this is how they designed their rock show

Anyone who has ever seen The Rolling Stones perform live knows that gentlemen do not get rid of it with a vengeance. It is not without reason that they are responsible for some of the most successful world tours in history. But how does such a rock show occur?

Anyone familiar with the glorious images of the first Dutch performance of The Rolling Stones at the Kurhaus in 1964 will see that much has changed when it comes to pop concerts. First, there is no reason for police officers to pull Stones fans out of the curtains or avoid flying chairs. In addition, the performance from almost sixty years ago looks very primitive to those who have attended a pop concert in the last three decades, especially one of The Rolling Stones. Since 1989, the British company Stufish Entertainment Architects has been responsible for the stage designers of Stones. In the afternoon for the planned The Rolling Stones concert in Johan Cruyff ArenA, we talk to CEO Ray Winkler. Later that evening, it is announced that Mick Jagger has tested positive for COVID-19. On July 7, Jagger and co. catch up on their concert.

The Rolling Stones on Anniversary Tour

Winkler started in 1996 as an intern at Stufish. A year later, he is already participating in the Stones’ Bridges To Babylon Tour, the most lucrative world tour ever at the time. The company’s founder, architect Mark Fisher, who died in 2013, has been designing Pink Floyd scenes since the 1970s. With his own company, he creates the scenery for extremely successful tours for, among others, U2, Madonna, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Elton John and Metallica.

Winkler takes over after Fisher’s death. Around his neck hangs a backstage passport for the Stones concert. He points to John Pasche’s famous band logo. “This new, colorful version of the logo started the stage design of this tour,” he says. “A designer working in the building above us came up with this design. It eventually became the starting point for this trip: bright colors and graceful, wavy shapes.”

the rolling stones, mick jagger, anniversary trip

Not possible? no show

Against this background, the designers embarked on Stufish. The design is then implemented in all the band’s media expressions and merchandise. “It usually starts with a simple concept,” Winkler explains. “The band and their team come to us with their ideas and we translate it into a concrete design. In the design phase, we immediately look at the technical feasibility, because it makes no sense to make a beautiful design if it can not be implemented. If you can’t build it in a stadium in one day, it’s not suitable. “

Since Winkler participated in the Bridges To Babylon Tour in 1997, much has changed technologically. “Back then, all equipment was very heavy. Video screens for stadiums did not yet exist and had to be custom-made. Today, every major artist has an LED screen for their concerts. ”

High energy and transportation costs

Still, Winkler does not want to make his role in the Stones concerts bigger than it is. “Our share in such a concert series is really important, but it is quite small. We look at the availability of the venues and look at everything you need to think about before starting a tour. The availability of material and labor is now a major problem after the pandemic. Transportation costs have risen. All of these factors come into play in a band’s decision to tour. “

The rising costs of transport and energy are being passed on to ticket prices. In the future, fans may not even have to leave home to watch their favorite band perform, Winkler believes. “Maybe the technology will be ready to let the Stones perform in your living room.”

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The Rolling Stones on Anniversary Tour: How They Designed Their Rock Show

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