Access All Areas April 2019 - Page 30

APRIL | COVER FEATURE H arvey Goldsmith CBE is one of the most legendary names in the music industry. He toured with the Rolling Stones, organised Live Aid alongside Bob Geldof, and is currently at the forefront of the experiential world with his new agency Nvisible. Access sat down with Goldsmith at the Event Production Awards in February to hear same tales from his long career, and what direction the industry is heading in. Goldsmith at Actavo’s stand during the Event Production Show 2019 In the recent Queen film, Bohemian Rhapsody, Live Aid takes centre stage. Did the film bring back memories for you? I’m gobsmacked at how well Bohemian Rhapsody has done. It’s the highest grossing music biopic ever, and that’s extraordinary. Freddie Mercury was one of our most treasured talents, but Queen really appeared at the event by accident. We held a big press conference in Wembley stadium, and the amount of media in attendance was crazy. Bob Geldof got up to announce which acts were playing and rattled off every act you’ve ever heard of, including Queen – who knew nothing about this whatsoever, and were touring in New Zealand at the time. I kept kicking Bob under the table every time he announced a new act, and Queen’s manager called afterwards and said: “People are talking about us being involved in a new gig! What are you talking about? We’re on tour!”. “But,” he said, “now we’ve been announced I guess we don’t have a choice!”. I deliberately chose the time slot for Queen when programming the sets, as I just knew they’d rev the audience up. On the night, I remember Freddie was really pumping himself up backstage to let rip and they just tore the place apart. The rest is legend, and we got £800m at the box office. How did the event come about? 30 When Bob came to see me, I was certainly aware of what was going on in Africa. The surplus food we produced just down the road contrasted with the pictures on the television showing all these people starving. These were truly horrific scenes, but when Bob went to Africa he realised that it was just the tip of the iceberg. It was a weird time. I’d just overseen Bruce Springsteen at Wembley and was managing Roger Waters’s solo album, which we were launching in New York. After that I was on my way to meet Wham! And, frankly, when this opportunity came to me I couldn’t wrap my head around it. But the day after I got home, Bob was there and he said: “We’ve got to do this”, and the journey began. How hard was the event, logistically? I insisted we had a clean stage at all times. We set up three stages on a turntable, with one band in the front ready to go, and one ready to go off, so we kept it continuous. We were very conscious of keeping the right timing. I spent most of my time saying: “I don’t care when a band goes on, but I care when they go off”. I even wore a huge clock around my neck all day to remind people of time. If a band went on too late it was out of their time. I spent my whole time on and around the stage managing really, really tight changeovers. We had a lot of crew on stage who were all geared up for it. They did a tremendous job. Which other events do you reflect on especially fondly? The biggest concert I did was The Wall in Berlin. 400,000 turned up for that. Most big open air shows aren’t so much about the music, they’re about the largesse of the event and people gathering together, but the one that stands out as being all about the music was the Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton show at Blackbushe in 1978 for 175,000 people. It was an amazing event! Which events do you look back on and cringe? One stand out gig that could have been a disaster was a Pavarotti concert. The night before the event, the police were concerned people wouldn’t have enough water for the heat, but it started raining and didn’t stop until the next morning. The concert went ahead, regardless, and it was a great classical concert with a 96 piece orchestra – who were under cover – but when Princess Diana decided to get rid of her flunkies with umbrellas, the whole concert really took off and it was extraordinary. Another experience I look back on and cringe over was when I ran