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On 25 March 2016, iconic rock veterans the Rolling Stones took to the stage in Havana, Cuba, for a free concert in-front of around 500,000 fans. It marked a huge milestone for the country. For the Rolling Stones, it celebrated almost 55 years as a band; a career which has spawned the likes of era-defining songs (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, Gimme Shelter and Wild Horses.
Three years since the acclaimed concert, Rebel Vision – the brainchild of former concert promoter and management duo Tom and Andy – are preparing to offer the experience to thousands more across the UK. The Rolling Stones: Havana Moon promises a new immersive concert experience, transforming venues across the UK into a Cuban street market and enveloping fans into the show’s vibrant world. “We want to reinvent the ways audience experience concerts,” the pair say. “It’s bridging the gap between music and cinema.”
“It’s so much more than a cinema ticket.”
Originally the duo planned to bring physical live shows to intimate locations, earmarking Maidstone’s TV studios – the home of Later… with Jools Holland. It soon dawned on them that there was an opportunity to offer broader audiences the chance to experience bygone concerts, and to bring huge, internationally renowned artists to fans who may not be able to afford the original ticket price. The idea came to be during 2016, a year that saw the artistic community lose Prince, David Bowie, George Michael, Leonard Cohen and more. “It was around that time we were losing influential musicians almost every day – or at least that’s what it felt like. There was more awareness of people wishing they’d seen artists before it was too late, or not being able to afford to go see these huge bands,” Rebel Vision say.
Armed with an idea, and with the interest of London’s Troxy as a home for the inaugural event, Tom and Andy got to work designing the full Havana Moon experience. “We wanted to reinvent the ways audience experienced concerts, by using theatrics and performance, and cinema technology.” Utilising state-of-the-art innovations, not least a unique point-source sound system (see below for more on what this means) and specifically programmed lighting, Rebel Vision launched an experience like no other. Following the success of the Troxy event, and as it prepares to tour across the UK throughout October 2019, Tom and Andy explain more about things to come.
…On what audiences can expect
“We’re bringing in set design that’s going to make audiences feel like they are in a Havana market. It’s a full sensory experience, so the smell and the visuals, as well as dancers performing. It’s quite a spectacle. You’re not just spending money to go to the cinema, we’ve got a full production. The lighting is comparable to anything you’d see at a live concert, programmed frame-by-frame to the actual film itself. The sound is a completely new system, which means you’ll get a full range wherever you are sitting or standing. As an event, we stretch across various demographics. It’s a great family event or a great night out with your mates. It’s a great way of experiencing something new with a group of people.”
…On choosing The Rolling Stones’ Havana Moon
“We wanted to make sure we could find the highest quality footage but also relay a good quality band through that. Rolling Stones were one of those bands we kept coming back to. Everyone relates to the Rolling Stones, they stretch across those demographics even more than people think. Havana Moon also only happened back in 2016, so the quality it was shot in is amazing.”
…On meeting the world’s number one Rolling Stones fan
“We’ve found ourselves in the room with the world’s number one Rolling Stones collector. He just has the most amazing collection of memorabilia that isn’t your tacky stuff. It’s really high-end quality things. He portrays the essence of the band and their fans. He’s been a collector for years and years, and he came to the first show. He’s opened up doorways into the fans’ world. That has giving us inspiration for the detailed set design, and everything that has come with the show. He’s the type of person that knows which fonts would be used in which years. It’s that level of detail, it’s an untrainable eye.”
…On the innovative sound
“Every single speaker is manually and digitally positioned to make sure the coverage across the whole venue is equal. Everything is being mixed live on each show, there will be such an amazing spread. It’s not going to feel like you’re just putting a BluRay on.”
…On the first ever Havana Moon immersive show
“It was probably one of the most stressful things… stressful but exciting. We’d only ever done venues up to 250 capacity. When the offer came up to go to Troxy and we looked at it aesthetically, we remember sitting down in a coffee shop and thinking “let’s just do it”. It was the only way we felt people would take us seriously. When you do a new concept you want to get it off the ground in the biggest and most impactful way possible. The best way we could really portray this concept was in a big venue.”
…On the immersive experience
“It’s about the overall atmospheric immersive experience of it. When you’ve got the full set-design, you’ve got the dancers integrating in the crowd, you’ve got the smells, you’ve got the drinks to go with it… It’s a journey, like you are walking through a Cuban market. The auditorium is basically set up like it was the show itself. It’s the best way of having an accurate experience of a live concert without an actual band being there.”
The Rolling Stones: Havana Moon, a new immersive concert screening, will tour across the UK on the following dates:
14 October 2019 – Cliffs Pavilion, Southend
16 October 2019 – Forum, Bath
17 October 2019 – Hexagon Theatre, Reading
18 October 2019 – Coliseum, Watford
19 October 2019 – City Hall, Hull
20 October 2019 – De Montfort Hall, Leicester
21 October 2019 – Venue Cymru, Llandudno
23 October 2019 – Usher Hall, Edinburgh
24 October 2019 – Concert Hall, Perth
25 October 2019 – Sands Centre, Carlisle
27 October 2019 – O2 Forum Kentish Town, London
Tickets for The Rolling Stones: Havana Moon, a new immersive concert screening, are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.