Just because they're playing giant arenas doesn't mean famous artists have become desensitized to the same anxiety a lot of up-and-coming musicians feel just before a show. They get the jitters, too. And some of them seem to rely on rituals to cope.
Not every pre-show routine is directly spawned by stage fright, of course. Regardless of the logic behind them, the rituals below are a bit, um...nontraditional. We're not necessarily superstitious, but just to be on the safe side, we've picked seven (lucky?) favorites to highlight.
1. Adele rides out her freak-out
The singer embraces her pre-show jitters, even if that means praying to the porcelain gods and goddesses. In interviews she's said that the more nervous she is, the more she ultimately enjoys the show.
Another report states she's invented an alter ego—Sasha Carter, a combination of Sasha Fierce and June Carter—to channel in times of intense stage fright. Adele reportedly came up with the idea after panicking before first meeting Beyonce.
2. John Legend chows down on chicken
Apparently the 30-minute rule for swimming doesn't apply to performances, despite that for most artists they're just as much of a workout, if not more. John Legend told The Today Show he eats rotisserie chicken before hitting the stage.
3. Keith Richards requires shepherd's pie
The rock 'n' roll legend reportedly requires a fresh shepherd's pie, untouched—he's gotta be the one to break the crust. Rumor has it Richards once delayed a show to wait for a new pie because a member of a venue's security staff had a slice before he did. We can't confirm, but we think it's possible weed had some part in the impetus for that one.
4. Lady Gaga gets down with glitter
This one's really great, but it doesn't surprise us. It's been reported that Lady Gaga's pre-stage routine involves throwing around glitter while dancing topless with her dancers.
5. Pink gets down with herself (sort of)
Another awesome boobs-centric pre-show ritual: Pink has a friend pinch her nipples just before she walks onstage.
6. Leonard Cohen sings in Latin
“Pauper sum ego, nihil habeo.” Translation: “I am poor, I have nothing.” That's what Cohen and company sing before every show, according to the Webb Sisters, Cohen's backup musicians. It's a tool for focusing and unifying, they said.
7. Selena Gomez drinks olive oil
Serious vocalists may have heard of this tradition already, and it's really not so unconventional a practice. Selena Gomez guzzles olive oil before shows to help keep her vocal chords lubricated. But she doesn't like doing it; Gomez admitted on Ellen that it makes her gag every time.
Do you have your own pre-show rituals? Tell us about them in the comments section below!
Jhoni Jackson is an Atlanta-bred music journalist currently based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she juggles owning a venue called Club 77, freelance writing and, of course, going to the beach as often as possible.