The Hammersmith Apollo, known through sponsorship as the Eventim Apollo, is a major entertainment venue and a Grade II* listed building located in Hammersmith, London, England. Designed by Robert Cromie in Art Deco style, it opened in 1932 as the Gaumont Palace, being renamed the Hammersmith Odeon in 1962. It has had a string of names and owners, most recently AEG Live and CTS Eventim.
Hammersmith Apollo Contents
Hammersmith Apollo History
The venue was opened in 1932 as the Gaumont Palace and seated nearly 3,500 people. It was designed by Robert Cromie in the Art Deco style. In 1962, the building was renamed the Hammersmith Odeon, a name many people still use for the venue along with the phonetic abbreviation "Hammy-O". It became a Grade II listed building in 1990. The venue was later refurbished and renamed the Labatt's Apollo following a sponsorship deal (1993 or 1994).
In 2002, the venue was again renamed, this time to the Carling Apollo after another brewery struck a deal with the owners, US-based Clear Channel Entertainment (spun off as Live Nation (Venues) UK Ltd in 2005). The venue's listing was upgraded to Grade II* status in 2005. In 2003, the stalls seats were made removable and now some concerts have full seating whilst others have standing only in the stalls. In the latter format the venue can accommodate around 5,000 people. The event was marked by rock band AC/DC playing an exclusive one-off concert and only charging £10 per ticket. All 5,000 tickets sold out in 4 minutes. In 2006, the venue reverted to its former name, the Hammersmith Apollo. In 2007, the original 1932 Compton pipe organ, still present from the building's days as a cinema, was restored. The building then changed hands and was bought by the MAMA Group.
On 14 January 2009, a placing announcement by HMV Group revealed that by selling additional shares, the company would raise money to fund a joint venture with the MAMA Group, to run eleven live music venues across the United Kingdom, including the Hammersmith Apollo. As a result, the venue was named the HMV Apollo from 2009 until 2012. Other venues purchased include The Forum in London's Kentish Town, the Birmingham Institute and Aberdeen's Moshulu. The venue was sold by HMV Group in May 2012 to AEG Live and CTS Eventim. In 2013, the venue was closed for an extensive refurbishment which was carried out by award-winning architect Foster Wilson. The venue reopened as the Eventim Apollo on 7 September 2013, with a concert performance by Selena Gomez
Hammersmith Apollo The Compton pipe organ
The original 1932 Compton pipe organ is still present at the Apollo and was fully restored to playing condition in 2007. It has a four-manual console which rises through the stage on a new lift and about 1,200 organ pipes housed in large chambers above the front stalls ceiling. Having fallen into disrepair, the organ was disconnected in the 1990s and the console removed from the building. However at English Heritage and the council's insistence it has been reinstated and the entire organ restored. A launch party was held on 25 July 2007, at which an invited audience and the media witnessed top organist Richard Hills play the instrument.
Pipe organs such as this were installed in most cinemas of the pre-war period to provide music for film shows, accompany silent movies and to feature in solo performances. Many were also broadcast on the radio and recorded on 78 rpm records. These organs were based on church-type instruments but had many other sounds including percussion instruments built in. A lot of the pipe sounds were designed to sound like instruments of the orchestra and indeed the organs were in effect one-man orchestras, offering a large variety of sounds and being capable of accommodating music styles from classical to jazz. Although several such organs survive in the UK these days, there are very few left in their original buildings. The Apollo organ is one of these and its sounds now fill the huge Apollo auditorium again after about 25 years of silence.
