A fan jumped on stage and sang into the microphone at a Bryan Adams concert earlier this month, Fox News reported. The singer seemed amused by the antics before the man was rushed off the stage by security, but this is part of a troubling new trend.
The Canadian singer had just begun performing his iconic hit "Summer of '69" during a concert in Salt Lake City, Utah. After the man approached, Adams backed away from the microphone as the fan jumped in to sing the second line of the song, belting out, "Bought it at the five and dime."
The unruly fan continued to sing a couple of lyrics of the song but was quickly hustled off stage by red-shirted security personnel. Adams expertly picked up where he left off to continue singing his hit song.
Afterward, Adams took to social media to poke fun at the incident. "Sometimes you just gotta laugh…#stagecrasher #summerof69," he wrote in his Instagram caption.
Although this encounter was rather benign, it comes in a string of other incidents that range in severity for other artists. Fans have thrown objects at the likes of Bebe Rexha, Harry Styles, Pink, and Kelsea Ballerini.
Rhexa was injured by a cell phone thrown by a concertgoer in New York City last month. She received stitches while the man who threw the phone was arrested.
Styles was similarly struck in the eye by an unidentified object while performing in Vienna. Pink was thrown a bag containing a person's ashes while performing last month at the British Summer Time's Hyde Park Festival in London.
Country singer Ballerini was injured after a fan hit her in the eye with a bracelet while singing her hit song "If You Go Down." Immediately after the strike, Ballerini turned around and was assisted by one of her bandmates before leaving the stage to seek treatment.
"Hi, i’m fine," Ballerini assured fans on Instagram, according to NBC's "Today Show" on June 30. "Someone threw a bracelet, it hit me in the eye and it more so just scared me than hurt me."
Even pop superstar Taylor Swift has had to dodge objects flung by fans. As she was exiting backstage, a group of Swifties hurled bracelets at her while security personnel attempted to gain control of the situation.
University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences pop culture expert David Schmid explained that the phenomenon is related to the original meaning of the word "fan," which is short for fanatic. The word has a religious connotation and implies a sort of worship that compels people to throw offerings.
The audience may treat their idols "as if they are gods or at least semi-divine beings," Schmid said. "From that perspective, you can read the stage as a kind of altar and the objects that are thrown onto the stage as devotional objects," he explained.
Perhaps Schmid has a point, but the phenomenon might have more to do with the decline of decorum and civility in American society. Public displays of all kinds of emotions, including anger and outrage, have become routine, whether on the streets or on social media, and how people treat one another has changed.
Of course, part of the fun of attending a concert is getting caught up in the energy, but that can become unsafe when the underpinnings of civilization are dismantled. Without the framework of an orderly society, good, clean, concert fun has all but disappeared.