Going on tour is one of the major ways musicians get their name out there and connect with their fans around the world. While small up-and-coming artists are content to have a venue to play in at all, most worldwide pop sensations expect not only a stage set up specifically to their needs, but also a backstage area that meets all of their (and their entourages) requirements.
A rider is a contract between the venue promoter and the artist, listing everything the artist needs in order to put on a great show, and leave satisfied. Because of the star-power of some of these performers, most promoters are willing to bend over backwards in order to get them to play a show in their venue. With shows that sell out immediately, everyone is guaranteed to make money, so why not honor all of their demands?
One extreme, but iconic example of a ridiculous request included in a rider is Van Halen’s request for absolutely no brown M&Ms. It turned out that it was included just to gauge if the promoter read the entire rider thoroughly or not. If there were brown M&Ms, the band would be skeptical as to whether all of their more important specifications (like amp set up, for example) were followed correctly.
How far is too far when it comes to ensuring the utmost satisfaction of a performer? Although there are many requests that would be amusing to cover, this list is focused on the most demanding divas in the business. Read on to find out which 10 pop diva’s have had the most specific demands.
10 Katy Perry: Net worth $55 million
Katy Perry is another current pop star that puts on wild and imaginative shows that require a lot of preparation and attention to detail. For her “California Dreams Tour” she played 124 shows across North and South America, Europe, Asia and Oceania, grossing $59.5 million. The 45-page rider that went along with it made sure not to leave out a single thing. She even included a list of rules for her chauffeurs to follow, which forbade them from staring at her in their rear view mirror, starting a conversation with her, or asking for her autograph. For her dressing room, she requested white and purple hydrangeas and pink and white roses and peonies, and under no circumstances were there to be any carnations.
9 Rihanna: Net worth $85 million
For her third tour, “The Last Girl on Earth World Tour”, Rihanna played 67 shows in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia over almost a year. It grossed approximately $40 million and was a critical success. Her backstage rider was relatively short compared to her fellow divas but included an clean animal print rug, and white draping to cover any brick or concrete walls. She needed a 6 foot, white, plush couch (not leather) that was wide enough for someone to take a nap comfortably. Animal print throw pillows were also a must. Her flower requests included white tulips, freesias, and lilies. Unlike some of her peers, Rihanna’s food requests reveal that she is not overly health-conscious. Some of her snack options include Oreos, Cheddar Cheese Ruffles, Red Bull, Grey Goose vodka, Coke, Flaming Hot Cheetos, and stuffed olives
8 Christina Aguilera: Net worth $100 million
Former Mickey Mouse Club member, and pop princess, Christina Aguilera toured North America to support her first two albums Christina Aguilera and Mi Reflejo in 2000. Fellow diva-in-training Beyonce, along with the rest of Destiny’s Child was even one of her opening acts. In her rider, Christina requested a police escort to ensure she and her crew arrived at the venue without spending any unnecessary time waiting in traffic. She also asked for no plastic or styrofoam cups, and for anything recyclable to be disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way. In her list of catering requests she included a variety of organic-only fruit, vegetables, cheese, and milk. But she really showed her age (20 at the time) with her request for one small bottle of Flintstones vitamins with extra vitamin C.
As a current judge on The Voice, Christina has also been known to force the crew to re-shoot segments where she believes she looked fat.
7 Lady Gaga: Net worth $190 million
She may be relatively new to the music scene but Lady Gaga is known for her over-the-top shows, which often include multiple wardrobe changes, numerous backup dances, pyrotechnics, and complicated stage setups. Every show is a production that has to be planned and executed to the highest of standards. During her 2010 tour, “The Monster Ball” in support of her album The Fame Monster, Gaga had a list of very specific furniture requests for her dressing room. Some of them include, one large, comfortable sofa, two end tables, one coffee table, five lamps, two office size trash cans, and one full length dressing mirror. Her requests for catering include all healthy options like non-fat Greek yogurt with assorted fruit, and a smoothie station with whey protein powder.Her rider also includes specific instructions on what concert attendees are allowed to bring into the venue. She is an activist for gay rights, but she will not tolerate political banners at her concerts.
Some of Lady Gaga's requests are a little on the bizarre side, though, as she has reportedly asked for a "mannequin with puffy pink pubic hair" in the past.