Hammersmith Apollo In popular culture
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View of the stage and proscenium, 2007
Many bands have released live CDs, videos or DVDs of concerts held at the Apollo, such as Kings of Leon, Tears For Fears, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Robbie Williams. Kate Bush released a video and record EP of her concerts at the Odeon from her first and only tour in 1979. Kylie Minogue and Girls Aloud released DVDs of their concerts at the Apollo in 2004 and 2005 respectively. A DVD of a Bruce Springsteen concert held there in 1975 was released as part of the Born to Run 30th Anniversary Edition package; later the CD Hammersmith Odeon London '75 was released. Melodic death metal band In Flames also released a DVD that featured footage of a December 2004 performance there. Comedian and actor Eddie Izzard's show Glorious was also released as a DVD. Rush recorded their 1978 performance and later included it in their three-disc set, Different Stages. American musician Tori Amos released a series of six live albums in 2005 known as The Original Bootlegs, one of which was recorded at the Apollo. Photographs of The Who outside the Hammersmith Odeon appear on their 1973 album Quadrophenia. Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour performed three nights at the venue in April 1984 which was documented on the David Gilmour Live 1984 concert film. These shows are of note as Roy Harper guested on "Short and Sweet" and Gilmour's Pink Floyd bandmate Nick Mason played drums on "Comfortably Numb". In 1984 the London based heavy metal band Iron Maiden recorded side 4 of their double live album 'Live After Death' at the venue. Iron Maiden's affection for the Hammersmith Odeon also resulted in the filming of a 1982 performance which was subsequently released as 'Beast over Hammersmith'.
Other acts have made music videos featuring clips from performances at the Apollo; Kelly Clarkson made a special version of her "Breakaway" video using clips from her concert at the Apollo in 2006.
The Hammersmith Apollo is seen in the American romantic comedy film Just My Luck where McFly perform. In the movie, the venue stands-in for the Hard Rock Café. It is also the location in The Football Factory where the Chelsea fans board the bus for Liverpool. It is mentioned in the poem "Glam Rock: The Poem" by the poet Robert Archambeau. The exterior of the (then) Gaumont Palace was used as the "Grand" cinema in the 1957 British film The Smallest Show on Earth.
Hammersmith Apollo Noteworthy performances
Hammersmith Apollo 1960s
Hammersmith Apollo 1970s
- The photo booklet that forms part of The Who's Quadrophenia album features pictures of the venue (particularly within the centre spread;) the photos of the main character (Jimmy) waiting, kneeling beside his GS Scooter outside the venue as the members of the band take their groupies to a limo were taken during a photo shoot set up specifically for the booklet; interestingly, even though the production team viewed the venue as an iconic image, the Who didn't play the Odeon during their 1973 'Quadrophenia' UK tour.
- In July 1973, David Bowie performed his final concert, as Ziggy Stardust, at the venue. The concert was filmed by American documentary filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker, who intercut scenes of fans outside the venue, Bowie in the dressing room, with the concert footage. The film was not released until 1983 and is now available on DVD as Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars.
- On 16–18 May 1974, Slade played three dates on their "Crazee Nite Tour" supported by Beckett. The band had a Slade-look-alike competition onstage before the gig - where the audience had to cheer for their favourite look-alike. The results showed on the Slade clapometer. Also the band created three walkways from the stage into the audience. The theatre management kept these in place for about 8 years after the Slade gigs.
- In 1973, Mott the Hoople played, with Queen supporting them. The concert was recorded, and released in 1974 forming one side of the Mott The Hoople Live album.
- In December 1974, Elton John played a televised Christmas concert for the BBC's Old Grey Whistle Test.
- In Christmas of 1975 Queen performed at the Hammersmith Odeon on 24 December during the A Night at the Opera Tour, many people called this gig as the first Legendary Concert of the band.
- In 1975, Bruce Springsteen's performances there are well known, as is Neil Young's performance in the same year, when part of the venue caught fire.
- On 15–16 May 1976, KISS made their first UK appearances, supported by UK rockers Stray; tickets sold out in 2 hours for their two night stay.
- In 1976, much of Thin Lizzy's live album Live And Dangerous was recorded at the Hammersmith on the Johnny The Fox Tour.
- On 24 February 1978, Sweet played their first concert at Hammersmith Odeon. As it transpired, it was to be their last British show with the classic line-up featuring popular blonde singer Brian Connolly.
- On 20 February 1978, Rush recorded 11 tracks from their "A Farewell to Kings" tour, including tracks from all of their first five albums. These tracks were not released at the time. They were included as a bonus disc on their 10 November 1998 release of Different Stages Live which included recordings from both their 1994 "Counterparts" and 1997 "Test for Echo" tours.
- Gary Numan recorded his Touring Principle show on 28 September and is widely recognised as the first release of a live concert video.
- Whitesnake recorded tracks for their live album "Live...in the Heart of the City" on 23 November 1978. The album also included tracks that were later recorded (also at the Hammersmith Odeon) on 23 and 24 June 1980.
