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# Tricky tricky tricky
# In New York the people talk and try to make us rhyme. #
Welcome to one of the biggest nights of my year.
Run DMC are going down a storm at the Isle of Wight Festival,
and I've got a slight problem.
One of the screens isn't working.
# It's tricky to rock a rhyme,
# To rock a rhyme that's right on time
# It's tricky. #
This programme contains strong language
Hello. One, two.
'Normally I stay out of the spotlight.
'But these are paying customers, and they deserve an explanation.'
Listen, I'm really sorry about the screen. I apologise.
'It will be sorted by tomorrow but let's face it,
'what makes live music so special is the fact that it's unpredictable.'
I'm John Giddings, a promoter with over 40 years in the game,
and believe me, up there in front of thousands, anything can happen.
I had to walk out there, stinking of another man's pee.
I looked over at Damon as a pair of knickers clocked him in the eye.
By the time I got to the chorus, a bra had hit me in the face.
At that point, everything changed.
I was playing and I looked over, and this figure in a red dress
and a fox's head came out.
And we all looked at each other, and said, what the...?
Today I work with some of the biggest acts on the planet.
In my career, I've seen live music transform itself.
It has to be how many dates
we think you can do without killing you.
From a bunch of amateurs making it up as they went along...
I had to go and see Leonard Cohen in the middle of the night
and said, "Look, we don't have
"the balance of your fee. £100,000, today".
..into a billion-pound global industry.
The production was absolutely huge.
It was petrifying.
At the heart of it is a unique experience that's remained
the same all these years.
At the sound check they thought the concert was starting,
and they just came over the walls.
They trashed all the fancy seats in the front.
We were playing to the people on the street and they responded.
So that was one of the most emotional shows we ever played.
This series reveals how the music business really works -
from finding new talent to reviving old acts.
And I'm going to be telling the inside story of live music, how it's
made fortunes, built reputations, and is now more important than ever.
It doesn't get much bigger than this in live music.
I'll meet you on the stage.
U2 are the most successful live act on the planet
and, as their tour promoter, I'm involved in everything
from the choice of venue to the pricing of tickets.
You get more and more good-looking every year.
I first met U2
when they were just an up-and-coming postpunk band.
-That was, like, 20 years ago.
We were young then. We had brown hair.
# I was on the outside when you said, you said you needed me
# I was looking at myself I was blind, I could not see. #
A long way from the Hope and Anchor, isn't it?
A hell of a long way from the Hope and Anchor.
I remember when we did the Hope and Anchor, Edge had his arm in a sling.
-Tough for a guitarist.
-It's very tough for a guitar player.
I'd been driving us that morning to the car ferry in Ireland, in Dublin.
And I was going a bit fast, and I went into a corner.
I was only in a Citroen GS, so I went into a corner probably
at about 45 miles an hour,
and poor Edge went through the windscreen, so we started a tour
in the Hope and Anchor with him with his hand in an ice bucket.
You were playing the Hope and Anchor, The Police were playing
the Red Cow in Hammersmith, and The Stranglers were at the Nashville.
That was a great night out
-if you could make it to each one of them.
# Desert rose Dreamed I saw a desert rose
# Dress torn in ribbons and in bows
# Like a siren she calls to me. #
OK, here's a test, Adam. How far back in time can you remember?
-Which tour did I do first?
-That is a test...
Shall give you a clue?
-Yeah, give us a clue.
-It started in Vegas.
# Give me one more chance and you'll be satisfied. #
That was the first tour I did with you, because we were doing
The Stones in Rotterdam and what's his name, the accountant came out
and met us to talk about it. About doing the next world tour for you.
Did I have a meeting with an accountant?
-You had an accountant, I don't think he's your accountant any more.
# You're the real thing You're the real thing. #
This man protects our back.
He makes sure that when we turn up in a place, and when our crew
turn up in a place, that everything they need to put on a show is there.
So they don't have to worry about it.
We do everything behind so they can go out and give their best
to the audience, not have to worry about things not working properly.
People don't realise what good promoters do.
But they actually protect the audience,
and they protect the band, and make sure that nobody gets
ripped off, and that everybody gets the experience that they expect.
On a stadium tour like this, it all takes a small army
and it has to run with military precision.
On, like, a Monday, they come in and they lay this floor,
so that we can drive cranes, and then Tuesday
and Wednesday the steel system comes in and they build all
the structure that hangs the PA, the sound and lighting.
And then we come in Thursday,
and we attach the sound, lighting and video to it.
But as we're here in Twickenham,
on the Sunday, there's a steel system being built in Berlin
-for us to play on Wednesday.
Yes, there's about 50,000 people who have no idea what goes into a gig.
You know, and when you tell them it takes you two days to put
the steel in and eight hours to put your production in,
and you unload 33 trucks,
then they think you're bonkers.
# I want to run I want to hide. #
U2 are now the undisputed masters of this kind of epic-scale show,
but filling a vast space like this wasn't always easy for them.
When we started to play the bigger places, I think
it was the most terrifying transition you could imagine.
# Sleep comes like a drug In God's country. #
We were 27 years of age.
