The Hammersmith Apollo, currently called the Eventim Apollo for sponsorship reasons, and formerly known as the Hammersmith Odeon, is a live entertainment performance venue, originally built as a cinema called the Gaumont Palace. Located in Hammersmith, London, it is an art deco Grade II* listed building.
Designed by Robert Cromie, who also renovated the Prince of Wales Theatre, in the Art Deco style, it opened in 1932 as the Gaumont Palace, with a seating capacity of nearly 3,500 people, being renamed the Hammersmith Odeon in 1962. It has had a string of names and owners, most recently AEG Live and Eventim UK. It became a Grade II listed building in 1990. The venue was later refurbished and renamed Labatt's Apollo following a sponsorship deal with Labatt Brewing Company (1993 or 1994).
Hammersmith Apollo, 2008
In 2002, the venue was again renamed, this time to Carling Apollo after Carling brewery struck a deal with the owners, US-based Clear Channel Entertainment, now iHeartMedia, inc. The event was marked by rock band AC/DC playing a one-off concert. All 5,000 tickets sold out in 4 minutes. 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 venue's listing was upgraded to Grade II* status in 2005. 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 was then 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 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 architect Foster Wilson. The venue reopened as the Eventim Apollo on 7 September 2013, with a concert performance by Selena Gomez.
The Compton pipe organ
Restored organ, 2007
The original 1932 Comptonpipe organ remains installed 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. At the insistence of English Heritage and the local council, however, it was reinstated and the entire organ restored. At a launch party, on 25 July 2007, an invited audience and media representatives witnessed a recital by Richard Hills.
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.
On 25 March 1958, Buddy Holly performed two shows at the venue. After the first show, a scuffle with Joe B Mauldin knocked the caps off Holly's two front teeth; Holly repaired the damage with chewing gum and performed the second show with the gum spread over his front teeth. These were his last shows in the United Kingdom.
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.
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. Again in 1981, Lynott and his gang appeared in the venue for the recording of the BBC's In Concert. The disc are released as a part of the Box Set At The BBC, in 2011. Some of this tracks also appeared in the deluxe editions of Chinatown and Thunder and Lightning. Finally, the double live album Life/Live was recorded in the venue in 1981 and 1983, with the participation of guitarists Eric Bell, Brian Robertson and Gary Moore. The guitarist Snowy White participated on three tracks recorded in 1981 in the same venue.
The progressive rock band Camel recorded some tracks in 1976 for the release of a future live album. The album was released in 1978, and is called A Live Record. The entire concert was released and made part of the deluxe edition of Moonmadness. The same concert was broadcast by the BBC and released in DVD format. The DVD was called Moondances.
In 1978, Black Sabbath, with Ozzy Osbourne still a member, held concerts celebrating 10 years of career in the venue. The opening band was Van Halen. The concert was recorded and released on video and later on DVD, with the name Never Say Die: A Decade of Black Sabbath. In 30–31 December 1981, the band now with Dio recorded their concerts at this venue. The gig was released on disc and vinyl in 2007, and later as part of the Deluxe edition of Mob Rules. In 1994 the show in Apollo was recorded and released one year later titled Cross Purposes Live.
On 24 February 1978, Sweet played their first concert at Hammersmith Odeon. It was to be their last British show featuring 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.
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. Years later, David Coverdale and this gang appears in Hammersmith for the recorded of Live... In the Still of the Night album and DVD set.
The albums 461 Ocean Boulevard and Slowhand of the guitarist Eric Clapton were reissued in double CD deluxe format accompanied with a live album recorded at the venue, depicting tours of 1974 and 1976.
The Police played three shows at Hammersmith Odeon in late 1979 promoting their Reggatta de Blanc album (1979-09-22, 1979-09-23 and 1979-12-18).
In 1980, the rock band UFO, without Michael Schenker, recorded the BBC programme In Concert. In 1981, they again played in the venue for the same programme. These two discs are in the UFO on Air: At the BBC, released in 2013.
In 1983, Dire Straits recorded the concerts for a future release. Finished launching in 1984 the double album Alchemy and a video with the same name. The video was remastered and released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2009, in its full version.
The black metal band Venom released a double album in 1985 called Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. One of the discs was recorded in the venue. The band was banned in 1984 because they ruined the ceiling of the theatre with a show of fireworks (during the track Countess Bathory). The show was recorded and released on video in 1984 with the name Seven Dates to Hell, with opening by the young Metallica. The following year, the band recorded the concert at this venue for a television special, named Live from London. Both shows were released on DVD in the decade of 2000.
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 25 October 1982, Depeche Mode performed there as part of their A Broken Frame 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, Japan played a six-night residency from 17 to 22 November. These were the band's final performances in the UK and the final night's performance was recorded and then released in 1983 on VHS and audio as Oil on Canvas.
On 21 September 1986, Metallica performed at the Odeon 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, the Hammersmith Odeon refused to host any rap groups for several years afterwards.
On 10 July 1987, the first Soviet rock musicians ever to perform in Britain Autograph and Dialogue at Russian Rock Gala during Capital Music Festival.
On February 23, 1987, Europe performed at Hammersmith Odeon in part of The Final Countdown World Tour. The performance was filmed and released as Europe : The Final Countdown World Tour 1987 (Live in Hammersmith Odeon)
Musical theatre star Michael Ball has performed at the Hammersmith Apollo on nine occasions—each time selling out. His concerts in December 1993 and 1994, were recorded by BBC Radio 2. He also recorded his 2003, 2007 and 2013 concerts for DVD release.
On 21 October 2003, rock band AC/DC performed at the Apollo. 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 15 November 2003, Kylie Minogue launched her studio album Body Language with a press conference and a one-off show entitled Money Can't Buy, no tickets were offered for sale publicly and only invited guests and competition winners attended the show.
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 November 15, 2004 Europe filmed their performance called Live From The Dark
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 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 guitarists The Edge, Jimmy Page, and Jack White. Page was the only star of the film to attend the UK premiere.
On 8 April 2010, The Infidel, a comedy film directed by David Baddiel and starring Omid Djalili, was premiered. 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 more than 20 years.
On 4 May 2010, the Italian songwriter Vasco Rossi, had a sold-out concert during his "Tour Europe indoor". The whole concert was recorded and issued on 22 June under the name Vasco London Instant Live 04.05.2010.
On 14–18 July 2010, American magicians and comedians Penn & Teller performed, their first UK performance in more than 16 years.
Bob Dylan performed three 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 21 December 2012, Brian Cox and Robin Ince hosted a 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 24–26 February 2013, Kanye West played three shows as a part of a small European tour which tested a new setup which featured surround vision visuals. The shows featured West wearing a white sci-fi straitjacket, a glittering, skin-tight crystal bondage mask obscuring his face. The theme of the shows centered on icy, glacial environmental visuals.
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.