The huge backing band, the spectacular film show, the quad sound, the explosions on stage - there were plenty of highlights to impress the audience of well over 10,000.

However, probably few in the crowd gave a thought to the organisation that went into running a concert as big as the Waters extravaganza.


Sorting everything out, from security to food and beverage outlets, from toilets to grandstands, from building the stage to arranging the quad sound, was a major league undertaking.

The organisation went back to April last year when Waters's management contacted The Talent Brokers about the possibility of a Dubai show.

Negotiations began properly in September and the deal for Waters to perform as part of his Dark Side of the Moon Live tour was confirmed in November. In the following weeks preparations began in earnest.

Padma Coram, managing director and partner of promoter The Talent Brokers, said it was a challenge not least because Waters himself, a rock legend who has been in the business for decades, was not prepared to compromise on the technical side of things.

Pop acts

While some of the here today, gone tomorrow pop acts are flexible, established names like Waters with hard-earned reputations tend to more uncompromising - they know how they want things done and the promoter must fit in with them.

"His wants and needs weren't personal stuff. Some artists want a certain kind of flower or perfume in the dressing room. That might be expensive or irritating but it's possible. His demands were more about the show," she said.

For example, Waters insisted on performing with quad sound, which meant having speakers at the back as well as at the front of the venue. And the stage was big - bigger than anything seen before at Dubai Media City, according to Coram.

Palm trees

"The roof of the stage was very high and the stage was extremely wide with screens behind and to the sides - we had to uproot and then replace some of the palm trees. The venue had never had anything this large. And he insisted on Vari-Lite lights - we had to bring those in from Doha," said Coram.

Preliminary visits to the site took place about three weeks before the February 21 concert, while building of the stage began around 10 days before the show.

As the amphitheatre where the concert was held is not a permanent arena, there was no power supply so generators had to be brought in and grandstands built.

"It's uneven ground so we had to put thick planks down underneath the grandstand to make it level, which is another cost increase. And the forklift couldn't move on uneven ground, so we had to change from one machine to another that could move on site. It's these kinds of challenges you have to deal with," Coram said, adding that the infrastructure alone for the concert - excluding the artist's fee - cost about Dh2 million.


Sorting out where to put the toilets, the food and beverage outlets, the security fences and the like was a complex business.

A total of 350 bar staff were on hand, capable of pouring around 250 drinks per minute.

"In the 25-minute interval, you have to ensure that enough people can get a drink without standing in a very long queue. It's quite a challenge when you have so many people and a mile-long queue," Coram said.

A hygienist was on site to take and store food samples regularly so that if anyone later complained they had suffered food poisoning, organisers could check to see if there really was a problem with what was being sold.

Boundary lines

There were two boundary lines for entry into the concert, at the second of which visitors exchanged their ticket for a
wristband. Coram said this arrangement was aimed at reducing queues.

"This was the first time this has ever been done here and it's quite expensive to have this many security guys," said Coram. "And we had to keep in mind health and safety - that
was a huge challenge. There were all sorts of things to consider - where people would run if there was a fire."

Two days before the concert, Rogers and his crew of 45 people arrived after performing in Mumbai. Also that day, an Antonov aircraft carrying 70 per cent of the technical equipment for the show flew in.

Lord of the Pink

Roger Waters founded Pink Floyd in 1965 with Syd Barrett, Richard Wright and Nick Mason, although two years later David Gilmour was invited to replace the mentally unstable Barrett.

The group became one of the biggest acts of the 1970s and beyond thanks to albums such as Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975) and The Wall (1979). During this period, Waters was often regarded as the group's creative force.

Waters quit in 1985, but as a solo artist he has continued to tour and to release new material, with some of his more recent work being highly critical of US President George W. Bush.

In Dubai he performed solo and Pink Floyd hits plus the whole of the Dark Side of the Moon album.

Setting up the gig?

Much of the burden of arranging the recent Roger Waters concert fell on the shoulders of Padma Coram, managing director and partner of promoter The Talent Brokers.

Coram said there were an incredible 1,200 people working on the day of the concert - as well as Roger Waters himself.
"For an international western artist, this show was probably the most challenging one we've ever done," Coram said.

After the concert

The day after the concert, Roger Waters and his band flew out for their next performance.

For those left behind, the site had to be cleared up, the grandstands and stage dismantled - and the uprooted palm trees put back.

The Talent Brokers still had people working on site for days afterwards.

"We like to think that people won't forget it in a hurry, and perhaps a few of them thought to themselves: 'I wonder who
organised all of this,'" said Padma Coram, managing director and partner of promoter The Talent Brokers.

The Talent Brokers

The Talent Brokers was founded 28 years ago and is run by Padma Coram and her husband Richard, who has worked as a disc jockey and television presenter.

The company, which has its head office in Dubai, has organised about 8,000 events over the years with some of the biggest names in entertainment.

Among the acts it has brought to the UAE are Elton John, Bryan Adams, Luciano Pavarotti, Mark Knopfler, Jimmy Barnes and Rod Stewart.

Padma Coram said: "We have a lot of very experienced suppliers who we regularly work with to organise concerts and other events - between us all I think we have about 400 years' experience in the business."