At first, I assumed it was just another insane demand from celebrity egomaniacs who’d lost all sense of perspective but as it turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong. This particular request was a clever risk management tactic.
Back in the day, Van Halen were one of the first stadium rock bands of their kind. They were early pioneers in creating complex stage designs and spectacular pyrotechnics. When they went out on their mammoth world tours, 9 large lorries would travel ahead of them carrying their stage and lighting equipment. Ensuring the production could go ahead safely and on time required a major logistical effort, a huge workforce, precision planning and attention to detail. The contractual terms with the arenas were hundreds of pages long, specifying all manner of important requirements from the door width needed to get the equipment in, to the density of the concrete needed to support the stage girders. If any of the arenas got the technicalities wrong the consequences could have been catastrophic, ranging from costly delays to serious casualties.