Gig Review – Carrie Underwood, LeAnn Rimes, C2C, O2 Arena, 17 March 2013

There were four artists on the bill today but everyone was focused on Carrie Underwood (above during the photo call) and LeAnn Rimes. Ironically they were the artists we had to shoot from the mixing desk which was a real shame. The desk at the O2 is almost at the back of the arena which never makes for good shots, but all four artist were very obliging during the photo call. Opener Brantley Gilbert was fantastic – he started playing Guns n’ Roses and looked and sounded like he should be singing heavy metal not country music. He outclassed Darius Rucker.

What could have been a long day actually went pretty quickly in the end and even the shots from the mixing desk turned out okay because the light was so good.

Gig Review – Ne-Yo, Conor Maynard, Sonna Rele and Tulisa, O2 Arena, 15 March 2013

It’s almost four years since I first photographed Ne-Yo – supporting the Pussycat Dolls of all people but for once I was particularly interested in the support acts.

Up first was Tulisa. What a let down. Playing to a half empty stadium, the vocals were poor and she decided to have a pop at the ‘paps’ as she called us. She was seriously upstaged by all the other artists tonight. Up next, Sonna Rele, who performed one song beautifully having just been signed by Ne-Yo. Mark my words she will be selling out her own tours soon.

Conor Maynard was a revelation. Not knowing his stuff I’d assumed he’d be another dreary pop boy. How wrong I was. He owned the stage, sang brilliantly and was a joy to shoot.

The production for Ne-Yo was amazing. Some of the best lighting I’ve seen in a long time and a far cry from his modest set in the same venue four years ago. Joining us in the pit was a videographer who’d just graduated from Idiot School. Even though the pit wasn’t crowded, he spent the entire time forcibly shoving photographers out of his way and getting in the way which was a real shame. Other than that it was a good night at the office.

Gig Review – Olivia Newton-John, Royal Albert Hall, 13 March 2013

Shooting from the back of any arena isn’t fun, but the Royal Albert Hall is a special place and the mixing desk isn’t too far back. Still I’d have preferred to have been up at the front but the lighting was fantastic which really helped.

This is Olivia Newton-John’s first tour over here in about 30 years, and my in laws were in the audience which perhaps says something about the variety of the shows I’m now shooting! Indeed I’m photographing Ne Yo on Friday and Carrie Underwood on Sunday – what a varied week!

Gig Review – Wilko Johnson, Koko, 6 March 2013

Some shows are magical, and this was one of them. It’s been well documented that Wilko has declined chemotherapy for cancer, so these are his farewell shows. And boy the man can play a guitar! The Koko is a nightmare venue to shoot in – the light is pretty heavily backlit and usually (although not tonight) the pit is smaller than Justin Bieber’s brain, so I really didn’t know what to expect.

Thanks to Peter Noble of Noble PR we were allowed to shoot the whole show, a rare privilege in our game, and a privilege it most definitely was. No gimicks, no egos, just a great night of good old fashioned rock n’ roll.  It was odd knowing that I’ll never photograph this awesome guitarist again and it was clearly an emotional evening for many including the great man himself. Wilko we salute you and wish you well.

Gig Review – Brian May and Kerry Ellis, St Pancras Station, 1 March 2013

I only found out about this one off show to promote tiger conservation yesterday because I commute through St Pancras every day. Having done the Sunflower Jam charity show with them back in September as well as several Queen shows over the years I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity.

They played a half hour set to about 300 people who’d gathered around a tiny stage. There were a lot of press photographers there and we were able to shoot the whole show. I specifically wanted to get this elevated shot of the whole station during the performance so did about 10 minutes at the front of the stage and then headed off to the private members club at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel as I’d arranged access in advance – you can just about spot Brian and Kerry in the bottom of the shot!!