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Top 10: architecture of rock concerts (part I)

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In celebration of Glastonbury Festival this weekend, the Architects’ Journal brings you a run-down of the very best in rock concert architecture

10. Daft Punk at O2 Wireless Festival 2007

In 2007, French DJ duo Daft Punk chose an iconic white pyramid as the base from which to blast fans with a one-and-a-half hour robotic megamix. The flashing prism, which recalls the pure form of I.M Pei’s extension to the Louvre, was set amongst a curtain of connecting flourescent light rods - perfectly complementing the pair’s glo-in-the-dark suits.


9. Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) at Coachella Festival 2008

To close Coachella last year, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd floated a two-storey high inflatable pig over the unsuspecting crowd. The graffiti-scrawled swine was the latest in a series of pig imagery used in the band’s live shows and album covers since the mid-70s. Blimp-like projects with a less literal approach to form include Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond’s 2006 pavilion for the Serpentine Gallery. As for the pig, it hovered in the night sky for most of show’s duration but has never been found since.

8. The Beatles at The Cavern Club, Liverpool, 1961

Brian Epstein introduced The Beatles to the world at the Cavern Club on Liverpool’s Mathew Street in 1961. The club, inspired by the Jazz cafes of Paris, was once used as an air raid shelter in World War 2. Between 1961 and 1963 The Beatles made 292 appearances at the club, making the venue synonymous with their global success.

7. AC/DC, Black Ice Tour, 2009

For the upcoming world Tour, AC/DC lead guitarist Angus Young will leap out of a six-metre high ‘Runaway Train’ (after the title of the group’s 2008 hit single). Fans can look forward to seeing the train run down a length of specially engineered track ‘in a blaze of lights smoke and pyrotechnics’ for an explosive start to the show. Structural engineers from Capita Bobrowski, a division of Capita Symonds, have worked closely with Mark Fisher, the tour’s art director, to make sure everything runs smoothly.

6. Brian May, roof of Buckingham Palace, 2002

Britain has a long tradition of bands playing on its buildings. It started with in 1969 with The Beatles on the roof The Apple Corps in London and U2 had a pop at it in February this year at Bush House, but the most memorable was Queen guitarist Brian May thrashing out the national anthem from Buckingham Palace for the Golden Jubilee.

Read on: Numbers 5 to 1 >

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