I had mixed feelings about going to this show. For me, the iconic photos of Roger are when he’s behind the drum kit and I found out that tonight I’d be shooting the first three songs only, with Roger standing and singing.
Well, I stand corrected! I was one of only two photographers and I’d picked G Live in Guildford because it was the next closest venue to home, but I’d never been there before. What a breath of fresh air! I was welcomed personally by their wonderful venue manager who made a point of showing me in to the auditorium and making me feel very at home.
And the light. Well, one of the risks of a regional show is you’re never quite sure if the lighting rig is a touring set up or a house set up. Here it was definitely a touring set up and it was fabulous. I could shoot anywhere as long as I kept down and out of peoples’ way which meant I got to play with the light and create interesting images. That would usually be nearly impossible at a busier venue like in London where you’d just have to make the best of it in the pit with half a dozen or a dozen others.
I think it worked out rather well. Oh yeah, and Roger can SING!
Some bands you just know aren’t going to hang around in small venues for long. I’ll say it now. Inhaler will be headlining much bigger stages very soon – even next year. They are a band very seriously on the move.
As I missed the opportunity to see them at the Reading Festival, I grabbed the chance to shoot tonight’s show. My research told me it would be epic and difficult to shoot. And it was epic and difficult to shoot! Close your eyes and you can hear Bono’s voice when his son Elijah Hewson sings. Watch him move and he looks like Bono did in the 70s and 80s. It’s quite something. The music is good too.
It was far from an easy shoot, but as I stood there waiting for them to come on, I got the feeling that this may just be one of those gigs you look back on in a good few years, smile and say “yes I remember that one, I was there”. We’ll see.
It’s nearly two years since I was last at the Royal Albert Hall, for Cirque Du Soleil. Tony Bennett was the last artist I shot here, back in June 2019. So it was nice to be back and back to a full house.
Patti Smith doesn’t tour often but I got the impression passes would be seriously limited. So I was surprised to arrive and be one of 13 photographers. Tonight was a case of picking a side and shooting from the stairwell. Fortunately I had brought my 300mm lens which was perfect for the job.
Picking a side though wasn’t that easy – stage right where I ended up meant a clear view with no-one in the background but she played more to her left. Although chances are shots from that side would inevitably include band members in the background which I was keen to avoid.
So I went stage right and after the first ‘song’ which was spoken word during which we were under strict instructions not to shoot, we had songs 2 and 3. The light was great and it was good to be back at the Royal Albert Hall. The 300mm definitely did its job and before I knew it I was packed up and heading out into the night. It was good to finally see a few of the other London regulars, most of whom I hadn’t seen for 18 months or more.