If there’s one thing venues need to know before hosting a show featuring LEWIS BLACKthat’s it, straight from his official tour pilot: “AFTERSHOW FOOD IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING OF THE NIGHT!!!
Screw that part, and you might end up the subject of a future “rant casting,” as the stand-up comedian calls his angry, jaw-dropping tirades about, well, everything.
Black’s “Off The Rails” tour stopped in Champaign for a show not suitable for small children at the Virginia Theater on May 1, one of about 200 dates he has booked for in an average year.
The following are some of the details of his tour rider, obtained by The News-Gazette via an open records request.
– Here’s a requirement you won’t find in many top entertainment contracts: By 5 p.m. on the day of the show, two local newspapers must be delivered to Black’s dressing room. (Material for jokes that reach local audiences has to come from somewhere, after all).
– For an in-demand artist, Black is relatively easy to buy. His other locker room requests: 12 bottles of Fiji spring water; a bottle of “high quality red wine/Pinot Noir or Rioja”; four wine glasses; a wine bottle opener; three postcards featuring local attractions or the city; four bottles of unsweetened, unflavored iced tea; two packs of Dentyne Ice Mint chewing gum; three assorted candy bars; a large container of mixed nuts; and two bottles of natural green tea.
– Another important warning about the locker room: “Under no circumstances should Black or his crew “share the facilities with anyone else,” notes the rider. As for the “star” room, it must be clean, with room for four people comfortably, and be equipped with adequate lighting, heating and air conditioning, as well as electrical outlets, a full length mirror, chairs, a table, a sofa and a clean and functional bathroom with shower.
– This is a stand-up show, not a rock concert, which requires a different stage setup than fans will see when Melissa Etheridge Virginia visits in the fall. Two big must-haves: Black calls for a clean black bar stool about 36 inches tall and a black velvet backdrop running the full width of the top wall of the stage.
— In addition to providing safety, the show promoter must provide “a licensed driver who has in-depth knowledge of local streets and attractions with a seven-passenger van” one hour before loading and one hour after unloading. “Tour artists and staff will primarily fly to and from each performance; runners will be required to make transfers from the airport.
– Meet and greets are prohibited, but members of Black’s fan club – Fan Asylum Inc. – should have first dibs on tickets (at least a week before they go on sale to the general public) and be allowed entry the venue on the night of the show five to 10 minutes before everyone else.
– In case venue operators missed the urgent, bold, all-caps meal alert earlier on the page, here it is again: “AFTER THE SHOW (Did I mention this is the most important part of Lew’s night?!”). The other meals, not so much. In fact, for a $300 cash-on-load redemption, Black “waives all lunch and dinner requirements.”
— What he wants for after the show depends on the city and its dining options. Upon arrival of the 48-foot black tour bus and 20-foot trailer, the venue should have ready for the tour manager “a menu selection of high-quality establishments with healthy options – NO CHAIN RESTAURANTS PLEASE!” – available. Any food orders after the show will be considered in addition to paid redemptions and will be a cost of the show.
— Artist’s guarantee for an evening in Champaign: $40,000.