contract rider in history, on the other hand, was the one sent ahead to the small bars and nightclubs on the 2003 tour of “Jack Russell’s Great White,” the touring remnant of the group behind late-80s hits like “Once Bitten, Twice Shy.” That rider led, in a very direct way, to the deaths of 100 concert-goers in The Station nightclub fire in West Warwick, Rhode Island, on this day in 2003.
Even in its heyday, Great White was no Van Halen. Yet one can be sure that the contract rider enumerating their onstage and backstage needs circa 1988 must have looked rather different from the one they were using 15 years later. The latter document was a model of restraint. Beverages? Bottled water, orange juice, coffee, tea and a few Red Bulls. Lunch? Something from the venue kitchen, or sandwiches from Subway. The rider specified gel colors for the lights and dimensions for the merchandise table, but in the detailed stage diagram it made no mention of three pyrotechnic devices—spark fountains called “gerbs”—that the band’s tour manager liked to set off just as Jack Russell’s Great White tore into their opening number. Those devices would start the fourth deadliest fire in American history, killing 100 patrons of The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, on the night of February 20, 2003.