We'd been playing our instruments for basically seven years,
and we had this record that was a hit record in the US.
It was our moment.
When you get into one of these American football stadiums,
which is 45,000-50,000 people, it's a very different place of conflict.
# I want to run I want to hide. #
So it was very, very tough. Particularly tough on Bono
to hold an audience for two hours with very little props.
And we were doing it pre-video reinforcement.
You know, the tickets are sold. The people are there.
You've got to go out on stage and play your songs
and you hope those songs will act as shields for you and that they
will, you know, conjure up some magic.
# I want to go there with you, yeah. #
You get to do that once
and then you think, "I've got to come back with something else."
We went back and we said, "Could we do something with video?"
Nowadays we're sort of used to it.
That was really the best
and the biggest video that you could put together at that time.
The tour that we're doing at the moment, which is
The Joshua Tree 2017, we have this enormous high-resolution
screen that Anton Corbijn has put his films up against.
So do disappear, to a degree,
but you hope the music is big enough to fill the stadium.
# But I still haven't found What I'm looking for. #
That's the great thing about playing live - when you get that chemistry.
When you get that connection with the audience.
As a player, as a musician, you get freed from your self-consciousness.
You get freed from trying to think, You know, "What's the next note?"
"Where do I move next?" It just seems to flow.
And for those two hours it's almost like spacewalking.
U2's recent record-breaking 360 Degree tour grossed
over £500 million in 110 dates.
Which means that each and every night U2 play live
generates at least £5 million income.
In the 40 years I've been involved,
live music has changed beyond recognition.
Back in the '60s, the biggest acts of the day were often bundled
together to tour theatres and revue shows.
The idea was that each act would attract different fans
and the theatres would be packed.
Today some of those bills look incredible,
and there's one that really stands out for me.
In 1965, when Motown came to the UK.
It was a wonderful first tour with the Motown Revue.
Liverpool looked like Detroit to me.
I remember waking up with my boots on and I'd ran
out of shillings for the heater.
Do you know what I'm saying? Shillings for the heater.
You had to put money in the heater or you froze to death.
It was so cold, and my hit at that time was Love Is Like A Heatwave.
# It's like a heatwave Burning. #
Everybody knew the songs - they were singing, they were dancing with us.
The enthusiasm was twice what we received in America.
# Oh, it doesn't matter what you wear just as long as you are there
# So come on, ev'ry guy, grab a girl, ev'rywhere around the world
# They'll be dancing They're dancing in the street. #
The Motown revue had covered thousands of miles across the US,
playing dozens of gigs.
One, two, me and you.
But even with such popular acts as Martha Reeves
and Smokey Robinson, they couldn't always make it pay.
We had four shows a day, sometimes five.
It all depends on how long the line was first thing in the morning.
The place is full. I said, "Smokey, man, we ain't making no money."
He said, "Come here." He took me to the side of the curtain,
he opened the curtain and said, "See them four rows right there?"
"Those girls been sitting there all day." I said, "Every show?"
He said, "They haven't moved."
Now I know why we ain't making no money.
Nobody's leaving the theatre.
They brought bags, brown bags with sandwiches and shit.
I said, "Lights. They turned all the lights up.
I said, "Everybody has got to get out of here."
Do you know what I mean?
By the late '60s, with travelling revue shows on their way out,
the live music industry as we know it today began to take shape.
A live scene based around a handful of legendary venues
pulled in thousands of young music fans.
The Marquee Club in Wardour Street.
I used to put the chairs out and sweep the floors.
And I saw some fantastic bands there.
The first live gig I ever saw was the Yardbirds, with Jeff Beck.
The day he joined. Jimmy Page on bass,
and then Zeppelin, first gig at The Marquee.
I saw Hendrix at The Marquee but I had to go home before he played,
which is a pain in the arse.
Back then I had a curfew, you see.
With the live scene exploding,
anyone could have a go at putting on a gig.
Even enthusiastic amateurs.
There's Dylan on stage.
We got into it by accident, really.
It wasn't through interest in live music, particularly.
It was just my brother was invited to be a fundraiser,
trying to raise money for a swimming pool.
We didn't have one on the Isle of Wight,
or didn't have an indoor pool.
We got into looking at music events as
a fundraising activity, and the festival idea came up.
The object then was,
"Who can we put on that really will draw people across the water?"
And Bob Dylan's name came up.
# So if you're travelin' in the north country fair... #
Dylan hadn't played live for three years
and had stepped out of the public eye after a motorbike crash.
So this was the longest of long shots.
We tried for... we offered passage on the QE2 to come from America.
A holiday in a manor house, a chauffeur,
a nanny to look after his children.
You know, everything was thought through
and we were just really ambitious
and believing that you could do anything if you tried hard enough.
Somehow, these blokes with no background in music persuaded
the biggest artist in the world to sign on the dotted line.
You've got to take your hat off to them.
The moment Dylan signed the contract,
and we could go public with it and start selling tickets, we got a huge
cash flow, which meant we were in a position to really do it properly.
There was also the cash flow to pay his huge fee.
How many bookings have you had in total?
About just over 50,000 at the moment.
