So, P!nk and Jay Z then? Should be pretty cool to shoot. Well yes they would be, if we were allowed to! It really is odd when you get major festivals that deny photography access to the headliners. P!nk banished photographers to a far away mixing desk on Saturday night and Jay Z banned all bar a sole Getty photographer from having access to his set.
Fortunately I knew that before I went, so this year was all about catching established artists on the rise and some really interesting new ones like Emani Williams and Elle Exxe, the latter of whom was probably the revelation of the weekend for me – even if I was only one of two photographers who bothered to catch her set.
The rest of the weekend was decent enough, with plenty of good artists to shoot.
I confess that in the 80s I took great delight in disliking Bros. I was more in to bands like Guns n’ Roses, Dire Straits and Queen. But in recent years I’ve been lucky enough to cover a number of Matt Goss’ solo shows and freely admit that he is not only a gentleman but a man of very considerable talent. So there was no way I was going to miss their first show in 28 years, indeed it was 28 years ago to the day that they played Wembley Stadium.
Tonight was a celebration as well as a revelation. I covered the whole show for the band which meant I shot everything from the moment Matt and Luke left their dressing rooms backstage through to this final frame of the night when they thanked the crowd before leaving the stage at the end of the show. They played a blinding show and Luke is a phenomenal drummer, and the sell out crowd adored every moment of it.
Luke’s drum kit was set up atop an 8-10 foot riser which meant getting close shots of him drumming was precarious to say the least. It’s rare to be allowed utterly unrestricted access during a show like this and as well as looking for the right angles, lighting and timing, you’re also making a conscious effort to be as inconspicuous as possible and to keep out of the way.
Shooting from on stage probably looks very easy, but in some ways it’s a whole lot harder than shooting from the pit, especially with spot lights shining straight in to your camera sensor, confetti and dry ice chucked in to the mix. Sometimes though I leave a gig absolutely on a high knowing there are plenty of shots in the bag. Tonight was one of those nights, and I suspect we haven’t seen the last of the boys being back on stage together.