RIP Whitney Houston: What Concert Fans Remembered And Loved The Most

RIP whitney houston



After I heard the sad news that Whitney Houston had died I thought about a couple things.

First, I wondered how we would respond to it as a community of live music fans.

Would it be like how we responded to Michael Jackson’s death? Or Amy Winehouse? Or other artists who’ve died?

How would we all mourn and express our grief  in response to the death of Houston, one of the best and most emotionally moving performers in pop music history?

To begin to answer those questions I went to Twitter because that has become one of the most popular places where live music fans go to express their grief and loss when an artist dies.

Below are some of the millions of tweets that our fellow concert fans tweeted in the wake of tragic news.

As you’ll see, Houston had a profound and extremely memorable impact on millions of fans early and late in her career.

And what I found most interesting was how many of these fans shared that their first, and most memorable concert, was seeing Houston perform live.  And I especially enjoyed how one fan connected Michael Jackson to Houston in the afterlife.














A “Moment of Truth” Brings Back Memories

The second thing, that I thought about was how much my Dad loved Whitney Houston.

As I mentioned in my tribute to him when he died in 2010, Houston one of the three artists that my dad played all the time.

And one of my best memories was hearing my Dad talk about seeing Whitney Houston live in during her Moment of Truth Tour in 1987.

Anytime I would ask him about that night, his eyes lit up when he talked about how the show began with the words “Dance” booming from the speakers and blasts of confetti shooting out into the crowd as Houston came on stage to a roaring crowd at Poplar Creek Theater in Hoffman Estates.

After I thought about that memory and I read all those tweets, I wanted to find that 1987 Whitney album so I flipped through our record collection to see if I could find the vinyl album that my Dad got at the concert.

But, unfortunately I couldn’t find it. Hopefully I can find it because holding and listening to that album is one of those things, like tweeting a concert memory or watching a YouTube clip, that helps comfort and guide you through the mourning process.

At the very least, I chuckled at and found comfort in the thought that my Dad might be enjoying a Houston concert that was way better than the one he experienced on Planet Earth in 1987.

And I’m sure I’m not the only one who has gone through the process of what I like to call situational or memory-based grieving, which is, as I’ve explained to other people, is the process of being reminding about the loss of friends or family member after another person dies.

In times like these I’m reminded how the grieving process isn’t a one-time thing. And music, live music in this case, plays a major part in conjuring up our emotions that we’ve buried down deep.

Grieving can last a lifetime and you can go through many stages depending of the type of loss and where you were in life when the loss occurred.

In situations like these it amazes me how much the live music experience can help us identify and work through our grief, both individually and as a worldwide community.

And I’m sure this process will continue as more stories about impact of her career on our lives and details about her tragic death are reported in the media.

Hudson To Pay Tribute At Grammys

With this news coming on the eve of the Grammys, Reuters reported that Jennifer Hudson will lead fans in paying tribute with a performance dedicated to Houston on Sunday night.

The awards’ executive producer Ken Ehrlich told the L.A. Times that Jennifer Hudson would perform a “respectful” musical tribute to Houston during the CBS awards telecast on Sunday.

Ehrlich told the Times: “It’s too fresh in everyone’s memory to do more at this time, but we would be remiss if we didn’t recognize Whitney’s remarkable contribution to music fans in general, and in particular her close ties with the Grammy telecast and her Grammy wins and nominations over the years.”


What Have You Felt?

What are your favorite memories of seeing her perform live? Let us what you think and share your experiences in the comments below, on Twitter @livefixmedia, on Facebook, Google Plus, or call the concert fan hotline at 773-609-4341, and we’ll include them in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.


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RIP Heavy D: Remembering The Righteous Groove He Gave Us At The Shrine




I read the TMZ news today that old-school rapper Heavy D died at the age of 44. This is sad news no doubt.

So like we’ve done with other artists who’ve impacted us with their live show and unfortunately passed on too soon, I’d like to pay tribute to Heavy D because he was at the center of one of my favorite hip hop concerts ever.

And as I think back to that moment it’s amazing how vivid and fresh that concert still is in my mind. It feels like the show just happened yesterday.

Here’s what I wrote back in 2009 when I experienced Common, The Roots and Heavy D: Feeling as One At The Shrine

Old school stalwart rapper Heavy D also showed up and played some classic hits and some new reggae tracks. And it was during his performance of the classic ”The Overweight Lovers in the House“ that a fan, who I didn’t know before this show, looked at me and grinned the biggest grin and tossed me a fist bump.

