When Beyoncé took the stage at the O2 Arena on Monday (November 16), she not only brought Kanye West and Jay-Z on stage with her, but also busted out a big concert trope that seems to have gone by the wayside but may be making a comeback. In the middle of “Halo,” she ran directly at the crowd and hurled herself onto the outstretched hands of the mass of fans in a stage dive.
Stage diving used to be a common occurrence during the alt-rock era, which saw frontmen like Eddie Vedder and Kurt Cobain channeled the spirit of Iggy Pop and constantly tossed themselves at the swirling crowds at their shows. But at some point around the turn of the century, stage diving got a bad name. It’s possible that Fred Durst sunk the whole concept, as he famously used a piece of the security fence to surf across the hands of thousands of revelers at Woodstock ’99 while Limp Bizkit played and women were sexually assaulted. But there’s no real event that ended the practice — like the dinosaurs, stage diving died slowly and inexplicably.
But clearly it isn’t completely extinct. In addition to Beyoncé’s head-first dive, there were plenty of human missiles tossed off the stage at the 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards, which were taped this past Wednesday night (November 18). After accepting an award on behalf of Green Day, rapper Asher Roth leaped into the crowd for a brief surf, and the beginning of the show saw Kim Schifino (of Matt and Kim) crawl across the outstretched arms of the people closest to the stage and stand up on top of them in a makeshift pyramid.
So if one of the biggest stars in the world, one of the slickest rappers in the hip-hop game and one of the coolest indie bands about to pop are all hopping off stages and into crowds, it’s clearly an equal-opportunity deal. Who would you like to see stage diving? Should Taylor Swift let herself be carried away by fans? Should the boys from Tokio Hotel risk dismemberment in crowd surfing? Make your pleas in the comments!