But in reality, most of the pre-show rituals are pretty boring. If you think about it, it’s only natural, considering the amount of energy that goes into the live show.
Without further ado, let's dig into the list!
At their recent reunion show at the O2 Arena in London, the band did nothing but drink coffee/tea before hitting the stage. Oh, and Robert Plant requested a special space for ironing his shirts. How’s that for a pre-show ritual?
Robert Plant explained to Radio 2: ‘I've never really been one for diva demands. We were always too busy having a good time to get hung upabout anything. It's not very rock 'n' roll, but I like to look my best going on stage. I find ironing helps get me in the mood before I perform.’ ‘They’ve asked for cups of tea and coffee. We’ll have some beer and a bottle of wine for them backstage, but they have said they require very little,’ concert promoter Harvey Goldsmith told The Telegraph in 2007.
Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones are known for their diva behavior, and they are always very specific about what they want.
For example, Keith Richards has a very strange ritual. He needs to eat a shepherd’s pie before each performance. He also insists on being the one to break the pie’s crust. Richards once refused to perform when he discovered that the member of security team snuck a piece of his shepherd’s pie. He delayed the concert until a new one was made and served to him.
MetallicaThe band gets to the venue about two hours early to eat, do meet-and-greets with fans and see friends.
James Hetfield explained: ‘We’re just soaking up the energy or the vibe of the place. We also have a physical therapist on the road, so he’s stretching us out, making sure that we’re in shape. Everyone’s got their thing like Trujillo with his forearms, just playing, he’s always getting loosened up, and his calves will cramp ‘cause he’s like this Tarzan guy. Lars’ shoulder, my back, Kirk’s wrist so we’ve all got our things that need maintenance. Back in the olddays it was more about the vodka. Drinking was more important than any of that. It was like wait a minute, ‘I’m not drunk. We can’t go on yet.’ That was a realization of, ‘Wow, this is really weird.’ That has all certainly changed. It’s different. We’re past 50 – you’ve got a different outlook.’
Guns N’ RosesAxl Rose said in an interview: ‘Well, everybody in this band has their own physical regimen they have to go through... I do a lot of cardio when I can, or when I can force myself to. But yeah, you've got to get your wind up, and you've got to get your head in the right place.’
Dizzy Reed added: ‘I like to get a little loose and have me a little shot of Jagermeister which is my favorite drink. Frank Ferrer likes to spend some time alone in a quiet place with a glass of wine.’
ColdplayThe band gathers together for a quick hug before taking to the stage.
Chris Martin also told Australia's Melbourne Herald Sun: ‘For me, there are about 18 things I have to do before I can go out to perform - most of them are too ridiculous to repeat! One is I have to brush my teeth before I go on stage, otherwise, I just don't feel smart.’
Leonard CohenCohen used to gather the whole team 30 minutes before every show and sing in Latin ‘Pauper sum ego, nihilhabeo,’ which means ‘I am poor, I have nothing.’
Jon Bon JoviHe once said in his interview: ‘I like to go to the venue at 5 to sing a little bit, smell the air. Sometimes I get a bite to eat. I get on the right foot.’
Alice CooperThe legendary rocker enjoys watching kung-fu movies and eating lots of sugary snacks before heading out to the stage. Reportedly his favorite candy is Skittles.
Avenged SevenfoldThe band members warm up, jam a little, give each other a cheeky little ass slap and listen to the crowd.
MegadethDave Mustaine said: ‘I think the rituals before were like timing the buzz. I think now we just try to make sure that we’re ready to get in the game and play. Your outlook changes. When you’re young and you play music, and that’s your thing, it kind of a byproduct of who you are, what you do, where you go. Now it’s become such a part of me that I just want to do great everywhere I go. And I think everybody has to get that stuff out of their system. When you first get in a band, you know, “sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll.” But I think that when you really, really, really love what you do, you start to get a little bit more concerned about your performances. Do I sound good? Do I play good? Do I look good? Do I feel good? Am I leaving behind a path of destruction or am I making friends?’
Judas PriestRob Halford admitted that he usually has a nice cup of tea and plays Nintendo with the band members (before and after the show).
The singer said: ‘In Judas Priest, we actually play the games in the dressing room before a show. Just to get in the mood for the excitement and the energy for what we're gonna do. At our stately metal god time of life, we tend to do the Nintendo bowling. And the golfing. If there's any energy left after the show, we get into the boxing mode.’
Red Hot Chili PeppersAnthony Kiedis said in his Rolling Stone interview: ‘I have to run or stretch or do push-ups or wrestle Flea or something to get my blood flowing. You can't go from zero to 100 miles per hour without preparing.’
Flea admitted explained that he usually prays and meditates before the show.
Chad Smith has a much calmer attitude toward playing live. He likes to take his time getting to the venue, after which he checks out the crowd and the opening band. Then he plays his drums for a bit backstage.
Josh Klinghoffer works on his voice and plays as much as possible throughout the day. He also likes to keep to minimize distractions.
Tenacious DJack Black does some vocal warm-ups, drinks some hot tea and eats carrots. He is also known to drop a phrase like, ‘I got a bad feeling about this one,’ before every show.
Jack WhiteDiscussing what he does pre-show, he told The New Yorker: ‘Usually I'm backstage with a baseball bat breaking things. You have to work yourself up into a frenzy.’ He also likes to drink a can of Red Bull and a shot of whiskey.
RadioheadThom York does his best to get his energy ready for the gig, so he stays silent for hours beforehand, meditates and stands on his head.’
Pearl JamThey once said in an interview: ‘We try to at least shake hands with each other before we go out onstage and say, ‘Hey mate, have a good one!’ That’s one of the things as you get older, once you’re out on-stage, the gods decide what’s gonna happen. Go out there with good energy for your fellow bandmates and that’s about the best thing you can do. We’ve had plenty of shows where we’ve given each other big hugs and smiles, then walked out and sucked. It’s not gonna help.’
John PetrucciJohn says that the band gets together before going on stage and talks to get their heads in the same place and bond.
‘You're about to walk on stage and play together for the next few hours, so you want to feel connected and make sure that everyone is in the same headspace; a good headspace. If someone is feeling out of sorts or detached, it's a great time to bring them in and restate why we are here and what we are trying to do. Many times we talk about the people that have come to enjoy the show. They went through a lot to get here, whatever they needed to work out in their lives; they got babysitters, they traveled and purchased the tickets. So it's up to us to deliver the goods. We're always in that headspace about the audience and less about us at that moment.’
Foo FightersThe Foo Fighters have revealed that they listen to Michael Jackson songs and down shots of Jagermeister liquor to get them in the mood for the show.
Frontman Dave Grohl said: ‘Some bands pray to God they'll have the best show of their lives. Some bands huddle in a rugby scrum and yell, 'Go, team! We listen to Michael Jackson's Off The Wall and do Jager bombs, which are Dave Lee Roth juice. If you want to be Dave Lee Roth onstage, you need at least four Jager bombs to get you there.’