“Hello, is it me you’re looking for?”
“Err, no, sorry Lionel it isn’t, we’re actually looking for Jennifer Lopez. We’ve been standing around for half an hour waiting for her to do some press shots and even though you’re about to go on stage, she is still keeping us waiting!”
All right, so it didn’t happen quite like that, but it wasn’t far off. After a day’s worth of tense negotiations, Outside Org managed to get us access to shoot J Lo (or is it Jennifer Lopez, I’m never sure) from the back of the diamond circle instead of from the mixing desk – well done Coxy! Pit would have been great, but let’s face it, it was never going to happen.
Later back in the press tent we were given two minutes’ warning – she would be gracing us with her presence for a press shoot. Cue mad scramble for a good spot in front of the advertising boards (I lost said scramble). Half an hour passed and nothing happened. Then her security came in and chucked out everyone who wasn’t press and moved us all back a couple of paces in readiness. Meanwhile, Lionel Richie popped by to be dazzled by dozens of flash guns – he ran in, posed and ran out – straight to the main stage to perform his headline set. What were we doing? Obviously we were still standing in the tent ready for the inevitable and widely predicted J Lo No Show!
Cue second mad scramble, this time to the pit, with Lionel already on stage. I hadn’t particularly been looking forward to shooting his set but I have to say it was great, even if the pit was as packed and chaotic as I’d seen it all week. Security were literally pulling photographers off their stools because the punters were complaining. I sympathise with them (the punters, not the security guys), but we were there for three songs to do a job and we were soon off back to the tent to enjoy a cold beer. I like to imagine that No Show was pouting in front of the advertising board all on her own while we were in the pit wondering where all the photographers had gone!
Having been to the Olympic Games last year I was excited about going back for my first gig at the Olympic Park. To say though that it was in the Olympic Park as advertised is pushing it a bit – I think the area being used was a car park last year!
It was one of the hottest days of the year so far and well set up for the media. Unusually the only artist on the bill I’d shot before was Ke$ha. Her management did their best to force us to shoot from the mixing desk but fortunately LD Communications didn’t budge and we got our three songs from the pit. Snoop Dogg was really quite static and boring to shoot although I’d been looking forward to photograph him.
The main draw was Justin Timberlake. For the first time all day I headed out to the pit about 10 minutes early (I really don’t know why) but it was a good job I did because seconds later he came on. Only two of us were there at the start and the rest of the photographers came rushing in. Given we only got two songs it wasn’t ideal. When I first reviewed my shots before heading home I wasn’t happy with them but in the end the edit turned out okay.
And so back to Hyde Park I went again today for another day of the British Summertime Festival, arriving just in time to see Andy Murray win Wimbledon. An amazing start to the day.Nothing could top The Rolling Stones last night – that is a gig I will remember forever – but I was excited about finally photographing The Beach Boys.
They sounded great but Brian Wilson isn’t touring with them at the moment, so it felt rather like watching an excellent tribute band instead, which was a bit of a let down.
The Saturdays won the ‘most photogenic’ award, but neither of the other two bands I shot today would expect to win anyway.
JLS were terrible. The stage is incredibly high and they had monitors set up across the front and stood a good 15 feet back on the stage – so most of the time we could only see them from the chest up, even though we were all standing on steps. Those of you over the age of 14 will be delighted that at least they are putting us all out of our misery by retiring later this year. Thanks boys.
Forty-four years and a day since The Rolling Stones last played Hyde Park, I had the feeling that this concert would go down in music history. This is part of their 50th anniversary celebrations and, approaching their 70s, they put bands young enough to be their grandchildren to shame.
We were shooting from half way back along Mick’s runway in to the crowd. Good angles but quite a way back, but still a good shooting position. The light was wonderful and the show was even better. You only get two songs with the Stones and they are over in the blink of an eye.
After filing a few shots I went and watched the rest of the concert – there was no way I’d miss a free Stones gig! They sounded brilliant and watching their set I felt sure that this is a show people will talk about for many years to come. It was also my 300th concert – what a way to pass that landmark. I wonder if I’ll be shooting gigs in 50 years time? I doubt it somehow!