Michael Gudinski: “I Never Thought I’d Be Working With The Rolling Stones”

It’s no secret that Michael Gudinski has worked with some of the world’s biggest musical acts. The founder of Mushroom Group and its flagship touring company Frontier Touring has brought the likes of Madonna, Bob Dylan, Guns ‘N Roses and Elton John to Australia and New Zealand.

Gudinski’s latest project was, however, completely unexpected. “I never thought I’d be working with The Rolling Stones,” he says, “and I certainly count them in their own league.”

Speaking with Music Feeds on a rainy day in Melbourne, hours before flying to Sydney to be one of the 40,000 people at Allianz Stadium catching Taylor Swift — “the first girl to fill stadiums since I did Madonna over 20 years ago” — Gudinski says that, while an Australian tour is an exciting prospect for any band, the Stones tour was a matter of timing and luck.

“Interest from international artists is at all-time high,” he exclaims, “to the point that there’s almost too much on.” That said, it may not have been possible without the success of the band’s 2013 gigs. “There’d been a bit of talk about it after the American tour,” he says, “but I think the big test for them was Glastonbury on Saturday and then Hyde Park the following two Saturdays.”

A revitalised Stones soon found themselves lining up more shows around the globe. “They just had a ball, they just killed it, and I think that’s the whole reason that we’re going to get one more chance to have a look at the Stones. They haven’t been to Adelaide and Perth since 1995 so that’s pretty special.”

The 14 On Fire tour will see Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood embark on a series of special one-night-only arena concerts around Australia, something that would be virtually impossible for any other band to negotiate. “But who can say no to the Rolling Stones?” as Gudinski puts it.

After the controversy surrounding the online ticket sales system for Bruce Springsteen’s upcoming Australian tour, Gudinski is more than aware of the similar challenges he’ll be faced with on this tour. “It’s very difficult because people have ways of cracking computers but we are certainly all over it,” he says, acknowledging the need to keep tickets in the hands of fans and away from tech-savvy scalpers.

“We limit the amount of tickets. The Stones are doing this special thing which is a lucky dip where 500 people will buy the cheapest tickets and some of those people will end up in some of the best seats. I think that’s a great initiative.” It doesn’t make much economic sense, either, but it’s indicative of how well the Stones treat their fans. “It’s a massive production, there’s so much stuff to bring out here that it’s certainly not cheap to run,” he says.

As for the possibility of second shows, don’t get your hopes up. “From what I’ve been told — and that’s why the advertising is all ‘one show only’ — there is absolutely no chance.” While multiple Melbourne and Sydney-only shows may have been viable, Gudinski says a national tour was more important. “We could’ve mostly just done the shows in Melbourne and Sydney but I really felt that Perth, Adelaide and New Zealand really deserved a crack at the Stones. I’m very, very pleased that we’re doing it that way.”

Commenting on the actions of 30 Seconds To Mars who, after learning of a clash between themselves and the Stones at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, agreed to move to Hisense Arena next door, Gudinski says Jared Leto and co were more than happy to comply. “It was just a bit awkward,” said Gudinski, “They were really cooperative. And who knows? Maybe Jared might get invited up.”

“I assure you it’s a one-show-only tour and it’s a show that should not be missed.”

The Rolling Stones’ ’14 On Fire’ tour kicks off at Perth Arena on Wednesday, 19th March, before their much anticipated return to Adelaide and a string of not-to-be-missed East Coast dates. The Stones will be joined on all dates by special guest, former guitarist Mick Taylor.

The Rolling Stones Australian Tour Dates

Wednesday, 19th March 2014

Perth Arena, Perth

Tix: Via Ticketek | 132 849

Pre-sale starts Monday, 9th December 3:00pm Perth time

Saturday 22nd March 2014 – SOLD OUT!

Adelaide Oval, Adelaide

Tuesday, 25th March 2014

Allphones Arena, Sydney

Tix: Via Ticketek | 132 849

Pre-sale starts Monday, 9th December 3:00pm Sydney time

Friday, 28th March 2014

Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

Tix: Via Ticketek | 132 849

Pre-sale starts Monday, 9th December 4:00pm Melbourne time

Sunday, 30th March 2014

Hanging Rock, Macedon Ranges

Tix: Via Ticketmaster | 132 849

Pre-sale starts Monday, 9th December 2:00pm VIC time

Wednesday, 2nd April 2014

Entertainment Centre, Brisbane

Tix: Via Ticketek | 132 849

Pre-sale starts Monday, 9th December 4:00pm Brisbane time


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