I should think the total number at the festival,
if the weather holds and the people keep coming, will be about 150,000.
It was a masterstroke.
A world superstar playing what was then
a sleepy backwater was a huge story.
With 75,000 or 100,000 teenagers,
there could possibly be some sort of drugs problem.
Are you concerned about it or do you feel it doesn't concern you at all?
I hope there isn't any.
Can you tell us your general views on the situation
of drug-taking among teenagers and young people these days?
I don't have any of those views.
His fee, it amounted to £37,000.
That was be about three quarters of a million in today's money.
Money and fees are usually pretty confidential,
and there's a good reason for that.
Jealousy does all sorts of strange things to acts.
And as soon as Dylan's fee was known, other artists booked to
play for much less began demanding much more.
Kit Lambert, who was the manager, got very angry
and we would be blackmailed.
He was saying things like, "Well, The Who are as big as Bob Dylan."
Which we thought was miserable.
But then in the end he gave a deadline and said,
"If this isn't sorted out by nine o'clock in the morning, that's it.
"All bets are off." There was a shakedown, obviously.
And we called his bluff, and he was calling our bluff.
They're paying us 450. They are making a fortune here.
And those days, and still now with festivals,
you don't get backend.
You don't get a piece of the backend like you do
when you play an arena.
You know, 90% of the profit after the expenses have been paid.
So we felt we were getting shafted.
At the last minute, Peter Rudge and the Foulks
struck a deal to get The Who on stage.
Double the original fee. But still a fraction of what Dylan got.
And the whole thing was such a success in 1969 they decided
to do it all again in 1970.
Maybe they should have quit while they were ahead.
And still they come by the boatload.
They mingle with the bona fide holiday makers.
The locals complain about the noise, the drugs, the litter.
The permissiveness of it all.
And then turned back to their cash registers which play
the sort of tune the local tradesmen prefer to hear.
Everyone has their first festival,
and the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 was mine.
I remember everybody at school wanted to go.
Nobody had a mobile phone, nobody had e-mails.
How the hell we managed to meet up amongst 600,000 people is beyond me.
They quadrupled the number of people on the island for that four days.
We all went skinny-dipping, I remember that.
And we camped up and it was the first time
I'd ever seen dope, actually.
They put their dope in silver paper and tomato sauce
so that the police dogs couldn't smell it.
The main body of police is based on a barn on the other
side of the main road outside the site.
Their job is to patrol the roads and villages, just keeping an eye on the
fans who have been arriving all day at the rate of over 1,000 an hour.
You know, you could get promoted from constable to inspector
if you busted 50 kids at the Isle of Wight, right?
I mean, you just have to walk into any tent. You're like, "Come on."
It wasn't about music. It was about culture, alternative culture.
About, you know,
young kids not playing by the rules that their parents had established.
That society had established.
And just this tribal gathering on the Isle of Wight to celebrate
these crazy drug-ridden artists.
And it was really threatening for people.
It was four days of the best bands you could ever think of.
Strange as it sounds today, some of the crowd
didn't think they should pay to see this incredible show.
Even though tickets cost just £3 -
a pretty good deal even then.
Irate, militant pop fans of storm defences.
They believe that pop music should be free.
Isle of Wight was a tricky one.
It wasn't so much that it was chaotically organised,
it's just that they didn't anticipate 600,000 people showing up
and they didn't anticipate the degree of anger and violence
that came with people demanding to be allowed to get in free.
Financially at the moment it's pretty grim.
The loss on the gates to date is about £50,000.
The kids sitting out front had no idea what was going on backstage.
I had to go and see Leonard Cohen, for instance,
in the middle of the night and said, "Look,
"we haven't got the balance of your fee."
I think he was due another £5,000 or something - due a lot of money.
That would be £100,000 today.
And I said, "Look, I fully understand that you probably won't
"want to go on now and there's nothing we can do."
And he said, "Look, we've come all this way. We're going to do it."
He said, "Don't worry, I can see it's not your fault.
"We're going to do it." And he did the most fantastic performance.
# I loved you in the morning Our kisses deep and warm
# Our hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm
# Yeah, many loved before us I know we are not new
# In city and in forest They smiled like me and you. #
I don't think we or many of the acts got paid at all.
And we knew that when we went on. We knew they had no money.
We knew the whole thing was a, you know, was a busted flush.
And, you know, we knew we weren't going to get paid
and we were one of the headliners so let's just try and to make it OK.
And we did.
You say that financially it's a disaster at the moment.
Any plans for another one next year or could this be the last
-Isle of Wight pop festival?
-I think it will be.
Ray and his brothers might well have broken the promoters'
golden rule of not paying the bands,
but with 600,000 people turning up to their gig,
they also demonstrated
the amazing pulling power of live music to an entire generation.
Great live acts were in massive demand.
And bands took to the road to try and build up their fan base.
One of them was Jethro Tull, whose live shows help them
-become one of the world's biggest bands.
-We toured with Led Zeppelin.
The two bands between us I think had four road crew. Between us.
That was the way to do it. For a while Zeppelin were like us -
making serious money because the expenses were very low.
