That crazy full-moon Halloween in Vancouver when Blind Melon's Shannon Hoon got naked and peed onstage
It was a full-moon Halloween not unlike tonight's when something quite shocking happened during a Lenny Kravitz concert in Vancouver.
The year was 1993, the place was the Pacific Coliseum, and the person supplying the shock was Shannon Hoon, vocalist in the show's opening band, Blind Melon.
Here's an excerpt from my review, which was published in the Nov. 5 issue of the Georgia Straight, under the headline Gracious Kravitz Outshines Melon’s Mooning Hoon.
I had a feeling there was going to be some wildness going on at the Coliseum last Sunday night, it being Halloween and all. On the way there, I noticed that the moon was full. And my new car almost got beaned with the fiery spray from a Roman candle that some happy fellow was aiming directly across Renfrew Street.
When I finally got seated partway through opener Blind Melon’s set and took my first glance at the stage, I thought singer Shannon Hoon was getting into the spirit of things by wearing some sort of flesh-coloured outfit, with maybe a dark fig leaf or something covering up his naughty bits.
To my dismay–and probably that of the other 13,300 folks in attendance–the longhaired dude was stark naked, stumbling around to the catchy chords of “Tones of Home”. I figured maybe he’d tried mooning the crowd, lost his pants in the process, and was riding the song out till one of his pants roadies found him another pair, but no.
“I’m sorry, but I’m just having so much fun,” said Hoon, who proceeded to simulate sex with a guy dressed up in a bee costume. By the time the still-naked Hoon led the band into their big hit, “No Rain”, I was kind of tired of watching his pasty butt bounce around the stage, but I must admit that he caught my attention again when he started peeing all over the stage and then aimed his weenie at the poor folks in the front row.
Considering the duration of Hoon’s urination, it looked like a good pee, but a chorus of boos went up anyway. And the Vancouver police didn’t think it was a good pee, either, because they arrested Hoon after the show...
That impromptu piddle in the crowd’s general direction caused a storm of controversy, and lead to Hoon being charged with public nudity and committing an indecent act. As part of a plea deal Blind Melon played a benefit for the Vancouver Food Bank at Vancouver's Commodore Ballroom less than two months later, on December 20, 1993.
Here's an excerpt from my review of that gig, which appeared in the Dec. 24, 1993 issue of the Straight under the headline Melon’s Fans Spared Spray.
“Hi there, Vancouver; long time, no pee!” quipped Hoon when the band took the stage, but the brave folks on the front line held their ground, and by the time the band got into a sweaty version of the Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider”, any fears of an imminent Agent Yellow strike had been assuaged. The bouncing crowd seemed to be in a very festive mood, and several patrons made like jolly moshing Santas traveling over the heads of helpful elves.
There was one moment of concern, however, when the band launched into the hit single “No Rain”, because that tune had been the ironically titled soundtrack to Hoon’s previous indiscretion. The longhaired dude kept all his duds on this time, though, and only went so far as to happily slap the hands of the hyped fans reaching over the stage-front barricade.
Blind Melon is a genuine, honest-sounding band, and the powerful effect of its flowing, folk- and country-edged guitar-rock is hard to deny. By the end of the band’s impressive 90-minute set, it was clear that the group shouldn’t have to rely on vulgar stage antics to get attention.
“It was good to come back and let you guys know it was nothing personal,” said Hoon near the end of a three-song encore. Then all five band members pulled their pants down and urinated profusely on the helpless crowd.