Willie Nelson May Have the Most Detailed Tour Rider Ever
If you're planning on having country legend Willie Nelson play at your venue, be warned he has a very interesting and exhaustive hospitality concert rider, according to a recent posting by TheSmokingGun.com.
A hospitality rider is a list of requests for the comfort of the artist on the day of the any given show. Common requests include specific favorite foods, particular beverages, towels and ice. They can also include stage design requests, such as when Johnny Cash required an American flag for the stage. Most artists have reasonable requests, some get more eccentric as a career endures. Deserved as it may be, Nelson's definitely at that point:
Once he arrives at the venue Nelson requires the following items for his bus: organic milk, organic apple juice (no additives and all juices must be in bottles, not plastic), organic grape juice, one bunch of organic red grapes, organic peaches, organic white potatoes, organic red apples, one-dozen fresh free range eggs, four-thin cut lean pork chops, a six-pack of Dr. Pepper and 20 pounds of ice.
To make things more complicated, the rider specifies different items depending on the day of the week. Mondays, for example, the country star requires a pint of peanut oil backstage as well as one-pound of hazelnuts and one-pound of peanuts that are roasted and in the shell.
Wednesdays and Saturdays, Nelson needs one bunch of organic celery, organic cottage cheese, two-rolls of paper towels, and assorted plastic cutlery, cups and plates.
There's a lot more laid out in the rules, for items to be prepared an hour prior to Willie's arrival and for things to be ready immediately after his show is over. You can read all the details here, suffice it to say he's keeping people employed and busy.
To contrast that, Keith Urban needs two breakfasts with no butter, spices or onions and paper towels. When Rascal Flatts toured few years ago they required promoters to secure a massage therapist. In 2008, Taylor Swift asked for one bag of frozen Edamame (soy beans), Twizzlers, boxed Kraft macaroni and cheese, Starbucks coffee, Ben & Jerry's ice cream and a jar of Ragu spaghetti sauce.
Toby Keith made it easy; to make him happy, just have a 12-pack of European Newcastle beer waiting on his tour bus after the show. Prankster Brad Paisley used to make up items that did not actually exist, as a harmless little joke on the people who fulfilled his concert rider.
(Editor's note: the king of all stories like this remains Van Halen's legendary "no brown M&Ms" rider.)