Dazed and Confused: 10 Classic Drugged-Out Shows - Rolling Stone
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Dazed and Confused: 10 Classic Drugged-Out Shows

Somehow, they made it onstage: Santana, Green Day and more perform under the influence

Drug Performances

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“I haven’t done heroin,” Bill Maher once said. “I wouldn’t recommend heroin. But it hasn’t exactly hurt my record collection.” Maher might be going a little far there (heroin is an evil drug), but his point stands that if no artist had ever done an illegal drug, music might be pretty boring. Bob Dylan wrote many of his greatest songs on speed, and when he introduced the Beatles to marijuana, it forever changed their approach to music.

That’s not to say that musicians should be stoned 24/7, though. Concerts are rarely great when the performers are fucked up beyond belief. Here’s a look at 10 famous performances when we know beyond any reasonable doubt that the person onstage was stoned or impossibly drunk.

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9. Poison at MTV Video Music Awards, 1991 – Cocaine

Poison weren't exactly the coolest band in the world in 1991, and their disastrous performance at the MTV Video Music Awards that year did little to earn them new fans. The were supposed to play "Unskinny Bop," but guitarist C.C. DeVille – then in the midst of a horrible cocaine addiction – went into "Talk Dirty to Me" instead. At one point, his guitar became completely unplugged. It was a huge moment for the band, and they absolutely blew it. Bret Michaels and C.C. had a huge fight backstage, and the guitarist was fired. He returned five years later. 

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10. Green Day in Las Vegas, 2012 – Booze and Prescription Pills

Green Day were playing the annual I Heart Radio show in Las Vegas last September when a sign came up telling Billie Joe Armstrong they had one minute left. He was black-out drunk at this point and high on prescription pills, and he absolutely lost his shit.  "One minute fucking left!" he screamed. "You're going to give me one fucking minute. . . You gotta be fucking kidding me. What the fuck? I'm not fucking Justin Bieber you motherfuckers. You gotta be fucking joking." He smashed his guitar in a blind rage and stormed off the stage with his band. He was shipped off the rehab after that, leaving behind a lot of postponed concerts and unsold copies of the new Green Day albums. 

Armstrong declined to say which exact pills he was taking, but this past March, he told Rolling Stone that his backpack "sounded like a giant baby rattle " because there were so many vials of pills inside. He can't remember much of the Las Vegas set. "The next morning, I woke up," he said. "I asked [my wife] Adrienne, 'How bad was it?' She said, 'It's bad.' I called my manager. He said, 'You're getting on a plane, going back to Oakland and going into rehab immediately.' I said, 'All right.'"

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