Ongoing History Daily: Performers who needed to read the room

Performers really need to read the room if they want to stay out of trouble. Here are some examples.

You may have heard the story of The Killers playing the former Soviet republic of Georgia earlier this year. During the gig, they invited a member of the audience onstage to play drums for a song. It turned out that the guy was a Russian. Given that Georgia has had an unfriendly relationship with Russia, this went down very poorly with the audience, and The Killers were compelled to apologize for the gaffe.

Then there’s the case of The 1975 who protested against Malaysia’s anti-homosexual laws by exchanging a same-sex kiss onstage while playing a festival in the country. That got them into all kinds of expensive legal issues with the festival organizers and the government.

Here’s one more example of poor judgment. In 1976, David Bowie gave an interview where he said this: “Britain could benefit from a fascist leader…I believe very strongly in fascism … Adolf Hitler was one of the first rock stars.” Imagine someone saying that today.

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