When Tyler did his first song and we got to raise the curtain, you could hear the roar.”
For the first time in 15 months, live music is returning nationwide after the global coronavirus pandemic ravaged the industry. Billboard’s “My First Show Back” is a series dedicated to sharing stories from throughout the touring ecosystem about what’s happening now, what has been forever altered and what will never change.
In this installment, Ground Branch Touring’s Henry Bordeaux talks about helping Tyler, the Creator return to the stage for three surprise shows in Los Angeles, Dallas and New York (June 29-July 1). As tour manager for Tyler (as well as Olivia Rodrigo), Bordeaux discusses reopening venues, the unmistakable roar of a live crowd and what he is doing to help students who lost out on a year of learning the live music business.
We did three shows in three days. All of them were secret shows — all of them were underplays. We did The Roxy on Sunset with a capacity of 500. Trees in Dallas was at 750-capacity and then Music Hall of Williamsburg at about 600-capacity. In each city, the fans didn’t know what was going on until a certain time of day. They got a text that said, “You’ve been chosen for a special event. Bring your vaccination card and an ID.” The fans got there and they checked IDs and vaccination cards, the fans got wristbands. A couple hours went by and then they got another text with the location and when to be there.