That knunkle-to-knuckle moment ranks as one of the most memorable of my recent concert experiences because it was more than just two fans sharing a great live music moment. It was a micro-moment that personified the vibe in The Shrine. And to me it was a black fan and white fan sharing a golden moment that was so pure and so honest and transcendent for both of us.

I also think that moment was important because I know that there’s still a huge struggle with race in our country. And, unfortunately, hip hop isn’t immune to racism. As a white male, I’ve been to hip hop shows where I didn’t feel welcomed because of the color of my skin, or I didn’t feel any sense of fan solidarity, unity, energy or community among the fans before, during, or after the show.

Disappointing, disconnected and disinfranchised hip hop shows confirm for me that live hip hop still has a long way to go to break free from its self-destructive chains and skin-colored shackling stereotypes.

But this Shrine show was the polar opposite. It inspired me. It gave me hope.

Let’s Rap…

Yeah, it was great night back in 2009. And it was an honor to get to experience Heavy D at a live show. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

If you’re like me, I’m sure you’re feeling a mix of emotions and grief about this, so like we’ve done before with our ongoing live music mourning exploration, we’d invite you to share your favorite Heavy D concert moments too. Go ahead and post them in the comments below and we’ll feature them in a future episode of Live Fix Radio. Thanks to Fakeshore Drive for the YouTube video clip.

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RIP Cory Smoot: GWAR Tours On For Sake Of Fan Emotions




We’re always learning new things about concert fan emotions and how live music plays a major role in helping us cope with loss, grief and trauma.

That said, it again saddens me to share news about another artist who has died this year.

GWAR guitarist guitarist Cory Smoot (aka Flattus Maximus) was found dead in the band’s tour bus and the cause of death is not yet known.

In the midst of this tragic news, I read this MSN story  and nonetheless discovered something interesting and positive about how the band had their fans emotions in mind when considering whether or not to continue touring:

In a statement released on Friday, frontman Dave Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus, says, “After a lot of consideration, we have decided to carry on with the tour. Although the great temptation would be to return home, curl into a foetal position, and mourn, we can’t do that. First off, Cory wouldn’t want that. He would want us to go on and would be p**sed if we didn’t. Plus we know the fans don’t want us to quit. They are going to want a chance to come to grips with their loss, and there is no better place to do that than at a GWAR show.”

Brockie admits he’ll never forget the feeling he had when he found his friend unresponsive in his tourbus bunk: “It quickly was clear that he was dead. It was without a doubt the most horrible moment of my life… Within moments, everybody was off the bus, standing in a windswept parking lot in the middle of nowhere, trying to come to grips with the shock of it. First the ambulance arrived, and then the police, but there was nothing that could be done other than fully investigate the scene and remove Cory with care and respect.”

Thank you to GWAR fan Tromafilmfan for sharing the YouTube video above which captures Smoot’s last show at Minneapolis, MN on 11/2.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Smoot’s family and friends. And like we’ve done before with our ongoing live music mourning exploration, we invite you to share your favorite GWAR concert moments too. Go ahead and post them in the comments below and we’ll feature them in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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5 Fans Die, 45 Injured After Stage Collapses At Indiana State Fair Before Sugarland Concert

sugarland stage collapse state fair

It’s never easy to share concert news like this. But according to WRTV Indianapolis, on Saturday night before the Sugarland concert at the Indiana State Fair the stage collapsed injuring 45 and killing 5 concert fans.

And as the Los Angeles Times, the 5 victims were identified by the Marion County coroner’s office as Tammy Vandam, 42, of Wanatah; Glenn Goodrich, 49, of Indianapolis; Alina Bigjohny, 23, of Fort Wayne; Christina Santiago, 29, of Chicago; and Nathan Byrd, 51, of Indianapolis.

Knowing what we know about concert fan emotions, I can’t imagine what it was like to experience such a horrific event,

But I was encouraged to read that the LA Times reported that

“…In the chaos afterward, scores of concertgoers rushed to the stage to lift broken scaffolding and equipment off people.”

“People put themselves in jeopardy…and it’s gratifying to know that at a moment’s notice people will jump in to help others,” said Indiana State Police Sgt. Rich Myers.

