Noel Gallagher’s surprise appearance on stage at U2’s O2 Arena show on Monday night (October 26) was preceded by an even more unusual sight: the former Oasis guitarist taking the tube to Sunday night’s show, just like a normal person would. Weird, that – they’re just like us, these rockstars. But maybe it’s not such an irregular sight after all: let’s take a look back at some of the other times that the rich’n’famous of the music world have rubbed shoulders and traded sweat on public transport with the rest of us…
Jay Z on the New York City subway, 2012
Playing the last night of his eight-concert stint at the newly opened Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Mr. Beyoncé decided: “Hey, I’ll get the subway to my gig tonight – why the hell not, I’m Jay Z!” So, as you’ll see below (and no doubt to the quiet disgruntlement of his security team), that’s exactly what he did – except it wasn’t much of a quiet commute to work. Surrounded by a team of burly security guards, nosey film crews and hundreds of wide-eyed New Yorkers, Jay just about makes it onto the train, and then somehow secures a seat amidst the chaos. He then proceeds to talk to Ellen, a pensioner who has no idea who he is, asking the rapper “Are you famous?”, and inadvertently giving birth to a million GIFs and memes.
Matt Bellamy takes the tube to the BRITS, 2013
Muse’s frontman isn’t the most instantly recognisable rockstar in the world – while anyone with a working knowledge of music from the past 15 years or so shouldn’t have too much of a problem pointing and gawping at Matt Bellamy if they spotted him riding in the same tube carriage, it seems that many Londoners (or indeed tourists) haven’t a scooby who he is. Hence why, relatively untroubled, he took the tube to the BRIT Awards – where the three-piece performed ‘Supremacy’ – in February 2013, just to prove how literally down-to-earth he is. Ahem.
Rihanna chills on the underground, 2011
“I’m chilling with Rihanna,” gushes a lucked-out fan on the Jubilee Line as Rihanna stands two feet away. “I’m chilling with you,” the recent NME cover star replies, sending the fan into a fit of uncontrollable giggles. See, Rihanna’s cool: taking the tube (with her security guards, naturally) to the first of her 10-show run at the O2 Arena demonstrated that she’s just as normal as each and every one of us… probably.
Dave Grohl on the Chicago Brown Line, 2014
The Nicest Man In Rock™ is such an easy-going guy that he’s more than happy to ride public transport with the common man. What can’t he do, eh? Captured by a fan – smiling, of course – in Chicago riding on a CTA train whilst the Foos were in the city, it only strengthens the notion that Dave really is one of the good guys in music.
Mariah Carey glams up the 1 train, 2014
Attending the Fresh Air Fund Salute To American Heroes Gala in a glitzy ballroom dress? Then get the subway – that’s what Mariah did in 2014, uploading several clips to her Vine account in the process. What was the point of it all? Ah, no-one really knows.
Beyoncé rides a bike, 2013
Who knew that royalty rode bicycles? The much-touted ‘Queen’ B decide to go for a ride across the Brooklyn Bridge on her way to her Barclays Center show in 2013, and it looked like no-one suspected a thing. Shrewd move, Bey.
DRAM performs on the subway platform, 2015
Not long after professing his love for the cha-cha (as a means of hooking up with “a Latin girl“, rather than having any aspirations to be a contestant on Strictly), Virginia artist DRAM – you know, DRAM! – went underground to spread his message to NYC’s travelling public by the means of a guerrilla gig (remember those?).
Jay Z (again), Chris Martin and Timbaland mind the closing doors, 2013
Look, maybe Jigga is really into public transport. After his antics on the NYC subway the year previous, Jay Z was spotted using his oyster card travelling to the O2. This time, however, producer Timbaland and Chris Martin were in tow – but while the Coldplay man tried to play it cool by pulling his hat over his eyes, Mr Carter was happy to be seen (with his security team flanking him, obviously) riding the tube.