Gig Review – Guns n’ Roses, London Stadium, 16 June 2017

Almost 25 years ago to the day I attended my first ever stadium gig…Guns n’ Roses at Wembley Stadium. I’ve seen and photographed hundreds of shows since but I’ll never forget that first gig. So fast forward to 2017 and I had tickets for Friday’s opening show and tonight’s show. I got lucky for tonight’s show and managed to buy early entry golden circle tickets. We queued from 10am like the teenagers we most definitely aren’t anymore and that got us a front row spot on the barrier.

I’d decided not to apply for a photo pass as I knew photographers were shooting from the mixing desk a mile away under heavy contractual restrictions. However, armed with my small but trusty Sony RX100ii, I knew that I could get reasonable shots from the front.

Having watched the show the previous night we decided to head towards the far side of the small runway that extends out in to the crowd. As it happens, Slash didn’t play as much to our side tonight as he did last night but it was still the better side I think.

The little Sony was at its absolute limit with a 24-70mm zoom and even shooting RAW fully manual I knew that I was almost asking too much of it to perform in a stadium setting.

What I really wanted was a half decent shot of Axl and Slash together. Unfortunately they seem to studiously avoid standing shoulder to shoulder at any point so the best opportunity came during November Rain with Axl at the piano and Slash pulling his awesome solo.

I just hope this isn’t the last we see of them. Surely they’re already booked for Download 2018?

Gig Review – Aerosmith, Download Festival, 11 June 2017

Tonight has been billed as Aerosmith’s last ever show in the UK. Well if it was, they played a blinder but there wasn’t so much as a whisper of retirement or a lingering goodbye after the encore so I’m already starting to doubt that this was it.

Since 2014 we’ve had to shoot Aerosmith from the mixing desk which is frankly pointless. So like in 2014 I took a risk, turned down my accreditation and took up an early position fairly far forward in the crowd. It was absolutely freezing cold but completely worth the wait as I was able to shoot the whole show freely on my 300mm lens, taking shots each time they came down the runway in to the crowd. It meant I came away with a lovely variety of shots that I’m really pleased with, and it’s always great to get a good shot of the Toxic Twins together.

I just hope this isn’t really the end…but given they are two years away from celebrating their 50th anniversary and if they make it they’ll be one of the only bands in history to do it with their original line up, I can see them making a return in 2019.