And we were playing in, you know, 15,000-, 20,000-seat arenas.
So that was very profitable.
And then they had to have their own jet and the big entourage and
sort of, I suppose they fell in the same pattern as did The Stones and
other people who famously would take vast numbers of people on the road.
And out there on the road, even playing in front of adoring fans
can be a strange way to make a living.
I remember standing ready to go out where the stage was set up,
and I was waiting there for our cue,
and suddenly I was soaked from something from above.
And somebody had poured, you know, a pint pot
of urine over my head from high above.
And I had to walk out there stinking of another man's pee.
Somewhere in the New York area I got hit.
I thought I'd been shot because
I suddenly felt something hit my chest,
and I was wearing an open-neck shirt,
and I saw blood and I thought,
"Is it what they say about the adrenaline kicking in -
"you can't feel the pain?"
I kind of looked down and I saw what looked like a little
piece of string, and I pulled it and out came a freshly plucked tampon,
which have been hurled at me with amazing, unswerving accuracy.
Hit me in the chest and slid down inside my shirt.
By the mid-1970s,
most bands didn't tour just to earn money from ticket sales.
More and more it was pushed by record labels as
a way for acts to market and sell their latest albums.
A band like the Rolling Stones could add up to half a million
album sales by touring.
# Honky tonk woman. #
And a new breed of professional tour manager emerged.
My old friend Peter Rudge
practically wrote the job description.
The pressures are kind of attention, which is based on the bands.
I don't understand it. I suppose if I understood it there'd be no magic to the group, you know?
-You've been doing it for long enough, haven't you?
-Not as long as them. I'm not that old.
The Stones were the kingpins in what was a golden age of massive
bands and vast tours, shifting huge amounts of vinyl.
When The Rolling Stones go through town in the '70s
it was anarchic in those days.
It really was.
We were making up the rules as we went along.
I mean, most of the time was spent trying to find somewhere to
accommodate - most hotels wouldn't take them.
The Rolling Stones are asleep.
Four trucks and 30 tonnes of equipment are already
arriving for the next gig, 300 miles away.
With The Rolling Stones, the tour manager became part drinking buddy,
part chaperone and part sergeant major.
I mean, it was security, to enclose them as much as you could against
whether it be the press looking for a cheap story,
whether it was the police looking for a cheap bust,
whether it was groupies just going to cause trouble.
All the pressure you're talking about, which reduces others
to a wreck, it's having a fair effect on you, by the look of it.
Well, you don't look so good yourself
and you've only been on it five days.
There was a lot of drunks about.
Yes, there was a lot of drink about. Everyone was the same.
It was the labels, it was the promoters, you know, we all got in
it for our reasons and none of them were particularly mature reasons.
We were playing to a lot of people.
You can really destroy a budget
if you allow excess to be spent on production.
I managed to keep it, you know, the margin there.
On the Starfucker tour, yeah, we had the plastic penis.
Wasn't that expensive - it was just plastic.
The fact it was a penis was the thing that got people's attention.
In some parts of America Peter's penis had to be
swapped for a finger.
We used to do a lot of things with the Stones.
Like Mick flying out over the audience on a rope just hung
over a lighting truss.
It didn't cost a thing.
Or throwing water over himself, you know,
some of those gags looked great and memorable when they cost tuppence.
We have to give all the money to the Revenue, bless them.
They should really be promoting the tour.
-Are the Stones doing very well out of it?
They won't make any money at all out of Britain.
I can look you in the eye and tell you that.
You could look me in the eye and tell me anything.
-Are you doing very well out of it?
-Yeah, what's in it for you?
It's a living, that's all.
Hang on, I saw you arrive in a Bentley this afternoon,
-what kind of a living is that?
-It was an old one.
The way you can get lost is the amount of lights and lasers now
and things of that nature, it's obscene.
Ed Sheeran will go on stage at Glastonbury Sunday night with
just a guitar.
I'd love to be his manager. That's a healthy margin.
The '70s was the era when everything was up for grabs.
The rules of live music were still being written
and one band in particular was breaking the mould.
Genesis, you know, we didn't get radio play.
We totally relied on live shows.
We all realise we look the same as anybody else,
all I wanted to do was play the drums
and Tony, Mike and Steve had, I think
they would admit to having zero personalities on stage.
Peter grew to be eccentric on stage.
But he wasn't a naturally eccentric person.
I am the voice of Britain before the Daily Express.
We kind of wanted to illustrate the music better than, "You all right?
"You all right? Good evening, Watford," you know.
I mean, we wanted to do it in a different way.
Stage presentation became something that we took quite seriously.
Genesis' ambition for a great visual show culminated
when they toured concept album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.
The Lamb is a very ambitious album.
I'd already committed to a tour in America.
Because it was a concept album they wanted to play the whole album,
double album, as it should be heard.
And so what happened was the record came out the week
we started touring.
We finished the album on a Friday
and on the Monday we were in Chicago, you know.
Nobody knew it, nobody's heard it.
Very difficult with new material
because people do not like new songs.
They like the songs that they've paid the ticket price to come
So we ended up going on the road, playing a whole double album
worth of new material that the audience didn't know.