- Frank Zappa also recorded parts of his 1979 album, Sheik Yerbouti, at the venue.
- Kate Bush also performed the same year, and released a live video and record EP of her 1979 concerts.
- In December 1979, Queen played several further concerts. The Hammersmith Odeon hosted the four-night Concerts for the People of Kampuchea, a benefit concert to raise money for Cambodian residents, who were victims of the tyrannical reign of dictator Pol Pot, of which Queen played the first night.
Hammersmith Apollo 1980s
- In 1980, Blondie performed one of their most famous shows. Robert Fripp joined them on guitar, and their live cover of "Heroes" (which was later used as a B Side) was recorded there. In addition, some more live tracks recorded were later used as bonus tracks on the 2001 rerelease of the Eat to the Beat album.
- On 20 September 1980, Randy Rhoads performed one of his first shows, with new musical soulmate Ozzy Osbourne, on the Blizzard of Ozz Tour, they returned on 26 October.
- In 1981, Motörhead's live album, No Sleep 'til Hammersmith, brought the Odeon to the international stage, becoming widely recognised. (However, the album wasn't recorded there.)
- On 3 July 1981, the German electronic band Kraftwerk performed three shows at the Hammersmith Odeon as apart of their Computer World Tour to support their new album Computer World.
- From 31 December 1981 through 3 January 1982, Black Sabbath played four shows with singer Ronnie James Dio. These performances were recorded and released as Live at Hammersmith Odeon.
- In 1982, Iron Maiden performed a sold-out show during promotion for their The Number of the Beast album. The concert was filmed and released as Beast over Hammersmith in 2002. An abridged video version of the concert is included on disc 1 of The Early Days DVD, released in 2005.
- In 1982, Duran Duran performed during promotion for their Rio album. The concert was filmed and released as Live at Hammersmith '82! in 2009, as a CD/DVD combo pack.
- On 25 October 1982, Depeche Mode performed there as part of their See You Tour. The concert was filmed and parts were released as Live at Hammersmith Odeon London in 2006, as a DVD included in the remastered album, A Broken Frame.
- In 1982, Elton John performed a series of concerts with his reunited "Classic" band, promoting his albums The Fox and Jump Up!. A concert on Christmas Eve featured a medley of Christmas carols and a rare live duet of "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" with Kiki Dee.
- In 1982, Japan played a six-night residency from 17 November to 22 November. These were the band's final performances in the U.K. and the final night's performance was recorded and then released in 1983 on VHS and audio as Oil on Canvas.
- In 1983, Marillion performed the final date of their tour supporting their debut album, Script for a Jester's Tear. This also marked the final performance with drummer Mick Pointer. The performance was filmed and released as Recital of the Script.
- In 1983, Tears For Fears released a live video of their December concert at the venue.
- Dire Straits filmed a 1983 live concert there, released as Alchemy: Dire Straits Live.
- In 1983, Culture Club, with Boy George, were filmed at the height of their success. The film bears resemblance to David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust shows, which had taken place at the same venue 10 years before. The 13-track concert film was released theatrically in 1984 as A Kiss Across The Ocean and on VHS later that year. It is now available on the Culture Club - Greatest Hits DVD released in 2004.
- On 30 June 1983, David Bowie returned to perform during his Serious Moonlight Tour. This was a charity show, for the Brixton Neighbourhood Community Association, in the presence of Princess Michael of Kent.
- On 13 December 1983, Robert Plant performed a show with his band, where Jimmy Page joined him onstage for the second encore.
- In 1984, Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour performed three sold-out shows at this venue on his About Face solo tour, which was documented on the concert video, David Gilmour Live 1984.
- On 1 June 1984, Venom accidentally burned Hammersmith's ceiling during a performance, which event can be clearly seen in the 7 Dates of Hell concert video (during "Countess Bathory"). As a result, Venom were banned from the Hammersmith Apollo for a year.
- From 24 June 1984 to 30 June 1984 Status Quo played 7 sold-out shows in a row at Hammersmith on their "End of the Road" Tour.
- On 9 September 1984, Jethro Tull performed there in support of their then-current album, Under Wraps. This performance was released as Live at Hammersmith '84.
