On Tuesday night (Nov. 5), the Billboard Live Music Summit belonged to P!nk.
The pop icon graced the Montage Beverly Hills on Tuesday night (Nov. 5) to accept the award for Legend of Live + Tour of the Year, awarded on the basis of her top-grossing 2018/2019 Beautiful Trauma World Tour. Clad in a hot pink suit, the singer took the stage to deliver a heartfelt speech that paid tribute to her longtime manager Roger Davies.
“Roger is a master of connection. He is a visionary. He is brilliant and he is good,” she said. “He met me when I was 21 and Missundaztood was about to come out…he listened to my ideas and he listened to my plans. And then he sat me down and said, 'You're fucking crazy. But it can be even better than you think. You just have to trust and work really f---ing hard.' And he convinced promoters such as one of the loves of my life, Barrie Marshall, to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars on me -- sorry -- which would be made back 10 to 15 years later.”
It's safe to say that Marshall’s bet paid off. The Beautiful Trauma World Tour now ranks as the 10th highest-grossing tour in Billboard Boxscore’s history with total grosses of $393.7 million and over three million tickets sold. As Billboard editorial director Hannah Karp pointed out in her opening remarks, Beautiful Trauma is also the highest-grossing tour for a female artist in more than a decade.
“Every single person on this team is as good as it gets,” P!nk continued. “And they work their asses off and they are masters of their craft. I know my riggers' wives' names. I know what my sound guys like to drink, and when. Everybody that's here, I love you so much, you're the best of the f---ing best.”
While P!nk’s acceptance speech was a definite high point of the evening, there were other highlights at the ceremony, which saw the return of Daily Show with Trevor Noah correspondent Roy Wood Jr. as emcee. Aside from the comedian -- who leveled jokes at everyone from Tekashi 6ix9ine ("that boy snitched on the whole eastern seaboard") to R. Kelly ("I talked to his prosecutor, he'll be out in the year 2094, right back on tour") -- the most entertaining figure to grace the stage was Real 92.3 DJ Big Boi, who presented Hootie & the Blowfish with the Tour of the Summer award for their $42 million-grossing Group Therapy reunion tour.
“Could you just go to the [beginning] and say 'Ladies and gentlemen, Big Boi' once again?” he asked Wood, indicating his social media team hadn't adequately captured the introduction. He then turned to the audience. “When he announces my name, just for social media purposes, I want everybody to go extra crazy, like get real loud.”
Kidding aside, Big Boi's earnest introduction saw him waxing poetic about his love for the ‘90s pop-rock band -- whose debut album Cracked Rear View remains one of the bestselling of all time in the U.S. with over 21 million copies sold -- and reminiscing about the time they invited him up on stage. “I did 'I Will Wait' with them live in front of a crowd,” he said. “And for some reason after that, they didn't tour for another 10 years.”
All four members of Hootie & the Blowfish -- Darius Rucker, Jim Sonefeld, Dean Felber and Mark Bryan -- were on hand to accept the award at Tuesday night’s ceremony, with Sonefeld and Rucker speaking on the group’s behalf.
“I said in the meeting, 'Let's not do this. I don't think it's going to be big…[and] if it ain't gonna fucking be big, I don't want to do it,’” said Rucker of the reunion tour, before shouting out CAA agent Rob Light for changing his mind. “[He] pulled me aside one day and said, 'Darius, this thing's gonna be huge.’ And you were right, man.”
Elsewhere during the ceremony, the most touching moment came courtesy of Paradigm agent Sara Bollwinkel (Billie Eilish), who paid tribute to late Paradigm head of music Chip Hooper while accepting the award named after her former colleague.
“I find that I often ask myself, 'What would chip do?' on a regular basis…and I absolutely hear his voice telling me, 'Don't f--- it up, Bollwinkel,’” she said. “He hasn't been here for most of the work I've done with Billie Eilish and I do often feel like the kid at the pool who wants to get her dad to watch her do a sick cannonball, saying 'watch me' like 60 times in a row. It doesn't really get easier when you lose someone as amazing and as impactful as Chip, but the drive to leave as incredible of a legacy as he did has me hell-bent.”
The rest of the evening's winners included Top Boxscore recipients the Spice Girls for their Wembley Stadium comeback shows in June; Ed Sheeran for Top Grossing tour; Rolling Stones representative Joyce Smyth for Top Manager, Verizon Up x Shawn Mendes x Camila Cabello for Top Concert & Marketing Promotion; Madison Square Garden for Top Arena; and WME for Top Agency.
You can see the full list of winners below.
Legend of Live + Tour of the Year: P!nk
Tour of the Summer: Hootie & the Blowfish, Group Therapy (award presented Big Boy
Top Boxscore: Spice Girls - Wembley Stadium, London, England - June 13-15, 2019
Top Grossing: Ed Sheeran
Top Manager: Joyce Smyth (Rolling Stones)
Top Concert & marketing Promotions: Verizon Up x Shawn Mendes x Camila Cabello Customer Loyalty Promotion
Top Arena: Madison Square Garden - New York
Top Agency: WME
Chip Hopper Award: Sara Bollwinkel, Agent at Paradigm