Celebrities swarmed on stage


June 20, 2023

Celebrities usually have to deal with swarms of fans at concerts, not swarms of insects.

During her Eras Tour performance in Chicago, Ill., on June 4, Taylor Swift paused for a coughing fit and then told the crowd she swallowed a bug.

“That was delicious,” Swift joked. “Is there any chance none of you saw that?”

Swift was in the middle of introducing the newest member of her band, pianist Karina DePiano, when the offending bug flew into her mouth, according to Entertainment Weekly.

“This is going to happen again tonight,” Swift warned the audience. “There’s so many bugs. There’s 1,000 of them.”

Check out Swift’s interrupted performance on YouTube:

Swift isn’t the only singer who has been attacked by bugs on stage.

In February 1993, National Tennis Centre in Melbourne, Australia, Elton John and his band found themselves beset by a swarm of crickets.

According to Reuters, who identified the offending bugs as grasshoppers, the six-legged creatures landed “in the singer’s hair, clothes, and mouth.” They also crawled “over backing singers, musical instruments, and the audience.” John was forced to cut the concert short by 30 minutes and split before doing an encore.

“You try working at your desk covered in insects,” John’s publicist, Patti Mostyn, told Australia’s The Age. “I think this is out of perspective. He is one of the world’s major performers and he came to Australia to do a concert. He doesn’t just walk off for the hell of it.”

According to The Age, Australia’s common black field cricket (Teleogryllus commodus) was to blame for the evening’s disturbance. Conditions in the summer of 1993 had apparently been just right for this critter, as wet weather early in the season had given way to “hot and windy weather that animated the crickets,” the paper reported.

As for why the crickets targeted the “Tiny Dancer” singer, it was really quite simple: The stage was well lit. In advance of John’s concert at the same venue the following night, a team of pest control experts fumigated the grounds. This was mostly a precautionary move, as Friday’s unusual weather was the cause of the incident, not any underlying infestation. In any event, the second show seems to have been a bug-free affair.

In 2012, Colbie Caillat was swarmed by a bunch of flying insects while performing “Bubbly” in Pittsburgh, Pa.

“Oh my goodness. I am traumatized from the bazillion bugs that were literally raining on me from the sky while singing on stage,” Caillat wrote on her Facebook page.

According to HuffPost, Caillat was forced to stop singing and take cover from the insect, but eventually returned and had the crowd help her finish the tune.

Check out Caillat’s performance before it was interrupted by bugs (around the 2:20 mark):


About the Author

Ellen Wagner is a former digital editor for PMP magazine.

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