July 16, 2012 by thisnewb
McCartney/Springsteen Concert Ended Prematurely
The other night in Hyde Park in London, Bruce Springsteen had a concert which was supposed to end at 10:30pm but right near the end of the permitted time, Sir Paul McCartney gets up on stage and starts jamming with the Boss. Awesome right? Yeah you bet it is. The crowd goes wild as Springsteen and his E Street Band bust into some early Beatles classics including their cover of the Top Notes’ “Twist and Shout”. Two songs in, the clock read 10:40pm and the concert was stopped by organizers. The mains were silenced, and after a few seconds it was apparent to the band that the audience could no longer hear them. Stunned, Springsteen and the rest of the band waved goodbye and walked off stage to a stunneder crowd.
The immediately shocked audience had just reveled in a Springsteen performance that spanned almost three hours including guest appearances by RATM’s Tom Morello and CCR’s John Fogarty and then finished with the aforementioned McCartney snip because anytime a song you’re listening to ends prematurely, it’s like a snip – ask anybody.
Reaction from the band came mainly by way of Little Stevie Van Zandt’s twitter where he went off on British authorities:
“One of the great gigs ever in my opinion. But seriously, when did England become a police state?”
— Steven Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt)
Then, super rich Stephen Merchant tweeted:
“Ashamed to be British right now.”
- Stephen Merchant (The Office/Extras)
I totally understand the anger, everyone involved must have been awestruck when McCartney stepped out on stage and so, so so so so, soso disappointed when they all walked off in silence two songs in, but why did it end like this? I don’t know, but if I had to speculate it’d go something like this:
One has to consider the unfortunate realities of throwing a gig in a public place, especially in an open air venue, are such that you are bound to the licence you purchase and there are fines involved if you break the rules. I am not sure about the costs involved and how the organizers handled this particular show – but I know some promoters and I know that a lot of times in these open air stage shows in a public spaces, the promoter will budget some extra money in the event that the concert runs over the time the license allots them. The event I am most familiar with has a license that ends at 11pm and for every minute thereafter there is a fine. That’s right, a fine that increases EVERY MINUTE! So if you are the promoter or investor of an event and you are looking at a concert that is supposed to end at 10:30pm and at 10:40pm you’ve just spent an extra $5,000 a minute you are down $50,000. These numbers aren’t out of the the realm of reality given the amount of money that a promoter can make off of a show like this. In fact, they could be on the low side.
You also have to consider that to some people, Springsteen and McCartney together isn’t a big deal. Crazy as it may sound, some people aren’t into rock and roll and most of the time it is these fuddy-duds who are at the top of the chain of command.
So to the people who were there and to the band members who left disappointed, you just have to remember that even though rock and roll still makes money, most times it’s the other way ’round.