Everyone knows what to expect from a music concert. The lights go down, the audience erupts into a chorus of applause and the idolised superstar arrives on stage, bursting with energy, ready to entertain the throng of their adoring fans for one night only.
It’s pretty spectacular.
But, ever wondered what happens once the curtains close and the lights go up? Are there diva tantrums? Catty fights between dancers? Tour riders demanding vitamin water to bathe pet dogs? Yes Mariah, we might be looking at you for that one, girl.
If you have, you’ve come to the right place as Metro.co.uk will give you an all-access, backstage look into what it really takes to make the tours of your favourite popstars come to life, while also reminiscing on some unique moments that made headline news.
Touring is not only an experience for the performer and the fans – the backing dancers, singers, stylists and others are also very much a part of the process and, perhaps more importantly, the backbone of these mammoth shows.
So grab your backstage pass as we get the inside scoop from Oasis’ record label executive Tim Abbot because, in this case, What Happens On Tour (Doesn’t) Stay On Tour…
‘I was proper mesmerised by him and we had a lot of groovy bands like Gillespie, Teenage Fanclub, then this 20-year-old kid rolls down and just had this presence.’
He added of Liam’s sibling: ‘Noel was really matter of fact but it’s interesting, they really looked like a band in the early days. And that’s what struck me right away, just the confidence really.
‘They were just normal people – milk and two sugars please – and then all of a sudden they could just switch on this tornado of madness and then just switch it off. As I always say, it was organised chaos.
Ah, that old organised chaos reasoning… Isn’t that just an eloquent way of saying ‘winging it’?
Not quite, according to Tim who insists there was ‘total structure’.
‘Underneath, we ran like a proper military operation. It was calculated, organised chaos,’ he explained.
Or, in other words: ‘It was eat, sleep, Oasis, repeat.’
‘Sometimes they wouldn’t go to sleep and that went for everybody. Sometimes we wouldn’t sleep for a couple of days. How we did it is pure imagination – better touring through chemistry,’ he added.
The Gallaghers were the epitome of the rock n’ roll lifestyle and their drug use while on the road was no secret.
Tim insists the rockers didn’t have a drug problem and that much of the reports were ‘blown out of proportion’.
The music exec explained: ‘I can categorically say I never saw any one of them have any issues with coke and drugs.
‘Coming off the acid house generation, I’d say two thirds of young people were doing ecstacy. It was massive.
There were too many hairdressers and not enough drug dealers on tour
‘People like doing drugs. Why? Because they f***ing like doing them. There’s a percentage of people who have addictive issues and issues upon top of issues. Sadly people fall through.’
Of the Gallaghers’ drug use, Tim continued: ‘It was controlled. I think everyone in the band is straight now.
‘It’s a sad look but at the time… there were too many hairdressers and not enough drug dealers on tour. That’s where it started going wrong for me. Creation Records, we were rock n’ roll.’
Tim laughs off Noel’s famous boastful claims that he used to sprinkle cocaine on his cereal, he admits their tour rider was mostly Jack Daniels and bottles of lager.
‘It was that exotic. But f***ing lots of it,’ he laughed with fond memories.
He added: ‘If there was five of us, we’d try and blag 10, 12 cans or bottles each. It was enough so everybody had a bottle of Jack Daniels.
‘Everybody nicks your rider anyway. If you were taking stuff back on the bus from after the gig, then life was good.’
‘Basically you’d drink yourself to sleep – apart from the driver,’ he joked.
In the midst of what Tim describes as ‘organised chaos’, there were reports of fights and brawls.
‘We weren’t threatening but definitely bolshy,’ Tim stated.
‘Touring is like that – you come in a city in America and there’s 14 of you on a bus and you’re a unit. As soon as you arrive somewhere, you have to use all your skills to get what you want.
‘You have to be quite firm so that’s why we always had strong people around us like, “Don’t f**k with us”. But we’re really nice people if you’re nice people.
‘That was the attitude, it was nice to be nice.’
They’re still in love with each other really
Of course there were occasions when the Gallaghers weren’t sparring with each other, but sometimes overzealous fans.
Tim recalled: ‘I remember some guy threw a bottle at Liam once, it didn’t break so he jumped into the audience, came back and finished the song… let’s leave it at that.
In 2009, the Gallaghers quite literally came to blows in a fight that definitively ended Oasis for good.
Noel has since claimed he walked out after Liam swung a guitar at him but Tim insists: ‘Whatever the issue was then, it wasn’t the real issue.’
He continued: ‘They’re two very nice blokes at war with each other. There was tension all along, even from the early days.
‘What people don’t see is there was still massive love there – they’re still in love with each other really.’
Tim added: ‘I personally think it was a gig too far.
‘They’d been out on tour for two years, it just broke. I don’t think there was one thing.
‘Noel couldn’t take it anymore and why should he? If you’ve got a family and that amount of money, probably got ambitions of your own…’
The epic fallout was inevitable for Tim, who said: ‘To this day, Liam is the king of the wind-up.
‘You cannot go head-to-head with him, he will eventually wear you out.’
Tim ‘hopes’ for a reunion but it isn’t looking likely with the Gallagher brothers still tearing chunks out of each other on social media and in interviews.
Oasis were the last hurrah of true rock n’ roll according to Tim.
‘You’ll never grow a band like that again organically or through word of mouth,’ he claimed.
‘I don’t think there’ll ever be a herd effect or consensus in our country that this is “our band”.
Go beyond the stage with What Happens On Tour every Wednesday.
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