On paper this could (should) have been the gig of the year. Muse playing to just 2000 people on the eve of their album launch. Pit access and only a handful of photographers (entirely due to their downright idiotic contract)… it should have been awesome.
But instead it was terrible. Not the band – they were great – they always are.Terrible because it was beautifully backlit and the two guys on the lighting rig with big white spot lights must have been asleep because they didn’t use them at all! It meant they played with almost no frontlighting which just makes it almost impossible. If they’d used the spotlights, that would have made the difference between a complete waste of time and an amazing show to shoot. Such a shame…
I somehow managed to miss that this gig was even happening until the day before. With no expectations of getting a pass I fired off an email to the PR and…got a pass. Cool? No, 40 other people did too. Seriously, the PR has clearly never seen the size of the pit at Wembley Arena.
Fortunately a good ten or so had the good sense to not turn up which at least meant we weren’t in two rotating groups which had been threatened.
But it was a seated gig and the crowd simply wouldn’t stand up – even when Slipknot’s Corey Taylor and Slayer’s Kerry King played a Pantera song! So we had to crouch, sit and kneel for 2.5 hours and it was only during the encore that the crowd stood up and so did we.
Getting to shoot Elton John is a rarity and access is getting harder. Tonight was different. We had one song but it was 13 minutes long and because there were too many of us we were split in to two groups. Half a song doesn’t sound much but it was plenty.
I deliberately went in the second group which turned out to be the right move. I got some really wide shots like this one but also close up ones when he looked round directly at the line up of cameras. It was a bit of a bunfight but I knew in advance exactly what types of shots I wanted having shot him before which meant I could avoid most of the flying elbows (who let tabloid snappers into a gig!?) and do my own thing.
Where do I start!?!? At lunchtime I got a call from Steve Guest from Guesty PR asking me if I’d shoot the backstage portraits for the Sunflower Jam charity. No brainer really – Alice Cooper, Brian May, John Paul Jones, Bruce Dickinson to name just four were performing.
350 of us had dinner on the main floor of the Royal Albert Hall while it was closed to the public. An amazing auction followed (the Justin Bieber photo Alice is holding was presented to Steve Guest as a joke) and then came the live performances.
I was flitting between doing portraits of literally everyone backstage, and catching as much of the live performances as I could. Everyone was so generous with their time for the charity and the artists were a delight to be around.
The show ended up with everyone on stage jamming before some final group portraits backstage. A simply amazing day!
Back to Hyde Park for the second day in a row and my third gig in three days. Not surprisingly I was shattered today. But with a line up that included Paloma Faith, Status Quo and Jessie J it was never going to be a boring day. Mind you I can do without Mick Hucknall, but there you go.
Jessie J was absolutely fabulous and was a joy to shoot as was Paloma Faith. It was the first time I’d shot Quo in years and I was glad to get some good shots of them unlike my previous attempt.
I was one of only three photographers allowed to photograph Tom Jones and during song three he brought on Jessie J for a duet. Priceless! The best photo opportunity of the whole day and none of the other photographers were allowed in. They only came together fleetingly at the end of the song but for me these were the shots of the day.
Opportunities to photograph Kylie from the pit are very rare indeed. My misadventure to Manchester in April yielded only average photos and having not done a great job three years ago at this very same venue I was determined to get a good selection of shots of her.
Alfie Boe was I thought excellent – that man can seriously sing – they don’t need to give him a microphone! Il Divo were fine but I was really there for Kylie’s set.
For once I was absolutely delighted with my photos – loads to choose from and great light – a gig photographer’s ideal evening out – and finally some Kylie shots to be proud of.
With all the hype around Elbow playing at the Olympics I wanted to shoot this gig.
The lineup for the iTunes Festival is great every year and the Roundhouse is a wonderful if at times poorly lit venue.
But Elbow are very very very boring to shoot. I know now that Garvey wears the same clothes every time and really doesn’t move around or vary his gestures etc at all, so it’s all a bit pedestrian to shoot. I guess that means I’ve ticked Elbow off the list and won’t come rushing back for more.