Gig Review – Lorde, Brighton Centre, 30 September 2017

The last time Lorde toured we shot from the balcony at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Not necessarily a desirable location but on a 300mm lens it actually worked out perfectly. Her new Melodrama world tour opened this week so photographers were literally in the dark about what to expect – beyond knowing that we wouldn’t be in the pit.

Tonight’s show was the third of the tour and shooting conditions in Manchester and London looked really challenging. The Brighton Centre is much smaller than Alexandra Palace, so a 400mm lens was actually the perfect choice. The challenge though was the lighting. Beautiful to watch, nightmarish to shoot in – when the lights came up they were never uniform and rarely showed the whole of Lorde’s face. As she also dances and twirls around constantly, getting correctly exposed, sharp shots was tough work – at that distance it all becomes a bit hit and miss.

The show sounded great, and I’m pretty sure the next time we see her will be in much bigger venues. No doubt there will never be pit access to shoot her own tours, so this may be the last opportunity to photograph her in a reasonably small venue.

It was only my second time working at the Brighton Centre and I have to say I was hugely impressed. Helpful, friendly security staff who were unfailingly helpful and accommodating – a far cry from the way photographers are so often treated in big London venues.

Gig Review – Foo Fighters, O2 Arena, 19 September 2017

It’s been nearly seven years since I last shot the Foo Fighters. There are really only two shots you can get of Dave Grohl – going crazy at the microphone and going crazy during a guitar solo. I came away pretty convinced I’d failed to get the shot I wanted, like the one above. A Foos show is nothing if not frenetic and each time he came forward he chose a different spot and the solo lasted perhaps no more than 10 seconds. With a ridiculous number of photographers in the pit (at least 15 of us) it meant that unless he happened to pick a spot directly in front of you, chances are you’d miss the shot. Chuck in to the mix frankly patchy light and it was a very hit and miss night. Fortunately by choosing (guessing) a decent manual shutter speed, I got my shot. I deleted a fair few off the card too though where you couldn’t see his face or there was too much movement in the shot. A challenging shoot but it turned out all right in the end.