head during a show in Dorset, England. And he’s never been the same since.
But we shouldn’t laugh. Some accidents are more serious than others. Playing the first of two nights at London’s Rainbow Theatre in 1971, Frank Zappa was pushed off stage by jealous boyfriend Trevor Howell. Zappa fell onto the concrete-floored orchestra pit; the band thought Zappa had been killed. He suffered serious fractures, head trauma, and injuries to his back, leg, and neck, as well as a crushed larynx, which ultimately caused his voice to drop a third after healing. This accident resulted in him using a wheelchair for an extended period, forcing him off the road for over half a year.
On a lighter note, during his Welcome To My Nightmare 1975 tour in Vancouver, Canada, Alice Cooper fell from the stage and broke six ribs.
In 1977, David Bowie appeared on Marc Bolan’s ITV show singing “Heroes” as well as a duet with Bolan, “Standing Next to You,” which was prematurely terminated when Bolan fell from the stage, much to Bowie’s amusement. And the cameras kept rolling.
Ryan Adams broke a wrist after falling during a gig at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool in 2004. Adam’s fell from the stage and suffered a fractured wrist. A fan said, “One minute he was on the stage and the next he had disappeared. He went down with a thud and we couldn’t believe he was trying to continue singing.”
In 2008 a man was charged with assault after an attack on Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher during the band’s set at the V Festival in Canada. Gallagher was admitted to hospital after a man ran on stage and pushed him over while he played guitar. Toronto police said Daniel Sullivan, 47, had been charged over the incident. A band statement said the guitarist “fell heavily on to his monitor speakers.”
More recently Beyonce tripped down 12 stairs while performing “Ring the Alarm” on tour in Orlando, Florida. Video from the night of the concert, which captured her stepping on her trench coat and then tumbling head-first down 12 steps at the Amway Arena, appeared within hours on YouTube.
And just last year Steven Tyler was airlifted to hospital after falling off stage during a gig at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. The 61-year-old Aerosmith singer fell from a catwalk onto a couple of fans; he suffered neck and shoulder injuries.