News & Politics

Who’s the Biggest Diva – Al, Rudy, or Aretha?

Details from the riders of Al Gore, Rudy Guiliani – and for perspective – Aretha Franklin, as obtained by the website

To get a big-name speaker or performer these days, you’ll have to bankroll his or her incidentals on top of the honorarium and any transportation costs. Enter the “technical rider”—the very specific list of hospitality items required with a star’s paid appearance. Venues hoping to lure Jennifer Lopez on her last tour, for example, were instructed via her rider to make her dressing room all white—from couches to drapes to white lilies and candles.

But if you thought diva demands were just for stars like Lopez, think again. Here are details from the riders of Al Gore and Rudy Giuliani— and, for perspective, Aretha Franklin—as obtained by the Web site


Rudy Giuliani: Step one is to charter a Gulfstream IV jet or larger, setting the sponsor back at least $38,000. On the ground, the former mayor needs one SUV and one sedan to be at the airport an hour before arrival and to remain with him as long as he is there. For international engagements, expect to pay for two sedans/SUVs and one van for luggage, with background-checked drivers fluent in English.

Al Gore: After a paid commercial flight, the former vice president stipulates that a “sedan, NOT an SUV” must chauffeur him. Sponsor must also agree to make “best effort” to have that car be a hybrid.

Aretha Franklin: The reigning royal of soul won’t set foot on an airplane, so “suitable” sedans, a luggage van, and a tour bus are all on the sponsor’s dime.


Giuliani: Large nonsmoking, two-bedroom suite with king-size bed in a first-class hotel, registered under a code name. Also needs two singles on either side of the suite for security personnel as well as two singles on the same floor for others in the party. All meals and related expenses during the one- or two-night stay (length determined by Giuliani) are billed to the sponsor. If the visit isn’t overnight, suite must still be booked as a holding area.

Gore: First-class hotel accommodations and full expenses for Gore and one other person. Gore aide gets a $1,000 per diem cash allowance.

Franklin: A two-bedroom suite with king-size bed, not to be above the fifth floor of an approved five-star hotel, with nearby singles for security detail. Up to 16 other singles must also be reserved for backup singers and, if he can’t sleep in the parked bus, the bus driver.


Giuliani: Lavaliere microphone? Check. Glass of water? Sure. Amply proportioned stage free of any shade or “dark areas”? Check.

Gore: Gets final say on all backdrops, sets, banners, scenery, logos, and settings. Requests usual professorial gadgets such as a laser pointer, remote, and hookup cords for his MacBook.

Franklin: Air-conditioning ducts must be taped shut and all cold-air flow in the VIP dressing room shut off. AC in the venue and backstage must be shut off at least one hour before performance time.


Giuliani: For ticketed events, daily press get 15 minutes of Q&A, still photographers get three minutes, videographers get ten minutes. No press for private events.

Gore: No press allowed—please, people, this is a classroom. Gore gets final say on all “mailings, communications, and solicitations” that involve his lectures as well as ten tickets for personal distribution.

Franklin: Must receive sole star billing on publicity materials and needs 50 complimentary tickets for her posse. Press ops available with artist’s approval.


Giuliani: Must approve any dinner seating arrangements one week before the event, at which wife Judith or a suitable proxy—a staff member—is to be seated next to him.

Gore: No specifics.

Franklin: If you can’t stock her dressing room with hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, a silver tea service, tea, Evian, and cloth napkins, fuggedaboutit.


Giuliani: $100,000 plus expenses for him and five others.

Gore: $100,000 plus unrestricted travel expenses.

Franklin: Of the full amount due, $25,000 of it must be paid in cash to the artist herself.

This piece originally appeared in the September 2007 edition of the magazine.