Adele’s lucky escape: the elaborate stage props that went very wrong

6. Yes’s tunnel troubles

Seventies prog pioneers Yes were famed for their over-the-top productions. But the crew required to lug around their heavy sci-fi props wasn’t always so appreciative. On tour in America, the roadies decided to play a joke and diverted the giant “Slinky” that was supposed to convey Yes on stage.

“We had this immense tunnel based on a giant Slinky that we would march out of on to the stage,” recalled keyboard player Rick Wakeman. “The crew hated it. It was impossible to cart around. One show, they took revenge. We strode along it, half noticing the sound of the audience was getting further away. Finally, we came to a halt by a large green exit sign. The crew had directed the tunnel away from the stage.”

7. Alice Cooper and the putrid python

Decades before Britney Spears’s notorious snake dance, horror show rocker Cooper’s favourite stage prop was a real life python, which he would carefully dangle around his neck. Or at least he did until the night the snake emptied its bowels everywhere. Cooper’s dancers – dressed as clowns – dashed on to clean the mess, Alas the stench made them throw up. Through it all the trojan Cooper kept singing

8. Black Sabbath’s monumental miscalculation

The famous Spinal Tap scene in which a miniature Stonehenge is lowered to the stage was actually inspired by a real life muck-up by Black Sabbath, when their prop designer confused “feet” with “metres”

“We had Sharon Osbourne’s dad, Don Arden, managing us. He came up with having the stage set be Stonehenge. He wrote the dimensions down and gave it to our tour manager,” recollected bassist Geezer Butler. “He wrote it down in metres, but meant to write it in feet. The people who made it saw 15m instead of 15ft. It was 45ft high and we just had to leave it in the storage area. It cost a fortune to make, but there was not a building on Earth that you could fit it into.”

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