This Is the Worst Thing You Can Do at a Concert

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

Lately, live musical performances have been plagued with all kinds of erratic behavior, both good and bad: traveling cheese wheels (good), projectiles soaring violently through the air (bad), slightly-too-spontaneous kissing (very bad). And now Miguel — lover of tight leather pants, possessor of the most buttery voice in R&B, generally appealing man — has defied the limits of horrible concert behavior and pulled off the most distressing onstage antic of them all: hanging in midair by his own skin. Sir, please put those meat hooks away!!!

The offending incident took place during what was advertised as a “boundary-pushing” performance to promote Miguel’s upcoming album, Viscera. At one point in the set, based on footage you can watch here (you’ve been warned), a cluster of professionals in white hazmat suits — perhaps to protect them from the significant splatter of bodily tissue and fluids that might go flying, should this go south? — joined him onstage to shoot big-ass metal triangles through the skin of his bare back. Visceral indeed.

Using his new carabinerlike piercings, the helpers then rigged Miguel up to a network of wires, which promptly lifted him clear into the air to perform a song called “Rope,” his back skin visibly struggling to hold up the weight of his entire corpus. TMZ estimates that he dangled several feet above the stage’s surface for four (FOUR!!!) entire minutes, singing lyrics that included “I’m hanging on to nothing / I’m hanging from the ceiling.” I am not sure anyone needed such a literal interpretation of those lyrics, but perhaps this is what we deserve for screaming “MOTHER!” too loud at Beyoncé concerts. Lesson learned.

Just a guy dangling by his own back skin. Photo: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Sony

Anyway, after the song, the hazmat suits returned to unhook Miguel, offering little in the way of disinfectant but the musician’s own already sweaty tank top. Somehow he appears to be fine, at least physically?

Personally, I am feeling unwell in body and mind — thanks for asking. How does the experience of watching a man’s flesh fight gravity in real time enhance a performance beyond making it profoundly nauseating to behold? I understand performers can and will go to great lengths to create a certain mood, but did the mood really have to be … medieval torture? What happened to a good old diamond embedded in the forehead? Moreover, what do all these musicians find so appealing about challenging the limits of the thing that holds all their organs together?

Whatever the impetus for Miguel’s great skin-stretching stunt, he has apparently been prepping to do it for months, as evidenced by a bloody Instagram post from June. He recently told the Los Angeles Times that he “couldn’t have known how committed I was to the real purpose of this shit until I had hooks in my back.” I hope his newfound commitment doesn’t involve wearing a backpack anytime soon?

This Is the Worst Thing You Can Do at a Concert