There were three projection screens with six projectors.
They would never synchronise with each other and slides would fall
out and it would stop and carousels get stuck and God knows what.
# You gotta get in to get out.. #
Peter coming out of this blown-up penis as a sperm was quite
an interesting concept!
And he had this stupid costume which he could never get a mic
Half the time the vocals were missing cos you couldn't hear him.
The tour was about 105 shows all over Europe and America.
It was like you went away to war, you know,
you went away and you hoped you were going to come back.
And when you did come back, your kids were driving
and married with three children!
Eventually the relentless touring paid off.
Genesis, minus Peter Gabriel, became one of rock music's biggest
live bands, and record sales followed -
although it would be 15 years before The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
would earn them a gold disc.
It's now looked upon, retrospectively, as our masterpiece.
But believe me, people didn't think that at the time.
"Get off! Play something we know!"
# As you glide in your stride
# With the wind as you fly away
# Give a smile from your lips and say... #
The first band that managed to combine theatrical shows with
massive pop success were one of America's biggest-selling funk
and soul bands of the 1970s - Earth, Wind & Fire.
But their unstoppable rise started with a hard
lesson at the hands of the wildest funk band of them all.
# Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah! #
We were opening for the Funkadelics
and that was a night we'll never forget.
For a couple of reasons.
First off, the Funkadelics killed us.
We went on, you know, we were the flower children from LA and we went
on and did our thing and everyone was,
"Yeah, yeah, that was very nice."
And then all of a sudden, man, the Funkadelics struck up this groove.
It was like...
HE MIMICS UPBEAT MUSIC BEAT
..followed by a cloud of smoke.
And they proceeded to just fry us.
-HE MIMICS UPBEAT MUSIC BEAT
To this day all of us remember that groove.
Of course, after that we all went back to LA and Maurice said,
"That'll never happen again."
# Dance... #
That was our first spanking.
But we only got spanked once.
# Dance... #
Then we rehearsed, rehearsed, rehearsed, rehearsed.
Gradually the band became masters at getting the crowd's attention.
Our intro, we started in a lotus position, you know,
like a meditation position. That was our intro.
And they were throwing stuff at us.
I mean throwing everything, calling us names.
For about...five to ten minutes we just sat there and we just...
They were like, "What the...?"
And we finally got up and started playing.
It was incredible.
I brought in the magic and the special effects.
I would do bass solo and I would levitate.
It was hard to do. It's all timing, timing.
He'd be playing and he'd be totally horizontal.
Can't tell you how we did it.
I rehearsed that part of the show for two months straight -
just that part. Just that part.
One of the best finales ever was us walking up these steps
and getting inside this metal pyramid.
The pyramid would rise up.
And it would collapse.
And there would be nobody inside.
While that was going on, these androids were walking out on stage.
And when the pyramid collapsed it would take their helmets off.
And it was us.
Can't tell ya.
We were doing something very special
and because no other act was incorporating that kind of
technology at that time we knew we had something different, for sure.
Michael Jackson and his brothers would come to our show.
Michael was sitting there taking notes.
OK, can someone tell me where the media bit is in the hotel?
By the time I started booking bands in the mid-1970s the live
music scene was exploding with raw energy.
# I am an...
# I am an anarchist... #
Punk shunned expensive lights and stage costumes in favour of
attitude, and it reclaimed live music as a slightly dangerous experience.
# Enemy... #
I rented a flat in West Kensington.
I went over the road and there was this group on stage and the
lead singer had a Pink Floyd T-shirt and he'd written "I hate" across it.
I thought, how can you hate Pink Floyd?
And the audience were jumping up and down,
which I later learned was called pogoing,
and he was stubbing live cigarettes out on his arm.
It was the Sex Pistols. I mean, it was amazing. Absolutely amazing.
The thing about seeing a punk band live was that they weren't
really supposed to be able to play well.
Those bands that could made the music press suspicious.
# When you live so many miles away... #
None more so that this band - The Police.
A bunch of proper musicians trying to ride the punk wave
but never quite fitting in.
It was very easy for us to get gigs
and not only was it easy for us to get gigs,
we got everyone else's gigs, too.
The Jam, they were managed by Paul Weller's dad.
He didn't know how to hire a truck or a PA system. I did.
I was a professional tour manager.
I tour managed Curved Air, Renaissance, Joan Armatrading.
I knew how to book a truck.
And so Rebecca's in Birmingham would say,
"There's no band, can you get up here?"
Yup, I can get up there.
And The Police ended up playing a lot of slots where the punk
band, the headliner, couldn't get organised to make it to the show.
And by the way, their attitude was,
"Ha-ha-ha-ha, that's how revolutionary we are.
"We don't even show up to our own gigs!" We showed up.
And we were not that popular cos people wanted to see The Slits
and it would be us instead.
# Giant steps are what you take
# Walking on the moon... #
In England the British journalists had exposed us as a fraud,
which was true, and as carpetbaggers - also true.
And so we figured we could go over to America where
they didn't realise we were wrong 'uns.
# We could walk forever... #
And so we would go over there with short hair, peroxided,
hostile attitude, collars turned up, the whole thing, and we would
jam all night and the Americans didn't know that we were fakes.
# Walking back from your house... #
One of our famous dates was in Poughkeepsie.
It was Super Bowl night and it was a huge blizzard.
And so there was nobody in the club but three people.
Well, one of them was the boss DJ from this station, one of them was
the boss DJ from that station, so we played our show
and those three guys went back to
their stations and started playing our record hard, heavy rotations.
# Some may say
# I'm wishing my days away
# No way... #
And it started to make noise and so out of Los Angeles they send their
artists relations guy who showed up in some miserable city
somewhere and he saw the band
and called up the next morning to Jerry Moss - the M of A&M Records -
and says, "This is important."
And from that day forward everything changed.
The Police did break America, then UK, Europe,
and pretty much everywhere else.
The band became pioneers in the fledgling business of global touring.
And we had an idea.
It was really our manager, my brother Miles, who said,
"Let's take this out, let's go somewhere new."
where they've done all the bookings for the tickets and everything.
We're now about the lady and she'll tell us about it.
These very nice Indian ladies,
the Time & Talents Club, and they were bringing
culture, usually a string quartet or a little opera piece.
The Time & Talents Club has been in existence for the last 46 years.
We are a band of ladies, all working.
This is called I Can't Stand Losing You.
Of course, the equipment hassles, the electricity...
"Where's the plug?"
# I called you so many times today
# I guess it's all true what your girlfriends say... #
On the soundcheck they thought the concert was starting
and they just came over the walls.
They trashed all the fancy seats in the front where all
the people who paid for the show...
# But I'm not prepared to go on like this
# I can't, I can't, I can't stand losing... #
We were playing to the people on the street
and they responded exactly the way an audience in Leeds would respond.
Which was pretty cool, actually.
That was one of the most emotional shows we ever played.
Thank you! Goodnight!
At the height of their success The Police were playing
over 100 shows every year.
Their relentless touring around the world paid off and they sold
tens of millions of albums globally before they split up in 1986.
To me, they set the benchmark for all up-and-coming bands to follow.
You know, we're on the verge of over-exposing ourselves.
The fourth British tour we've done this year.
Yup, that's me with one of them, Big Country,
trying to explain to them how touring works.
-So who works out the ticket price?
-I work out the ticket price.
-And how's that done?
-I decide it on the basis of your level of success
and what other groups are charging across the board.
So that comes from just comparing other people's situations?
Yeah, I mean, go above. £4.50, £3.50 in the provinces,
this level of success, I think, is pushing it.
# Oh, Lord
# Where did the feeling go... #
You can't do seven nights on the trot or else you lose your voice
and we have to cancel three gigs in-between.
You have to know the demands each group has.
Like, The Stranglers can work 25 gigs in a row.
But you guys have to have, like, three on, day on, day off,
-four on, day off...
That's the theory.
You keep doing all this other stuff, you're meant to have days off.
# Oh, Lord
# Where did the feeling go... #
Of course, I'm a nice guy and I listen to my artists,
but sometimes record companies trying to get bands to
promote their records aren't always so understanding.
Here's something that you probably don't know or haven't thought
much about but it's in the mind of a musician -
they think about it constantly -
and that is the number of shows in a row,
how many shows you'll do per week.
If they had their way,
you would never get a lunch break in your whole life, you would
play every night of the week and maybe even do matinees, right?
But this will fuck you up if you do that for too long.
# I've been caught stealing
# Once, when I was five
# I enjoy stealing
# It's just as simple as that... #
You guys travel, right?
You do one day in the airport, how do you feel the next day?
Like you need a fucking vacation from the vacation.
But you know you're doing that, so check this out,
you're either on a plane every day or on a bus every day.
The plane takes more out of you.
You'd think, well, but you get there quicker
but, no, meeting those people in the airport that are, you know, making
you take shit out of your bag or taking shit out of your bag for you.
# I walk right
# Through the door... #
And you have to push 'em back and say,
"I'm going to do two shows in a row then my voice needs a rest."
Like a basketball player.
You don't ask Kobe Bryant to fucking play five nights in a row,
or LeBron James.
Why you asking me to fucking scream?
# And she did it just like that
# When she wants something... #
Forced to spend weeks and months together,
artists need to get along, but it doesn't always work out that way.
Perry Farrell ended up in an on-stage fight
with Jane's Addiction's guitarist and the band split up.
Other very public meltdowns have passed into legend,
like this one from Green Day's singer
for being told to finish his set.
Gimme a fucking break. One minute left.
One minute fucking left. You're going to give me fucking one minute?
And you're going to give me one fucking minute?
You gotta be fucking kidding me!
Let me show you what one fucking minute fucking means.
As a promoter I don't mind this sort of thing.
It's all part of the great unpredictable world of live music.
By the early '90s, to have any real hope of making it,
aspiring bands had to master a bit of rock 'n' roll mayhem.
Blur's early gigs were completely chaotic.
Frenetic, raucous, drunken,
chaotic rampages, really.
Ha! Our first gig, we got beaten up by the other support band.
