I know it’s nearly Christmas but the opening for tonight’s show was barking mad. Lily Allen started the show hidden in a manger under a shawl pretending presumably to be the baby Jesus. As you can see from the picture above she then slunk out of said manger, surrounded by freaky randoms in ridiculous costumes.
That was probably the highlight to be honest. She then spent the next few minutes strutting backwards and forwards whilst the lighting tech struggled to keep the following spot on her and then we were ushered out, almost certainly well before our allocated three songs.
What a fun and colourful way to round off the year, well nearly anyway. I came to the O2 Arena tonight to shoot Ella Eyre who was supporting Basement Jaxx. I really don’t think I could tire of shooting her shows – her energy and stage presence are amazing.
I wasn’t planning to stay for Basement Jaxx but as it’s been about 8 years since I last shot them, and that night the shots I got were pretty poor, I thought I’d hang on and catch their set.
Sadly the arena was probably less than half full – in fact I’ve never ever seen the O2 Arena so empty. Trying to fill an 18000 capacity venue was probably ambitious for them, but their set was still great fun all the same. They were having a ball and clearly didn’t care how many people were there!
Getting accredited for tonight was a nightmare. I’ve been shooting Slash for 10 years and never once had a problem but this was a no agency show and there weren’t many magazines or papers reviewing.
My main reason for going though was to photograph Glenn Hughes’ new band, California Breed. These shows supporting Slash are their first in the UK. He had told me about it and given me a copy of their album back in April at the Sunflower Jam.
Their guitarist, Andrew Watt, is a sight to behold. Such an athletic showman and almost impossible to keep track of through the viewfinder! At the tender age of 24 he’s got quite a career ahead of him. His response when he saw this and my other photos was “Neil, I f*&king LOVE these!”
I thought it felt like Slash and co were going through the motions a bit tonight. If anything, they were eclipsed by California Breed and Slash studiously avoided stepping in to the white follow light that was on Myles Kennedy a lot, which meant that it wasn’t all that exciting to shoot. California Breed though were a revelation!