The Hammersmith Apollo (currently called the Eventim Apollo, for sponsorship reasons, but formerly – and still commonly – known as the Hammersmith Odeon) is an entertainment venue and a Grade II* listed building located in Hammersmith, London.
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 Eventim UK.
Hammersmith Apollo, 2008
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 Hammersmith Odeon, a name many people still use for the venue. 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).
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 (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 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.
The Compton pipe organ
Restored organ, 2007
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. 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.
In popular culture
View of the stage and proscenium, 2007
Many bands have released live albums, videos or DVDs of concerts held at the Apollo, such as Queen, Black Sabbath, Rush,
Hawkwind, Iron Maiden, Celtic Frost, Kings of Leon, Tears for Fears, Dire Straits, Frank Zappa, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Erasure, Spear of Destiny, Motörhead, and Robbie Williams. In September 1979 Gary Numan recorded his Touring Principle show at the venue.
Kate Bush released a video and record EP of her concerts at the Odeon from her first tour in 1979. Duran Duran recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon on 16 November 1982 and released Live at Hammersmith '82!. Depeche Mode made one of its first concert videos for a Danish television at the Hammersmith on 25 October 1982. Alchemy: Dire Straits Live was recorded at the Odeon. Kylie Minogue performed a one-off concert in the venue in 2003 and released a DVD of the performance in 2004. Minogue also performed the last show of her Anti Tour in the venue on 3 April 2012. Girls Aloud released a DVD of their concert at the Apollo in 2005. 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.
- 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 ever 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 28 October 1972, the "Giants of Jazz" – a supergroup consisting of jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, drummer Art Blakey, Sonny Stitt, Kai Winding and Al McKibbon – played two concerts at the Hammersmith at 6:30 and 9:30 P.M.
- 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 1979, and is now available on DVD as Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars.
- In December 1974, Elton John played a televised Christmas concert for the BBC's Old Grey Whistle Test.
- In December 1975, Queen performed several shows at the Hammersmith Odeon during the A Night at the Opera Tour. The show of 24 December was broadcast by the BBC and released in 2015 on CD, Vinyl and DVD/Blu-ray as A Night at the Odeon – Hammersmith 1975.
- 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 BBC 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 November 1977 The Tubes played 10 shows and recorded the live double album "What Do You Want from Live" at the Hammersmith. The album was released in February 1978.
- In 1978, Black Sabbath still with Ozzy Osbourne 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.
- Frank Zappa also recorded parts of his 1979 album, Sheik Yerbouti, at the venue. Zappa's triple album Hammersmith Odeon was released posthumously in 2010 by the Zappa Family Trust.
- Kate Bush also performed the same year, and released a live video and record EP of her 1979 concerts.
- On 13-15 December 1979, Cliff Richard played at the Hammersmith Odeon during the Rock`n`Roll Juvenile Tour.
- In December 1979, Queen, The Clash, Elvis Costello, The Who, The Pretenders and Paul McCartney and Wings and many more artists played several nights. 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. Paul McCartney and Kurt Waldheim organised the event.
- 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.
- Miles Davis played in 1982 with his modern Jazz fusion band. The concert was released years later in DVD.
- Def Leppard recorded the video of Bringing on the Heartbreak on the venue.
- In December 1985 Hawkwind filmed a concert from their Chronicle of the Black Sword tour. The recordings were subsequently released as the Live Chronicles album and The Chronicle of the Black Sword video.
- 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 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 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 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.
- 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.
- Recital of the Script is a live album by Marillion, recorded at a concert at the Hammersmith Odeon (as it was called then), London, on 18 April 1983.
- In 1984, Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour performed three shows at the venue on his About Face solo tour, which was documented on the concert video David Gilmour Live 1984.
- 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.
- During the early 1990s, the venue played host to a number of stage productions, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
- In summer of 1992, Erasure played 8 consecutive nights at the Hammersmith Odeon on the opening of their "Phantasmagorical Entertainment Tour".
- Megadeth Recorded their Performance on September 30, 1992 for a Concert DVD in support for their Album Countdown to Extinction
- Musical theatre star Michael Ball has performed at the Hammersmith Apollo on nine 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, 2007 and 2013 concerts for DVD release.
- Black Sabbath recorded their Cross Purposes Live album/video, with singer Tony Martin, on Wednesday 13 April 1994.
- In July 1995, Riverdance made its UK debut at the Apollo, selling out its initial four-week run and returning in the fall for another 19 weeks, breaking box office records in the process.
- On 14 July 1998, Doctor Dolittle a new musical by Leslie Bricusse (based on his 1967 film and the Hugh Lofting children's books) made its world premiere starring Phillip Schofield. The production closed on 26 June 1999.
In October 2004 Prince played 2 nights of his ‘One Night Alone’ tour.
- 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 ninth 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 2 September 2005, Iron Maiden performed a special fund raising sold-out show during their Eddie Rips Up the World Tour for former drummer Clive Burr, who was suffering from multiple sclerosis.
- 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 19 June 2007 OMD filmed their Architecture & Morality and more comeback-tour in this theatre.
- In September 2008, comedian Michael McIntyre performed shows around theatres in the UK and his filmed performance at the Hammersmith Apollo became the best selling debut comedy DVD of all time.
- In March 2009, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical (The Sponge Who Could Fly) premiered at the Apollo.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- Vasco Rossi, on 04-05-2010 performed one show for the album London Instant Live.
- On 26 May 2012, Judas Priest performed the last show of their Epitaph World Tour, and it was filmed for later DVD release.
- 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.
- From August to October 2014, Kate Bush undertook a 22 date residency called Before the Dawn at the Apollo. These performances were her first live shows in nearly 35 years.
- On 3 February 2015, the venue was chosen by the EBU/BBC as host for the Eurovision Song Contest's 60-year celebration event, presented by Graham Norton and Petra Mede, and televised across Europe and Australia via the Eurovision network. Conchita Wurst, Herreys and Natasha St-Pier were the first confirmed acts. The event took place on 31 March 2015.
- On 20 and 21 September 2015, British singer Morrissey performed what he dubbed his 'last UK shows ever' at the venue.
- On 6 December 2016, the venue hosted the Royal Variety Performance which was later televised by ITV.
- On 27 January 2017, the venue hosted Eurovision: You Decide, the UK's national selection show for the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 and aired live on BBC Two.
- On 17 March 2017, St Patrick's Day, Devin Townsend made a complete play through of the album Ocean Machine, twenty years after its first release; supported by Leprous and Tesseract.
- On 17 February 2018, Cumbrian indie band Wild Beasts played their final "farewell" show dubbed "End Come Too Soon".
- In April 2018, it was confirmed that the venue would host the live shows of Britain's Got Talent that year. The live shows returned to the venue the following year.
- On 17 June 2018, Monsta X had The Second World Tour "The Connect" in London.
- On 16 July 2018, it was the premiere of the movie Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.