Today The Rolling Stones finally confirmed the long-awaited rumours that they would indeed be heading out on tour to celebrate their five glorious decades of rock, roll, and debauchery.

With a brand new track – taken from GRRR!, a new career-spanning compilation – a new rockumentary in Crossfire Hurricane premiering soon, as well Keith Richards and half the music press teasing (and expecting) as much, The Rolling Stones have confirmed that they’ll be playing four shows, two a piece in the UK and the US, at the O2 Arena in London and the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey at year’s end (full dates below).

But what is just as interesting as the Stones hitting the touring trail for the first time since 2007, is the big-name merger behind the tour that’s brought rock’s oldest institution back out on the road.

The first of The Rolling Stones’ 50th Anniversary live shows marks the launch of a new venture in global touring, with the Dainty Group and Virgin teaming up to form Virgin Live.

Virgin Live is the product of Richard Branson and the titular Paul Dainty, the two key figures behind the new promotional merger, who both have a storied history with the band, joining forces to help celebrate their five decade career.

“I’ve worked with the Rolling Stones for many years and I still get a buzz every time I see them live,” said Paul Dainty in a press release for the Stones concerts released today. “These four shows are without doubt a must-see event. I am extremely excited about this collaboration with Virgin. There will be a lot more to say about Virgin Live soon but, for now, it’s all about the Stones…”

Meanwhile, Dainty’s new business partner, Richard Branson commented: “Today marks the beginning of Virgin Live and what a beginning!”

Love Eminem?

Get the latest Eminem news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more

“It’s great to join forces with Dainty Group to launch Virgin Live with the Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary shows” he continues. “Who would have believed, that a relationship with the band that started in the sixties, would still be going strong five decades later with us working together again on these amazing shows.”

The global partnership also brings hope to Australian fans waiting to see The Rolling Stones down under for the first time since 2006 as part of their money-spinning, globe-trotting tour for A Bigger Bang; the second highest grossing tour of all-time, earning over $US 550 million (second only to U2′s 360 Tour).

The Dainty Group has a proven track record of bringing high-profile acts to Australia, including Eminem, U2, and Prince to name a few, while Branson has ties with Australia through Virgin as well, the airline arm of the corporation recently taking flight with AIR’s 2012 Independent Music Awards (which kick off tonight).It’s great to join forces with Dainty Group to launch Virgin Live with the Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary shows

The new partnership also sees the Dainty Group partnering with Endemol, a global production company, that will co-manage the international digital rights to the Rolling Stones shows. Meaning broadcasting and licensing will be handled by the two, including the final show staged at the Prudential Center in New Jersey on December 15, which will be telecast live via pay-per-view on selected TV networks.

The announcement of the newly-formed Virgin Live is the latest in a series of high-profile touring promoters and music business forging new alliances.

The Dainty Group partnered with former Big Day Out promoter Vivian Lees to create Two Worlds Touring last September, while Lees’ former partner, Ken West sought solace in a new partnership with C3 Presents, the international company responsible for the likes of Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, bringing their considerable promotional power to the Big Day Out 2013, which is set to sell out in a matter of weeks.

Both of which is following on from news that Michael Chugg and his Chugg Entertainment group recently announcing alliances with Homebake 2012 as co-promoters, as well as a new deal with A&R Worldwide; while Splendour In The Grass promoters Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco recently bought into Falls Festival.

The only other major player who’s yet to announce a power play or promotional merger is Mushroom Group mogul and recently-named Melburnian of the Year,  Michael Gudinski, but given the current climate it may only be a matter of time.


Presented by Virgin Live.

Sunday 25 November The O2 Arena, London – UK
Thursday 29 November The O2 Arena, London – UK
Thursday 13 December Prudential Center, Newark NJ – USA
Saturday 15 December Prudential Center – Newark NJ – USA

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine