What are your criteria when deciding on a private/corporate show?
Firstly the date and the financials (obviously).
Secondly, what impact the time spent travelling to/from the event would have on the activities planned in the days before and after. I would then look at the client, deciding whether it is the ‘right’ kind of client with whom to be associated and also whether the artist actually likes said client/brand. Finally I would take into consideration how the offer came to us (i.e. via a trusted company). Oh, and a smaller thought is who will be in the room, could someone witnessing the show create opportunities (eg. further shows, sponsorship) for the artist in the future.
People may think the artist(s) just have to turn up for a private/corporate show. Could you tell us how much preparation and necessary conditions are needed for an artist to perform?
To be honest if we can do it that simply we’d be happy. Understanding the client’s expectations is important. Do they require a full band show to get everyone up on their feet and dancing? Or a quieter, more personal affair with the artist performing solo and intercutting songs with entertaining tales of life on the road? Understanding the ask is key. From this we can work out what scale of production is required: How many musicians, what equipment, staging, PA gear etc. Most clients will employ an events organiser and/or production company to ensure smooth running and this make our life much easier. Occasionally no such infrastructure exists, so we can advise on suppliers or even supply ourselves. In addition to the production, we need to be aware of all other requests, however small. Would they like a ‘meet and greet’ with the artist? Is media in attendance, if so who? Is any record of the event being created? Will there be ‘official’ photos, or will the clients expect ’selfies’? Is any filming or recording to take place – this would normally require clearance from the artists’ record label, and thus require some weeks’ prior notice. Often a client asks to be able to give the attendees a gift by which to remember the night, so we can arrange for CD’s by the artist to be provided for each guest for example, given enough notice. On a practical note, we would expect the client to arrange or pay for travel and accommodation for artist/band and crew. And to provide a suitable ‘green room’ for the travelling party to use for the duration of the event. And to feed them.
The best events are those where expectations are exceeded by all parties; where people are professional, courteous and, well, nice. A job is a job, but its always better if we all end up in the hotel bar together toasting a truly successful evening.
Could you share a memorable moment from a corporate/private show that was very special?
There are many, many wonderful memories from shows in all four corners of the globe. My favourite however was close to home, at Abbey Road Studios in London. It was a solo concert by Jamie Cullum, I think for accounting firm Ernst & Young. A performance by Jamie is something not easily forgotten. He is truly the greatest entertainer of his generation. Never have I met someone so attuned to an audience that he knows what they want before they do, and will switch his set accordingly, swooping from heart breaking ballad to launching from atop his piano during a big pop number. Jamie is as likely to be singing a capella in the middle of the room as he is to be lost in the crowd after inviting all the guests to join him on stage, always, ALWAYS with the audience in the palm of his hand.
This particular gig was his usual top notch affair, but the stories he told between songs related to the room we were all in, Studio 1 at Abbey Road. Jamie recounted tales of the many times he had recorded there, and talked of the albums that had been recorded in the very space the event was being held. From Edward Elgar to Kanye West, Fats Waller to Sam Smith. Queen and The Beatles. They had all breathed the same rarified air as we do. John Williams even recorded the theme tune to Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Imperial March for Star Wars there, both of which Jamie played as he eloquently enthralled the audience. Goose bumps all round. It was quite magical.
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