Top 10 Bizarre Pre-Show Rituals


For some of us a shower and some nibbles will suffice, but when demand for your performances is high enough that you can make a list of demands naturally backstage behaviour can get a bit silly. For a list of silliness you can strive to top later in your career look no further!

It should be noted that amusing artist rider and backstage behaviour anecdotes are the stuff of legend passed down through generations of venue staff, fans and journalists since the dawn of diva demands and rock star egos. As such, they should all be read with a pinch of salt. If you’re loving this list, check out our top 10 riders list.

1. Alice Cooper – Kung-Fu Films & Skittles

If you’ve seen Wayne’s World you’ll know that Alice is a big fan of geographical history. When he’s not educating fans on Milwaukee history backstage he can be found enjoying Kung-Fu movies and tasting the rainbow.


2. Keith Richards – Shepherd’s Pie

Shattering any illusions about Rolling Stones’ raucous rock’n’roll antics, Keith Richards requires a Shepherd’s Pie before showtime. A member of backstage crew once had the audacity to break into the crust before Keith, which resulted in a show delay until a brand spanking new pie could be procured. Rock’n’Roll!


3. Serena Williams – Socks

Don’t get too close to Serena when she hits the court; rumour has it that she wears the same pair of lucky socks each match and that they’ve never seen a washing machine.

Fellow tennis player Björn Borg was also superstitious about his pre-game ritual always growing a beard for matches and wearing his lucky top.


4. 5 Seconds of Summer – T-shirt Cutting & Lucky Pants

Australian pop-rockers 5SOS take scissors to their clothes to keep excessive sweatiness at bay on stage. Apart from that they give their teeth a good brush, which sounds perfectly reasonable to us though not very exciting. Like Ms Williams they also have some lucky underwear, Spongebob and leopard print designs among them.


5. Madonna – Facial & Weights

Madonna is known for touring with her children, so its no surprise that there’s often a playroom backstage next to her dressing room. She keeps the atmosphere as relaxed as possible behind the scenes enjoying a facial and exercising with free weights.


6. Kit Harington – Three is the Magic Number

Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington has got a bit of a thing for threes. Pre-show he kisses a crucifix three times, eats three haribo sweets and sips water (you guessed it!) three times.


7. Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Getting in the Mindset

We were disappointed to find that the Chilli Peppers seem very sensible pre-show. Frontman Anthony Kiedis likes to get pumped with exercise (sometimes wrestling bassist Flea) and thoroughly warm up his voice. Drummer Chad Smith likes to hang out in the crowd and enjoy some of the support act with fans to build up excitement for his performance.


8. Michael Jordan – Lucky Shorts

Superstar basketball player Michael Jordan spent most of his career wearing his favourite North Carolina shorts under his Chicago Bulls shorts. His choice of under garment is often cited in discussions about superstitious backstage activities.


9. Ke$ha – Nudity & Glitter

Its unlikely to be taken up by the average workplace, but Ke$ha and her team strip, oil up and roll in glitter pre-show. We hope they put some tarpaulin down first.


10. Paul McCartney – Family Fortunes

We’re sure his requests were much more rock’n’roll during his Beatles days, but these days he’s happy with a bit of Family Fortunes. But he’s not been on the show, has he Kanye?


Written by Laura Thomas

Social Media and Marketing Executive at Vocalzone. The Simpsons, The Wicker Man (original!), real crime shows, metal, punk and the new punk (grime)