In the wake of this sad news I also thought about our other tragic concert news about other stages collapsing and concert fan assaults. It’s certainly been one heck of summer for concertgoers in 2011.

Sugarland’s Response, Remembering Our Questions

According to the Associated Press, here’s what Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles said in the wake of the event:

“I am so moved,” she said. “Moved by the grief of those families who lost loved ones. Moved by the pain of those who were injured and the fear of their families. Moved by the great heroism as I watched so many brave Indianapolis fans actually run toward the stage to try and help lift and rescue those injured. Moved by the quickness and organization of the emergency workers who set up the triage and tended to the injured.”

And when I read Nettles’ response, I thought about our ongoing grief experiments and our previous Sugarland exploration, when we asked two curious questions about their live concert experience. And I can only imagine how such a moment like this Indiana State Fair tragedy will impact future shows for the country duo.

Again, we are saddened by this news. And as always, we send our thoughts and prayers to family and friends of everyone involved in this tragic event. And like we’ve done before on Live Fix, we pay tribute to this female fan and other concert fans who have passed on to the big concert venue in the sky.


As Pollstar reports yesterday Tuesday, August 16, a stage hand who died during the event had previously expressed doubts about the safety of the rig, and officials are unsure whether there was a plan in place to evacuate fans and if the rig was properly inspected:

As the fair reopened Monday, investigators and the families of the dead and injured were still seeking answers to hard questions: Was the structure safe? Why were the thousands of fans not evacuated? Could anything have been done to prevent the tragedy?

State fair officials have not said whether the stage and rigging were inspected prior to Saturday’s show. Fair spokesman Andy Klotz said initially that the state fire marshal’s office was responsible for inspections, but he backtracked Monday, saying he wasn’t sure whose job it is.


Were You There?

Were you at the Indiana State Fair to witness this tragic event? Have you experienced a similar traumatic event at a concert? Do you think about the event when you go to future concerts? We invite you to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below, so we can discuss and explore them in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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In the Wake of Amy Winehouse’s Death: Memories, Addictions and the 27 Club


Well, another artist that we’ve seen live has died. It pains us to report that soul singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London home yesterday.

As we all know, she struggled with drugs and alcohol and she used her struggles to write a Grammy-winning song “Rehab.”

And when I heard the news yesterday I thought back to when we saw her perform in Lollapalooza 2007. We only watched her perform a few tracks during the trainwreck of a set. And it was sad to see her attempt to play a show in Serbia earlier this summer as part of her comeback, but was booed off the stage.

And in the wake of Winehouse’s death, I’ve also thought about a few other things…

Upstaged By Addictions and Anxieties

The first thing that came to mind was Coheed and Cambria bassist Mike Todd who was arrested for trying to rob a Walgreens Pharmacy for Oxycontin. Many artists are known to use drugs and alochol to cope with stage anxiety.

And in previous interviews, Winehouse was noted as saying when she took drugs and drank before a show, it actually helped her perform better. And that topic is something were going to take a deeper look at on a future episode of Live Fix Radio to see if it is truth or just an addiction-fueled myth.

The 27 Club: Great Performers Passed On To Soon

The next thing I’ve thought about is how Winehouse has now unfortunately joined the 27 Club, an infamous group of artists — Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones — who’ve all died at the age of 27.

And as I look at that group I’m reminded how all those artists were great live performers in their own right. And I’m sure they all dealt with their own stage anxieties with drugs or they were able to translate and channel their anxieties into a compelling live show.

And when I think about Winehouse’s short career and the shows she played, I wonder what went through her mind and heart as she performed live. Did she ever have a show where she truly saw and fully felt her fans enjoy the music in front of her, like Enimem now does since he’s been sober?

What Can We Learn from This?

The last thing I’ve been thinking about is our ongoing experiments with concert fan emotions, how women experience live music and our tribute to artists and fans who have died and passed on to the big concert venue in the sky. There’s a lot to learn from stories like these and I invite to check out those posts and share your thoughts too.

What’s Going Through Your Mind?

Did you ever see Amy Winehouse perform live? Have you ever wondered about how addiction impacts the live music experience? We invite you to share your thoughts and concert experiences in the comments below, so they can be included in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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Another Concert Fan Has Fallen At Roskilde Festival 2011


As Pollstar reports, “Police spokesman Carsten Andersen said the woman, aged between 25 and 30, died after falling from a 30-meter (98-foot) tower in the festival’s camping area.