6 Britney Spears: Net worth $200 million
Britney Spears was among the biggest pop stars in the world when she kicked off her Oops… I Did it Again World Tour in 2000. She played a total of 84 shows across North America, Europe and Brazil, grossing $40.5 million, which was one of the highest grossing tours of 2000. With all that money and star power behind her, she had the clout to ask for whatever she wanted in her dressing room. Some of her requests included a TV cable connection and an unlisted outgoing only telephone line. Publishing the telephone number to her room or if she received any calls would result in a $5000 fine for the promoter. Food demands ranged from generic options like fruit and vegetable platters to more specific snacks like Cool Ranch Doritos and tuna salad sandwiches made with Hellman’s mayo.
5 Jennifer Lopez: Net worth $250 million
Jennifer Lopez sang about how fame hasn’t changed her at all in her hit song “Jenny From the Block” but reports about her demands beg to differ. When she made an appearance in the music video for charity remake of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin On” she had a list of things to be in place for the few hours she spent on set. Her rider included a 45-foot trailer, a white dressing room with white tables, white drapes, white candles, white couches, and white flowers. She needed a TV/VCR and CD player in the room at all times, and provided a list of music that was acceptable to play.
Jennifer is currently a judge on the 13th season of American Idol, where she is making $17.5 million, and there is even an (unconfirmed) rumour that her boyfriend, Casper Smart, is also on the payroll because he will be choreographing all of her performances on the show. She also requires two spray tanners and an around-the-clock masseuse to be available. Her reputation as a demanding diva comes out in full force with her requests for a private plane, hundreds of expensive candles, and a fashion budget of up to $10 000 per episode.
4 Cher: Net worth $305 million
Cher’s backstage rider rivals all the young up-and-coming divas on this list. A rider from her 1999 “Do You Believe Tour” includes all the usual specific furniture and wall draping requests, and also a TV with a cable hookup that includes a movie channel. She requires an entire room just for her costumes, and another separate room to keep her wigs and head pieces, referred to as “Wig Room”. For her list of various beverages she requires black Solo cups. Her only specificity for wine is absolutely NO Kendall Jackson, leaving us to believe she must have had a bad experience with the brand. Cher, as well as her managers will also not wear their laminated backstage passes, so the security team had better know who they are.
3 Beyonce: Net worth $350 million
Nicknamed Queen Bey, Beyonce takes that title very seriously. Her rider for her “The Mrs Carter Show World Tour” (for which she was making $2 million per show) reportedly included “titanium straws which will be used to drink a special alkaline water that’s served at exactly 21 degrees”.Beyonce demanded that her dressing room have all-white walls and a sculpted ice ball to soothe her throat afters shows. She asked that a brand new toilet seat be installed at every venue before she arrived, and she needed a supply of red toilet paper to be available as well.For her Superbowl halftime show performance, she reportedly had a $22 000 crib delivered to the stadium in New Orleans for her daughter, Blue Ivy, to sleep in.
2 Mariah Carey: Net worth $500 million
In 2000, Mariah set off across Europe, Asia, and North America on her “Rainbow World Tour”, which was in support of her seventh studio album, Butterfly. The rider that promoters were responsible for adhering to was heavy on the catering demands, including a detailed menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for approximately 60 people. Soup, a salad bar, fresh cheese and crackers, and assortment of chips, dips, and salsa, as well as a selection of hot and cold main dishes were expected. She also specified that at least one vegetarian main dish would be expected at lunch and dinner to accommodate 15 people. Mariah’s dressing room had to include one chilled bottle of Cristal, two bottles of Camus white wine, various soft drinks, and juices, one box of bendy straws, and 12 bath size fluffy white towels.It has been reported that she once asked for a “staircase assistant” who would be required to test all staircases to make sure they were safe for Mariah to walk down. She also has assistants surrounding her at all times, making sure she is always filmed from the most flattering angle.
1 Madonna: Net worth $650 million
Madonna has been around for awhile, and is no stranger to long world tours to promote her music. She has figured out a way to make her time on the road as comfortable as possible, and the rider for her 2012 “MDNA” tour reflects that. Her entourage includes 30 bodyguards, personal chefs, a yoga instructor, and acupuncturist, and an on-site dry cleaner. Her dressing room has to be draped in special fabric and filled with lilies and white and light-pink roses with 6-inch stems. She also needs 20 international phone lines in her dressing room. Finally, to achieve a more homey feel in her hotel rooms, she even sometimes has her own personal furniture brought in.
The Queen of Pop even requires a brand new toilet seat to be installed in every venue. She also asks for the air conditioning to be turned off, in order to protect her vocal cords, even at shows in the middle of a heat wave. During her Confessions World Tour in London, the British health and safety council had to step in and override her demand, because fans were fainting due to extreme heat.