When you’re a world famous superstar there’ll always be people falling over themselves to try and please you. Travelling the globe and performing to millions of fans is a gruelling job, so behind the scenes a star’s management team will try and make the experience as comfortable and as gratifying as they can. When a big star enters a room they make sure you know about it, and if it’s not up to their standard then venue managers could be feeling the wrath of a disappointed diva.
There have been some true horror stories when it comes to diva attitude. Rumour has it that Mariah Carey demands a red carpet arrival at every hotel and that Van Halen once asked an aide to remove all the brown M&M’s from a large bowl. When respected source The Smoking Gun leaked celebrity backstage demands a few years ago, even those who claimed that fame had not changed them a bit were left red-faced when their over-the-top demands were on display for the world to see.
There are the standard performer essentials such as still water, fresh fruit and fresh towels. Then there are other stars who require extravagant added extras. We can’t help but feel sorry for the poor backstage assistant who has to keep up with these following big star demands.
As Béyonce has a mega contract with Pepsi she will not allow anybody around her to be seen with Coca-Cola products. If you approached Béyonce backstage at one of her gigs with a Coke in your hand then you would be instantly removed from her presence as she cannot be photographed anywhere near the fizzy favourite.
Those who are setting up a room for her arrival also must not forget that she likes the room to be kept at exactly 78 degrees to protect her voice. There should be rose scented candles and all the catering tables must be covered in white cloths. The Crazy In Love singer is worth an estimated $536 million, so it’s safe to assume she can request whatever the hell she wants – considering that, her requests seems reasonably tame.
If Rihanna is coming to stay at your venue then you had better have a fabric shop close by, because this star is specific when it comes to drapes. The Diamonds superstar requests that the drapes in her room are black or blue but with “icy-blue chiffon” layering. There must also be an animal throw in the room – either cheetah or leopard.
She demands all the floors to be thoroughly cleaned as she walks around backstage barefooted; if there is even a single dirt mark on her precious soles then we can imagine heads will fly. There must also be four square, clear vases filled with white tulips. Or else.
8. Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney is an animal rights supporter and he takes this role very seriously. He demands that absolutely no animal products be anywhere near him when he’s backstage. There is a strict ban on leather, fur and meat products. All his room furnishings must be made from wood, cotton, denim or velour. There are no loop-holes either, as even faux animal products are strictly forbidden.
McCartney must also be provided with a black stretch limousine for his arrival – but good luck finding one that has no leather seats. Plants in the dressing room can either be white Casablanca lilies, pale pink and white roses or freesias in an arrangement of colours – but remember the freesias must be mixed up so that no two colours are touching. Who would believe The Beatles star was once considered difficult to work with…?
Jay-Z only plays the biggest venues and stadiums but this might be because he needs the extra space his huge entourage. He demands not just one dressing room but seventeen. All rooms must be kept at 72 degrees, which is 6 degrees lower than his wife, Béyonce‘s, desired temperature – so they might dress separately to avoid arguments. But the 99 Problems rapper does request a loveseat, so the pair have a cosy way to diffuse their pre-show differences.
Although the hip-hop star is worth over $500 million his only snack request is for a jar of good quality peanut butter. It’s obvious that a part of him just likes to keep it real.
When Madonna began her MDNA World Tour in 2012 she shocked venue promoters with her list of very specific demands. Madonna has an entourage of 200, which includes over 20 bodyguards, personal chefs, a yoga instructor, an acupuncturist and someone who’s only job role is to pick up her dirty clothes. The Queen of Pop also requires twenty international phone lines.
Her dressing room should be covered in pink and white roses, but if the stems aren’t trimmed to exactly six inches then there’ll be trouble. Don’t think for one minute that her majesty will sit on an unsanitary toilet, either; she demands a brand new toilet seat at each venue. The Daily Star newspaper said, “Madonna has probably the longest list of requirements of any of the world’s music stars. She expects things to be just right or it puts her off her stage show”.
In her dressing room, Adele requests chicken salad sandwiches, “best quality” red wine and 20 Marlboro lights. Shockingly enough, the Rolling In The Deep singer is in fact a heavy smoker and that’s her chosen brand. She also requests a packet of chewing gum, which is probably to hide her vocal-damaging habit from those not in the know.
Ever since she burst onto the music scene in 2006 fans have fallen at her feet. Her own singing voice has been compared to “liquid gold”. Adele herself has said that she self-taught herself singing by listening to other divas. She said, “I taught myself how to sing by listening to Ella Fitzgerald for acrobatics and scales, Etta James for passion and Roberta Flack for control”. Did either of them smoke twenty-a-day, though?
If you’re left in charge of preparing Prince‘s backstage area for him then you’re likely to have a lot on your plate. The Raspberry Beret singer demands that every item – furniture, plates, cutlery, mirrors and wardrobes – must be covered in plastic shrink wrap until he uncovers it himself. It is even written on his rider in bold letters, “This is absolutely necessary”.
The singer does enjoy the finer things in life. During his frequent trips to London he takes a room at The Dorchester for $4,000-a-night. The suite includes a fully-stocked bar, a personal chauffeur and a secret lift entrance. Well known as one of the greatest performers of the century, it sure has gone to his head.
3. Marilyn Manson
You would expect Marilyn Manson to request some really creepy backstage oddities. However the Beautiful People singer’s most wanted item behind the scenes is nothing more than Haribo gummy bears. This can not be negotiated they absolutely must be the Haribo brand or Manson will throw an epic diva strop.
Manson is well-known for his on stage controversial stage manner and persona. He was married to burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese in 2007 but they divorced two years later after he was outed for having an extra-marital affair with actress Evan Rachel Wood. Von Teese obviously wasn’t impressed with her husband sharing his gummy bears with anyone else.
2. Mötley Crue
It won’t be a surprise to anyone that Tommy Lee‘s band Mötley Crue had backstage requests that were outrageous. The rock band, who became world famous after trashing hotel rooms and throwing television sets out of windows, requested: a sub-machine gun, a list of local Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and a 12-foot long boa constrictor.
Then, just so there could be a tiny bit of normality, they also ordered a jar of grey Poupon mustard. You could fill a book with crazy stories from this band, who were notoriously unruly with their fights and outrageous sexual conquests throughout their younger years. They supported KISS on tour in the late 80s but were sacked after they were caught urinating through the window of a police officer’s car.
1. Will Ferrell
We know Will Ferrell is one of the world’s funniest men but even this is pushing the comedy a bit. During his time spent travelling on a promotional tour for the movie Semi-Pro (2008) he sent a rider which beats all others when it comes to being outrageous.
The Ron Burgundy actor demanded an electric three wheel mobility scooter, a headset microphone in the style of Janet Jackson, a flight of stairs on wheels, a fake tree on wheels and finally a rainbow painted on a canvas on wheels. Although this surely must have been an elaborate prank from the comedian, we can still imagine backstage assistants running around at the last minute. Top marks to Ferrell who isn’t afraid to ask for what he really wants in life.