Graham had to go to hospital.
# She's a 20th century girl... #
It was quite an aggressive environment.
There was one point, I had two black eyes.
One from Graham and one from Dave.
You know, we did used to fight quite bitterly
but there was never really any question of us splitting up.
I think we were all convinced that we were meant to be together.
If Blur didn't gel immediately as a viable live act,
with so many venues, they could work their way up.
A band's ascent to world domination
happens without you really noticing it.
You start off playing to your mates at college,
you know, playing to 20 or 30 people.
Then you're playing to 100 people at the Camden Falcon.
It happens by degrees.
Like any up-and-coming band, Blur reached the point
where they needed the record label to foot the bill for their gigs.
It's expensive to take a band on the road. You know,
it's not just the band and hotels and transport.
You've got, like, all your roadies and your lighting crew, PAs,
and you don't make money out of playing little clubs to 200 people.
Your break even point's probably, sort of, Brixton Academy,
playing to about 3,000 or 4,000 people.
But to fill venues like that,
you need songs that people know and love.
You need hits.
We decided to start with a song that we'd just written.
Rowntree started banging the bass drum.
They started punching the air at that point.
And then the keyboard riff slammed in and they all started chanting.
And I ripped in with the bass.
And by the time I got to the chorus,
like, a bra had hit me in the face.
And I looked over at Damon
as a pair of knickers clocked him in the eye.
And, I think, sort of, at that point, everything changed.
# Street's like a jungle
# So call the police
# Following the herd
# Down to Greece
# On holiday
# Love in the '90s
# Is paranoid
# On sunny beaches
# Take your chances
# Looking for
# Girls who are boys who like boys to be girls... #
Suddenly, you're headlining Glastonbury,
playing to 100,000 people or more
and, I think, at one point,
we played to a million people
in the big square in Rome.
That was a great day.
By the time Blur were playing in front of a million people,
not only had the band hit the jackpot,
but the label would have earned back every penny
it ever invested in them,
but if that was rock music in the 1990s,
pop was a different story.
One act managed to become the biggest pop band in the world
without ever having properly played live at all.
# Yo, I'll tell you what I want What I really, really want
# So tell me what you want What you really, really want
# I'll you what I want What I really, really want...
# So, tell me what you want What you really, really want
# I wanna, I wanna, I wanna
# I wanna, I wanna really, really, really wanna zigazig ah!
# If you want my future Forget my past... #
When the Spice Girls arrived onto the scene,
there was a really healthy rock scene, or Britpop scene,
and the grunge scene had been over in the US.
So, there was, kind of, this, you know,
you had the pop tarts versus the guys
who'd been in their bedrooms, you know, the person in their garage.
# Make it last for ever Friendship never ends... #
I was lucky enough to be a Spice Girl
and I was actually quite surprised
how little time you spend performing.
There's so many interviews to do, TV shows,
and then a lot of your performances, you're miming,
and it's really frustrating as an artist.
# If you wanna be my lover You gotta get with my friends... #
A lot of people in the music industry have worked their way up,
we were, kind of, going in - we really were very successful at this point,
but we'd never done a full live show.
But you've got to give it to them,
they wanted to prove themselves as a live act
and after two smash albums
and craziness that drew comparisons to Beatlemania,
their first full show was scheduled for Istanbul.
The microphone is jumping all over the place and I was trying to,
sort of, dance in time and...
So much pressure on us.
The production was absolutely huge and it was petrifying.
That was probably one of the most terrifying nights of my life.
Everybody was waiting for it
and everybody was waiting for us to fail.
I think people expected us to not be able to sing live.
I think people expected, probably, not a lot of the show to be live.
# If you can't dance If you can't dance
# If you can't dance If you can't dance
# If he can't dance it means you can't do nothing for me, baby
# If you can't dance If you can't dance
# If you can't dance If you can't dance
# If you can't dance it means you can't do nothing for me, baby... #
It's almost an out-of-body experience, and you do it,
but you can't even remember what happens.
# If you wanna be my lover! #
Nothing can prepare you for that amount of adrenaline.
The Spice Girls, the biggest pop group on the planet,
did a world tour and sold over two million tickets
on the back of their albums,
but they were the exception.
In the '90s, we were still living by the old rules.
Record sales were still huge, making up nearly 80% of a band's income.
It wouldn't last.
No-one knew it at the time but revolution was coming.
Thanks to the internet and file sharing sites like Napster.
When I first heard about Napster, I was in this office,
we had to find the one person
with a PC computer in our office
and she typed some stuff in, right,
and we saw...
I don't know, 50 versions of Enter Sandman.
Was there a sinking feeling that the game was up? Yes.
I'd have to say that we realised that the handwriting,
someone was writing on the wall.
Maybe they hadn't written it clearly yet,
but they were putting their hand on the wall and writing.
So, yes, I'd say we knew that we were in deep shit.
# Say your prayers, little one Don't forget, my son
# To include everyone
# Tuck you in, warm within Keep you free from sin
# Till the sandman he comes... #
Downloading and illegal file sharing didn't quite kill
recorded music, but it did put it into intensive care.
