Well gang, it’s been emotional – but all good things must come to an end. In the final instalment of our 5 Live series of blogs, we head East to choose Asia-Pacific’s five most iconic live music venues.
From former bakeries to monster truck arenas, it’s fair to say we’ve included a diverse mix of hotspots. However, their comprehensive influence on live music is plain to see.
1. Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan
This former Olympic arena turned music venue is now a well-known rite of passage for aspiring live musicians looking to crack Japan. In the summer of 1966, The Beatles became the first rock band ever to play live at the Budokan, during their ill-fated Asian tour. Those who were lucky enough to watch the Fab Four in action are part of an exclusive club – the seven gigs they played in Japan and The Phillipines were the only times they ever performed in Asia. What’s more, their appearance at the Budokan is even featured on the video game The Beatles: Rock Band. An accolade to end all accolades.
From then on, it’s made its name as the go-to venue in Japan for international artists, especially those recording live albums. Among those to record live albums at the Budokan are Cheap Trick, Bob Dylan, Blur and Ozzy Osborne. This is likely down to the fervour of its audiences, whom Eric Clapton once described as ‘almost over appreciative’.
2. Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan
The Tokyo Dome is a jack of many trades and you could be forgiven for thinking it was a classic multi-purpose Western stadium instead! Nicknamed ‘The Big Egg’, it is home to baseball, mixed martial arts, kickboxing, American football and monster truck races – oh, and a few decent live gigs as well. Michael Jackson has played there more than any other artist with 22 concerts, nearly all of which were sell-outs. Threatening to trump MJ’s achievements is Mariah Carey, whose Tokyo Dome shows sold 200,000 tickets in under an hour in 1998.
So many other huge names have graced ‘The Big Egg’ stage here during their careers, and usually at the peak of their powers – Prince recorded six live albums here between 1989 and 1992 and Guns N’ Roses played a series of gigs during their ‘Use Your Illusion’ tour.
3. Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand
Just like the South Americans and football, New Zealand has something of an affinity with rugby, if you hadn’t already noticed. True to its roots, the Mount Smart Stadium has seen many a rugby league test match and is a designated semi-final venue for the 2017 World Cup. It’s also a favourite amongst concert-goers, and has attracted an impressive repertoire of international artists over the last three decades.
Queen played at the Mount Smart Stadium just a few months before their legendary performance at Live Aid and other names to appear regularly include Bob Dylan, Dire Straits and Elton John. The future’s not looking too bad, either – Paul McCartney is top of the bill in December for his ‘One on One’ tour.
4. Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, Australia
This stadium is as well known for hosting cricket and rugby matches as it is live gigs, which is only to be expected in Australia. A relatively new arena in the context of live music venues, it was only opened in 2000 and was constructed for an eye watering A$480 million – but over the years has gone some way towards providing a return on investment.
Barbra Streisand (the good old family favourite) held the first of an extensive series of one-off concerts at the Etihad Stadium. It’s been the stop-off point for some massive album promotions through the years, such as Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ ‘By The Way’ tour and Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ tour. Its record attendance might not quite be up there with Rod Stewart’s 1994 Copacabana Beach concert, but it’s pretty impressive nonetheless – over 180,000 fans turned up to see rockers AC/DC in action in 2010.
5. The Tivoli, Brisbane, Australia
Something of a dark horse in this list, the Tivoli is rich with history. It was originally a bakery, then a club, then a theatre-restaurant, before being established as a live music venue at the turn of the century. Comprised of an art deco-style auditorium, the Tivoli has a standing capacity of 1,500 and a seating capacity of just 700. Its appearance and vibe have given it a standout reputation as one of the world’s most intimate and charming live music venues.
What makes it equally iconic is the variety of international acts that have played there. Its list of performers include Bob Dylan, Bon Iver, Sigur Ros, Slash, Ice Cube, Taylor Swift and Nick Cave. What’s more, if you’re into your tribute bands, there are some mouth-watering acts scheduled here for the next 12 months – The Absolute Stone Roses, Definitely Oasis and the Sex Pistols Experience to name just three. Oh, and don’t get us started on The Bon Jovi Experience.
Whether it’s 20 people or 180,000, if you’re playing live, it’s likely you’ll need proof of Public Liability insurance, otherwise most venues won’t allow you to perform. Thankfully, Insure4Music is here to help. As well as Public Liability insurance, we can also cover equipment against theft, loss and accidental damage as well as Personal Accident insurance in case anyone hurts themselves performing. To get tailor-made music insurance from just £20 a year, get an instant quote online today.