Chris Robinson Recalls ‘Most Violent’ Black Crowes Concerts

Music

Chris Robinson has detailed two of the scariest concerts in Black Crowes history.

The first took place in 1991 when his band performed as part of the Monsters of Rock concert in Moscow, alongside Metallica, Pantera and AC/DC. The show took place as the Soviet Union was dissolving, making for a tense backdrop. As Robinson recalled during an appearance on Club Random with Bill Maher, military presence was everywhere.

“They tanked the building,” Robinson remembered, noting that the crowd was estimated at a million people. “Within the morass of people [officials] wanted to form some areas. So how did they do that? Riot police beating people with clubs until they could — like both sides, fighting, like digging holes towards each other. And that day I got kicked.”

The situation was unstable, even for the performers themselves — something Robinson learned the hard way.

“There’s millions of people backstage, soldiers for miles and policeman,” the frontman continued. “I couldn’t find a bathroom. So I go all the way around to this – there’s, you know, 38 semi trucks back there. I go around to where I don’t see anyone.”

The rocker tried to discreetly take a leak, only to be confronted by an armored guard.

“I pee behind this truck and I look up at a guy with a rifle, and that long green Russian jacket. He started yelling Russian. I’m like, ‘I don’t know what you’re saying,’” Robinson recalled. “And he just comes up behind me and he kicked me in the small the back so hard. My face is up against the thing. I’m peeing still. And he is yelling at me and holding his rifle. And I pulled up my pants up.”

Robinson Has a Similar Experience in Chile

Five years later, Robinson experienced another scary moment when the Black Crowes were playing in Chile, opening for Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. Again, it was a time of turmoil, as the country was at the latter part of military dictator Augusto Pinochet’s rule.

“It was weird. It was very strange,” the singer noted. “Everyone was at that concert. The whole country, it was the first rock music. And I didn’t realize that. But I have a picture with El Commandante, this guy in full, like banana republic regalia.”

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As Robinson recalled, a major military official came to the band and requested a photo which proved to be uncomfortable.

“He comes backstage and he has like, army guys. He goes, ‘I want to take a picture,'” Robinson explained. “And we take the pictures and then the guy holds his gun and he is acting like he’s killing me. And I took a picture. It was funny, but it wasn’t kind of funny.”

Later, the Black Crowes climbed towards the top of the stadium just as fans were being let in.

“I’ve never seen this. Somebody said, ‘Let the crowd in.’ So they opened the stadium gates and kids start to come. But whoever, that guy [from the picture] maybe had said, ‘Wait a minute, I didn’t say do that.'”

The scene quickly turned violent.

“They tried to close those gates and we were on the top of the stadium and they had maybe, I don’t know, 10, 12 guys on horseback with these huge canes, really long. And they rode these horses into these kids and just started whipping them and whipping them back,” Robinson recalled. “And that’s one of the most violent things I’ve ever seen.”

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Gallery Credit: Chad Childers, Loudwire



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