The line up for the weekend was great – Jay Z headlining the first night, Rihanna the second. Jessie J, Florence and the Machine, Leona Lewis, Rita Ora, Lana Del Rey…and more and more and more.
The only problem – the light in the indoor second stage was pretty bad which was a shame.
The action on the mainstage was great to shoot but for me the weekend was all about Rihanna’s set. Shooting from the pit for her is extremely rare and she had a runway down to where we were all told to stand. So she came and sang within a few feet of us then twice during the first three songs went for a walkabout in the pit. Cue mayhem! 20 + photographers swarming around her and you couldn’t fail to come away with amazing close up shots. What a buzz!
In a way I love shooting Download and I also hate it – inevitably falling out of love with it by the time I’m exhausted on Sunday night.
It started badly – I missed the Red White and Blues on Friday afternoon because of traffic and on Friday night, I had to shoot the Prodigy instead of Slash and Myles Kennedy. Inevitably the Prodigy were late so I could have done both, and they played in appauling light.
Saturday was great although Metallica reintroduced their classic snakepit for fanclub members which meant our shooting positions were compromised. However it did get us close to the action.
Sunday was all about Black Sabbath. No Bill Ward alas but a brave Tony Iommi and a tone deaf yet mesmerising Ozzy – possibly the last time we’ll ever see this line up in the UK…
I’ve stopped counting how many times I’ve photographed Slash. Definitely more than any other artist. Myles Kennedy is really growing on me as a vocalist, and I’d love to see him front Velvet Revolver if Scott Weiland really can’t be tempted back.
Compared to Axl and Co a week ago, this is the way I want to hear the classic GnR stuff played – by the only guy who can really play those solos.
The light was tough, very tough tonight, but the show was great fun.
Fast forward 24 hours and tonight was a proper gig. My first ever at the glorious Emirates Stadium which meant a lot of confusion (although I wasn’t alone) as to where to meet and pick up passes. I was one of only 2 photographers that made it in for the beginning of Marina and The Diamonds’ supporting set, which was very good.
This was also my first gig using my new 300m f/2.8 lens and with the massive runway it came in very handy.
I’ve shot a lot of Coldplay shows but I don’t see how it can ever be better than tonight. Chris Martin was on fire and the set up, lighting and paper butterfly confetti storm made for a perfect shoot.