- In 1984, Iron Maiden performed four sold-out shows during promotion for their Powerslave album. The concerts were recorded and 5 songs were included in the Live After Death in 1985.
- On 8 December 1984 The Firm performed a sold-out show at this venue.
- On 24 June 1985 Ian Dury and the Blockheads played there, most of the performance can be found on Hold On To Your Structure
- 17–23 December 1985, Dire Straits sold out 7 nights from their "Brothers in Arms Live in 85" Tour
- On 21 September 1986, Metallica performed at the Apollo during their Master of Puppets Tour. This is one of the band's last performances with bassist Cliff Burton, who was killed in a bus crash, six days later and also featured Guitarist John Marshall as James Hetfield was recovering from a skateboard accident. This performance formed the basis for the Hammersmith Apollo's appearance in video game Guitar Hero: Metallica in 2009, complete with Master of Puppets-themed stage.
- Between 15 and 20 December 1986, the Norwegian band a-ha held 6 concerts at the Hammersmith Odeon 
- At the start of the seminal Public Enemy album, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, they are heard addressing the Hammersmith Odeon crowd at a concert there in 1987. Due to trouble outside the venue before and after the show Hammersmith Odeon refused to host any rap groups for several years afterwards.
- On 16 November 1987, Anthrax performed at the venue. The concert was released on VHS named Oidivnikufesin.
- On 9 June 1988, Dire Straits (and Eric Clapton on rhythm guitar) performed a second 'warm-up' show at Hammersmith leading up to the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute which was held on 11 June 1988 at Wembley Stadium, London.
Hammersmith Apollo 1990s
- During the early 1990s, the venue played host to a number of stage productions, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
- On 26 February 1991 the Norwegian band a-ha returned for one concert 
- On 29–30 September 1992, Megadeth, supported by Pantera, performed two evenings in a row at Hammersmith. The second night was recorded and later released as a DVD on their box set Warchest.
- In summer of 1992, Erasure played 8 consecutive nights at the Hammersmith Odeon on the opening of their "Phantasmagorical Entertainment Tour", just after the release of their most successful single, Abba-esque. No other artist apart from the Beatles has played such a row of nights at this venue.
- Musical Theatre star Michael Ball has performed at the Hammersmith Apollo on five occasions—each time selling out. In 1992, He was both the last person to play the Odeon and first person to play the newly named Apollo on the same tour. His concerts in December 1993 and 1994, were recorded by BBC Radio 2. He also recorded his 2003 and 2007 concerts for DVD release.
- J J Cale played three nights in October 1994, along with Christine Lakeland, Bill Raffensperger, James Cruce, Rocky Frisco and Jimmy Karstein. excerpts from the second of the three nights were later broadcast on BBC Radio.
Hammersmith Apollo 2000s
- On 19 July 2000, Alice Cooper filmed his Brutally Live DVD.
- On 17–20 March 2001, Kylie Minogue performed for the first time at the Apollo, four consecutive shows, during her On a Night Like This Tour.
- On 3–5 October 2002, Prince & The New Power Generation performed, for the first time at the Apollo, three consecutive shows, during his One Nite Alone... Tour.
- On 21 October 2003 rock band AC/DC charged fans £10 a ticket to see them play at the Apollo at what was one of their most intimate shows in years. The event sold out online in just four minutes. The lead singer Brian Johnson was suffering from a lung infection on the night of the gig.
- On 12 November 2003, Money Can't Buy was a one-off, invitation only concert in support of Kylie Minogue's 2003 album, Body Language held at the Apollo.
- In 2004, the venue was part of the Carling Live 24 event, which saw Feeder play their only date of that year. The venue also spawned the BBC television series Live at the Apollo, originally titled Jack Dee Live at the Apollo
- On 20 October 2004, Whitesnake filmed their Live... In The Still Of The Night DVD.
- On 15 November 2004, Europe filmed their Live from the Dark DVD.
- In 2005, Tori Amos released a live album from her 2005 concert at the Apollo as part of the Official Bootlegs.
- On 2 September 2005, Iron Maiden performed a special fund raising sold-out show during their The Early Days tour for former drummer Clive Burr, who is suffering from Multiple sclerosis.
- In October 2005, Dream Theater played a two-night stand at the Apollo. At the second of these shows they played Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety.