Pollstar also points out that, “…Roskilde Festival is Denmark’s largest rock festival and some 75,000 people had bought tickets for this year’s event..” and that “the accident was the first deadly incident since the tragedy in 2000, when nine people died and 43 were injured after an out-of-control crowd pushed forward during a Pearl Jam gig.”

Why Report On Concert Fan Death?

It’s never fun to report this kind of sad news, but nonetheless we believe it is vitally important to share this concert fan news with you for many reasons.

Mainly because situations like concert fan deaths not only impact the person who died, but as we’ve discovered many times before, the concert experience is a complex emotional environment where fans are experiencing joy, grief and pleasure.

And when we share all our experiences we begin to realize just how powerful live music is.

Live music isn’t just a place to escape to, but it’s often a place where we discover who we are and learn more about the other fans around us.

As always, we send our thoughts and prayers to family and friends of everyone involved in this tragic event. And like we’ve done before on Live Fix, we pay tribute to this female fan and other concert fans who have passed on to the big concert venue in the sky.

Were You There?

We invite you to share your concert experiences and thoughts about Rosksilde Festival in the comments below, so they can be included in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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Indie-rap Community, Fans Gather for Michael “eyedea” Larsen Memorial


On Monday, we shared the sad news about the death of indie-rapper Micheal “Eyedea” Larsen, of Eyedea and Abilities. And tonight, and this week, the indie-rap community and fans will gather to celebrate his life and mourn his passing.
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R.I.P. Michael Larsen of Eyedea & Abilities: A Tribute To His Life And Rhymes


Sad news about the death of indie-rapper Micheal “Eyedea” Larsen, of Eyedea and Abilities, was announced yesterday. So let’s pay tribute as fans mourn his passing and celebrate his life and rhymes.

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Weekly Wrap-Up: John Lennon, MGMT Concert Pee Test, Riot Fest, Deerhunter & Free Books…


Watching the Chicago Bears beat the Carolina Panthers, or scoping out the above creative John Lennon birthday Google doodle sure are fun ways to enjoy yourself on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

But you can also kick it with us here at Live Fix by checking out all the fun we had this week wondering about and exploring: John Lennon concerts in the afterlife, MGMT having a cultural piss-understanding, punk rock drama at Riot Fest, Free books at concerts, Suzanna Vega and more. So make like Devon Hester and run this post back for a touchdown baby!
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Imagine: How Is John Lennon Celebrating His 70th Birthday?


Our friends over at Wolfgang’s Vault are celebrating John Lennon’s 70th birthday by featuring one of his famous concerts from their vault. Let’s join in and start to wonder how Lennon might be celebrating his own birthday today.
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A Hot August Night Tribute To The Biggest Neil Diamond Fan Ever


Neil Diamond Hot August Night

A long time ago I realized that there was no point in denying the influence of my parents on my musical tastes, especially my love for live music.

And in my early twenties, I started asking my parents questions about…who they were when they were young, why they made the decisions they did and other important details about their lives that I didn’t already know the answers to.

During my inquisitive quest, I got to know more about my dad’s love for Neil Diamond. And sadly, last Monday my dad, Joe Catania, passed away at the young age of 60. And like we’ve done for other live music fans who’ve passed on, this post is a tribute to his life and especially his love for experiencing Neil Diamond live in concert.
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Was Gang Starr’s GURU Forced To Tour?


Bizarre, sad, and strange are not words I would use to describe the music of iconic hip hop group Gang Starr who revolutionized the genre in the mid-to-late nineties with albums like Daily Operation and No More Mr. Nice Guy. But, unfortunately, those three words do describe the story surrounding the death of the group’s legendary emcee Keith Elam, aka GURU, who died last month at 43.

So let’s explore a part of this tragic story that involves artists being forced to tour even when their health is failing.
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RIP Jay Reatard: A Special Note For Live Music Fans


I have some sad news to share with you. As Pitchfork reports, garage-punk rocker Jay Reatard died in his sleep early Wednesday morning due to unknown causes.

Whenever a musician dies I always feel weird writing about or calling attention to it.  I’m reluctant to blog about it because it makes other deaths seems less important or significant in some way.
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