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Live Nation Europe chief explains why Springsteen was cut short

By | Published on Tuesday 17 July 2012

Live Nation

While Live Nation depriving Bruce Springsteen one more duet with Paul McCartney on Saturday night might have made the British news headlines on Sunday, just imagine what would have happened had something similar occurred in the US. You don’t mess with The Boss over Stateside, and turning off the power just as he’s about to play with a Beatle would almost certainly lead to at least four resignations – two commercial, two political – and at least one new bit of State law.

Which is presumably why the live music major’s COO for Europe, Paul Latham, felt the need to email the Wall Street Journal yesterday to set the record straight on why his company had pulled the plug on Springsteen at the end of his headline set at Saturday’s Hard Rock Calling, explaining that in London the wealthy neighbours of Hyde Park are even more influential than the Boss, meaning licensing rules must be stuck to. He also added that Springsteen wasn’t too pissed off (despite the drunken rant his guitarist Steven Van Zandt posted online), and that he hoped the premature shut down would just make the show all the more memorable.

In the email, published by the Journal, Latham writes: “For the last twelve months we have been fighting the good fight with the local authority and their licensing teams to retain the ability to stage concerts in Hyde Park. The current licences were granted on very strict noise restrictions, traffic plans and curfews with the ‘sword of Damocles’ hanging over any future events if we broke any of the conditions. Suffice to say the residents of Park Lane and Mayfair may not be numerous but they wield inordinate power over the Gogs and Magogs of City Hall and Parliament”.

Adding that he had hoped that a three and a half hour slot would have been sufficient even for Springsteen, Latham admitted that his team didn’t foresee the planned brief McCartney guest spot turning into a Beatles medley. Showery weather also messed with the evening’s schedule, he added.

He concluded: “We were assured that they [Springsteen and McCartney] were going to only do a couple of numbers so we could turn a blind eye to a ten minute over-run and risk the wrath of our naysayers, but then the couple of numbers happened to be Beatles medleys and when Bruce went to change guitars to start again I’m afraid the power had to come off on music history in the hope that we will be allowed to create more in the future. Suffice to say we were most concerned that Bruce and co would have been discommoded by our actions, but they were unanimous in their opinion that it had been one of their greatest gigs for many a year, and being thrown off the stage added legend to the myth”.