To the average gig-goer, live performances – especially those hosted by prolific artists – come across as effortlessly flawless for one simple reason: they are rehearsed beyond belief. From stage movements to song transitions, the majority of shows are meticulously planned out and practiced.
Naturally, there is an element of unpredictability and improvisation during concerts, and despite the lengths those involved go through to make it as well-polished as possible, it's inevitable that some things will just go wrong.
Bruce Springsteen, one of music’s most accomplished livemen, was given a harsh reminder of that reality when he attempted to pull off a cool guitar throw mid-set, only to strike his poor guitar tech right on the head.
In a video captured by an attendee at Springsteen’s Atlanta concert earlier this month, The Boss can be seen winding up to throw a Fender Telecaster – not his iconic Born to Run model, thankfully – to his long-time tech Kevin Buell, just as he has done on countless occasions in the past.
Despite the pair’s familiarity with the move, it didn’t quite work out as they practiced. Instead, Springsteen launches the Tele towards an oncoming Buell, who unfortunately misjudges the six-string’s flight path and as a result gets struck on the head.
With the band bringing the track to a dramatic close, Springsteen goes to check on Buell, who has already retreated backstage for some attention.
This flash of showmanship has been part of Springsteen’s set for years. For context, footage from a Seattle show in 2016 and a Munich gig in 2009 captured the perfect example of what the end-of-song guitar throw should look like.
Luckily, it looked as though Buell wasn’t badly injured, and the guitar managed to stave off any serious damage.
Onstage mishaps are unavoidable, regardless of how well-rehearsed a show is. Last summer, Tom Morello was accidentally wiped out by a security guard who had jumped on the stage in pursuit of a stage invader.