David Vickers (1954 -2015)

Following the untimely death of Live Nation venue chief and long-time ILMC member David Vickers, Carl A H Martin and Live Nation COO Paul Latham remember a ‘diamond geezer’ renowned for his kindness and professionalism.   

Carl A H Martin,

At the back end of the eighties, David Vickers came to work as Finance Director at the newly opened Sheffield Arena, which is where I first met him. This was the beginning of a long relationship, both professional and personal. Which was amazing really because we were like chalk and cheese.

There was no way that David would have flown by the seat of his pants but he accepted and fitted in with those of us who did. He would smile his wonderful smile, which always made his face crumple, make some laconic remark and then get on with things.

Whilst a lot of us moved on to other venues, David remained true to his beloved Sheffield, becoming GM and then moving upwards to eventually become the SVP for venue development for Live Nation.

David accepted the travel and disruption with his usual manner. You never knew quite where he would be; the Middle East one day; the USA the next, but always back to Sheffield where he continued to base himself.

Sheffield was where he was happiest, where his football team, United, were, and where he and his beloved Kathryn lived. Just recently David and Kathryn got married and the tragedy is that it was whilst they were on holiday to celebrate this union that David suffered the heart attack that killed him.

David didn’t have a bad bone or thought in his body, he’s gone too soon and the world is going to miss him. There aren’t too many around like him, unfortunately. David truly was one of life’s ‘Diamond Geezers…’

Thank you for being in my life.

Paul Latham, COO Live Nation

I first met David in 1996. Apollo Leisure bought the Cardiff International Arena and were members of the National Arena Association – David was one of the stalwarts and he made me feel particularly welcome.

Apollo then won the tender to manage the Sheffield Arena, from the incumbents SMG, for whom David had started as a financial director latterly becoming the general manager. Every other venue Apollo took over we made the manager redundant because they were normally too expensive, and they tended to cling to how things used to be. But with David it was different. The building and the staff were in his DNA and he wanted to be part of the changes to protect what he had built over the years. At no time did David make it difficult for those of us who came to the venue – he got the bigger picture.

When I was promoted in the new SFX company, David was the natural candidate to step up to the divisional manager’s role – his gravitas in the industry was invaluable to us and he now had a supervisory role across our UK music venues.

We were very active seeking out new venues and tenders. David, Terry Carnes and I made a formidable bid team. However, in most teams there would normally be the sharing of the good cop/bad cop roles. That didn’t work with David – he could never be the bad cop – he was far too nice and polite!

That was the over-riding theme of all the messages we have had since David’s untimely death – every single person acknowledged that David was the nicest man, the kindest man, the most considerate man.

It is normally an exaggeration to say someone was globally liked but of David that is absolutely true. In the last few years his role was Senior Vice President for International Venue Development and his projects took him to France, Italy, Denmark, Russia, Dubai, the Middle East, Hong Kong, China and Australia (among many others). Several buildings have been built, or are being built, that David has played a crucial role in.

We will miss David’s professionalism and friendship greatly – in the time since we had the terrible news we have all clung to the happiest of memories we have of David. For me that goes back to December 2010 when David’s beloved Sheffield Arena hosted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards – David and Cath hosted a box in the arena and I’m not sure I ever saw him as happy, and moreover, proud of what the team he helped to build had achieved. That was typical of the man.

The global venue business has lost one of their very finest – thank you David for everything you gave us.

The above text is the eulogy that Paul delivered at David’s funeral on 11 June 2015