Column: A lot is riding on the riderBritish singer Adele has become something of a sensation over the past year. Her big voice, well crafted songs have won her fans all over the world. And while her music isn’t exactly my style, I can see the appeal.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
British singer Adele has become something of a sensation over the past year. Her big voice, well crafted songs have won her fans all over the world. And while her music isn’t exactly my style, I can see the appeal. Some of her songs were even co-written by Twin Cities performer Dan Wilson. Though he didn’t have a hand in the hit Someone Like You, which a co-worker recently pointed out is about going to an ex-boyfriend’s house to let him know she’s over him and that she’s going to prove it by finding a new man who is just like him. It’s the kind of behavior that would be remarkably creepy anywhere other than a hit pop song or a bad sitcom.
Still, there are worse performers the world’s listening public could have chosen to turn into a platinum-selling sensation. That would be the Greater Fargo Spoon and Harmonica Ensemble. But the less said about them the better.
If I have to take issue with Adele for one thing -- and I obviously don’t, but still -- it’s for her backstage rider, the document that spells out everything concert venues are required to provide when she performs. Made public by nosy website The Smoking Gun, Adele’s rider includes, among other things, a demand for sandwiches that “must NOT contain tomatoes, vinegar, chilli or citrus fruit,” which rules out my lunch most days. I do love a good vinegar and citrus sandwich.
More upsetting though, is an apparent ban on North American beer.
That, of course, is ridiculous. There are many North American beers that are superior to the Becks and other European brews Adele asks her employers to provide. Even worse, such short-sighted restrictions rule out the beer I’ve been brewing at home. And she hasn’t even tried it.
Sure, some bottles in the latest batch have what appears to be seaweed floating in them. But I’m pretty sure I can avoid that next time. And even if I can’t, maybe it would go well on one of her sandwiches.
The Smoking Gun actually has an entire section devoted to tour riders. Teen idol and potential baby-daddy Justin Bieber, for example, asks that his dressing room be stocked with a steam inhaler, t-shirts and Swedish fish -- by which I assume he means the candy and not pickled herring. It’s also possible he meant cover band Swedish Phish, which for my money is right down there with the Greater Fargo Spoon and Harmonica Ensemble -- and Justin Bieber, for that matter -- for terrible music.
The site makes a point to mention that Bieber does not demand condoms, though it’s possible he’ll rethink that now.
Other riders are even more demanding. Pop star, American Idol judge and Fiat pitchwoman Jennifer Lopez requires a dressing room decorated all in white and, for some inexplicable reason, a VCR. Does she have old recordings of Friends she hasn’t bothered to transfer to DVD?
I don’t expect to ever have enough clout to demand a backstage rider -- or even a backstage pass -- but reading some of these requirements makes me wonder what I’d want in my dressing room. Some food, probably. I’d be OK with pizza. No citrus. And good old American beer. And definitely some entertainment.
Maybe if I get famous enough J-Lo will let me borrow her Friends tapes.