Record sales nearly halved in the course of just five years.
The whole business model was turned on its head
and bands were forced out on the road
to make a living from the concerts themselves.
And that's when live music exploded.
We haven't made a record in years.
You know, and that is just what we do. We play in front of our fans.
You know, rock bands have always had to bring it to the fans.
# Exit light, what is it?
-# Enter night!
# Take my hand
# Off to never-never land... #
And, guess what, the fans couldn't get enough of it.
Demand went through the roof and ticket prices soon followed.
We did some tests, you know, in the last couple of years,
we realised the top price
for a Metallica ticket could be much higher than it used to be.
And we charged it and there was no audience pushback,
you know, on it, so shows that might have made X now make 3X.
It's really, the ticket price thing has changed everything.
Today, a Metallica ticket can cost you up to £100.
Thank you very much, France!
And with Platinum passes, meet and greet and VIP entry,
it can be much more.
You make us feel good!
Live music is now worth nearly a billion to the UK each year.
A large slice of that is down to this.
The music festival.
The Isle of Wight Festival that first inspired me went bust in 1970.
It was resurrected a few years ago.
Now, I'm the guy who has to make sure the artists get paid,
the big screens are working, amongst plenty of other things.
It's going to cost me a fortune in damage, all this grass.
I have to reinstate it to how I found it.
If it gets too hot, it turns into a dust bowl
and you have to pay for that damage, as well.
Quite good fun.
I can still remember the thrill of coming here
for my first festival as a 17-year-old.
And I still get a huge buzz from bringing 60,000 people together
to share the experience of live music.
My crowd is just the tip of the iceberg.
Last year, there were over 14 million tickets sold
for music festivals in Britain.
I'm just hoping it don't rain.
Because, even though I've got boots on,
I like my boots to be sparkling clean.
Otherwise, it's going to be a rocking good time!
# It's tricky to rock a rhyme
# To rock a rhyme that's right on time, it's tricky
# It's tricky, tricky, tricky... #
For acts at the top of the bill, like Run DMC
and this guy, Rod Stewart...
..there's great money to be made.
For less established acts, there's the chance to meet new fans
and establish reputations.
-# ..How you broke my heart... #
Come on, then!
It's a blast and great value for money, but then,
I would say that, wouldn't I?
There's one piece of advice I'd give to all the bands...
..just play the hits.
It's a great thing to do a festival, but for me,
it's got that romance of everything that rock and roll is about.
I just remember the first time us standing on a giant stage
with, you know, thousands of people and you suddenly go back in time
and you feel like you're at Woodstock or something.
Being in the open air and standing on stage
and people just ready, having an amazing time.
So we just go... "Hit them with the hits!"
# I don't want a lover
# I just need a friend... #
Four million people in the UK
will go to over 1,000 music festivals this year.
And that's just part of a huge multi-million pound music scene.
In the end, regardless of how the business of live music has changed,
when it comes down to it, it's always been about one thing -
the joy of the shared experience.
And just for a little while, nothing else matters
and you're lost in the moment.
And that's why I still love this job.
I've been a lousy husband. I haven't really seen my kids grow up,
but it's part of what you are - performing.
We are the reason why people gather,
but once they have gathered, it's their event.
You know, something else happens.
Being on the road most of my life, it's a heavenly place to be.
I'm a terrible housekeeper
and my cooking, you know, nobody's asking me to cook dinner for them.
But when I'm on stage, that's the only time that
I feel that I'm really me.
I love her. She is fabulous.
Music promoter John Giddings takes us on an entertaining ride behind the stage lights to tell the story of how live performance has become a billion-pound industry.
As the founder and promoter of the modern Isle of Wight festival and one of the world's biggest live promoters, John knows more than most how to put a show on the road. And how the world of live performance has changed.
Where once bands would tour to promote an album, in the age of downloads and disappearing record sales, the live arena is a huge business. Bigger than ever before.
For a genuine behind-the-scenes insight into the scale and logistics of the modern mega-tour, John takes us backstage at U2's latest stadium spectacular. We also join John behind the scenes at Isle of Wight 2017, the festival he runs and where Rod Stewart and Run DMC are among the big names on the line-up.
But we also travel back to tell the story of the original Isle of Wight Festival, where a bunch of young promoters with big ideas persuaded Bob Dylan, The Who and Leonard Cohen to perform. A tale of unpaid artists, frantic last-minute negotiations and general mayhem, it was an event that transformed the music industry. And for a young John Giddings, who was in the audience, it was the beginning of a whole career.
Along the way, some of the biggest names in rock and pop share their insights from life on the road and how the world of live performance has changed.
Phil Collins reminisces about his youthful trips to the Marquee Club. Earth, Wind & Fire reveal the extraordinary planning that went into their theatrical stage shows. Stewart Copeland recalls The Police's pioneering international tours, including a memorable visit to India at the invitation of a local women's organisation, The Time and Talents Club. Melanie C talks of her nerves taking to the road with the Spice Girls, who unlike most touring bands had no real experience of live performance. And Alex James remembers the thrill of live performance but also the reality behind some of their tours... not just to please the fans but to pay the taxman.