- On 25 November 2006, Video Games Live presented the first ever UK video game concert at the Hammersmith Apollo as part of their 2006 World Tour. A parody of the Hammersmith Odeon was made for Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, called Ye Olde Royal Odeon. The game Guitar Hero: Metallica features the real Hammersmith Apollo as a playable venue
- On 5 June 2008, the venue played host to Passion: London, part of the Passion Conferences. In the summer of 2008, the Apollo saw a 10-week season of Disney's High School Musical Live On Stage!, starring EastEnders' star Letitia Dean.
- In September 2008, comedian Michael McIntyre performed sell out shows around theatres in the UK and his filmed performance at the Hammersmith Apollo became the best selling debut comedy DVD of all time.
- On 12 October 2008, BBC Switch hosted a show of live music from Fall Out Boy, Ne-Yo, Miley Cyrus, Basshunter, McFly, N-Dubz and George Sampson. It was a gig especially for 14-17 year olds.
- In December 2008, metal band Slipknot performed three nights at the Apollo - one of which was filmed for MTV MTV World Stage.
- On 9 March 2009, Franz Ferdinand made a presentation on the Tonight album Tour.
- In March 2009, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical (The Sponge Who Could Fly) premiered at the Apollo.
- On 24 April 2009, Ultravox played a sold-out show on their 2009 reunion tour, 'Return To Eden'.
- On 11 July 2009, Thunder played their last concert in a sold out Hammersmith Apollo, as being the last stop on their 20 Years & Out tour. The show was also filmed and recorded for a last Thunder live DVD.
- On 1–2 August 2009, the boot-camp stage of the sixth series of the ITV television music talent show The X Factor was filmed at the Hammersmith Apollo in front of a live public attended show. 200 acts attended boot-camp and 24 acts made it past this stage of the competition.
- On 29 November 2009, British Christian rock band Delirious? played their farewell concert at the venue. The show was sold out and was recorded for a live album and DVD.
- On 15 December 2009, the Apollo hosted the UK premiere of It Might Get Loud, a documentary film that covers the careers of world-famous guitarists The Edge, Jimmy Page, and Jack White. Page was the only star of the film to attend the UK premiere.
- On 4 December 2009, Regina Spektor filmed her Live in London CD/DVD to a sold out crowd.
Hammersmith Apollo 2010s
- From 5-31 January 2010, Billy Connolly performed 20 sold out shows.
- On 18 January 2010, American singer/songwriter and guitarist John Mayer returned to the UK to play one of only four dates in the UK.
- On 19 March 2010, British band The Stranglers recorded a live DVD entitled Live at the Apollo.
- On 8 April 2010, the comedy film directed by David Baddiel and starring Omid Djalili, The Infidel had its premiere. The organ was played by Richard Hills as the audience arrived and in the interval. This was the first film premiere at the Apollo for over 20 years. The occasion also marked the first proper public performance for the organ since the 1980s.
- On 14–18 July 2010, American magicians and comedians Penn & Teller performed, their first UK performance in more than 16 years.
- On 17 February 2011, British girlband The Saturdays recorded their first DVD Headlines! live at the Hammersmith Apollo, from their sold-out performance.
- Bob Dylan performed three sold out concerts, ending his 2011 Never Ending Tour with Mark Knopfler. These three dates brings to total of Dylan performances at the venue to twenty-four. He performed there six times in 1990, eight times in 1991, six times in 1993, once in 2003 and three times in 2011.
- On 26 May 2012, Judas Priest performed the last show of their Epitaph World Tour, and it was filmed for a later DVD release.
- On 21 December 2012, Brian Cox and Robin Ince hosted a sell-out show containing performances by scientists, comedians, actors and other apocalypse sceptics for a show to coincide with the predicted Mayan apocalypse entitled "The End of the World Show".
- On 15-16 March 2013 the original line-up of Status Quo played two sold-out shows on their Reunion Tour, after being apart for 32 years. These concerts were released on CD.
- On 7 September 2013, Selena Gomez opened the newly renovated theatre on her Stars Dance Tour, the only performance in the UK for the tour. The date also commissioned the venue's new name, Eventim Apollo.
Hammersmith Apollo External links
Hammersmith Apollo References