The Who – Concert shoot

Some shows stress me out. I mean they keep me up at night. Roger Waters doing The Wall was one of those shows, The Red Hot Chili Peppers was another. It mainly has to do with the thought of shooting the BIG show and not getting that iconic shot. This week I got to photograph The Who and while I had been looking forward to this show since it was announced, the closer the shot got, the higher my stress level went.

The Who perform Quadrophenia and More at the Valley View Casino Center

Now, I have shot a lot of shows, and am pretty confident that I can nail the exposure within the first frame or two. The composition, that’s a different story. The reason that I stressed about the composition is due to the limited shooting positions. The photographers for the show were limited to the section in front of Simon Townshend and had no access to the center spot or anywhere close to Pete Townshend. This would usually not have bothered me that much but for two small things:

These are the kinds of things that keep me up at night. I needed to not only get the shot, but be happy with it.

The Who perform Quadrophenia and More at the Valley View Casino Center

The shoot took a wild turn moments before we got our photo credentials. It seems that the drummer Zak Starkey was not going to be able to perform and new drummer was going to be filling in. Scott Devours, who had been the drummer for Roger’s solo band stepped up to the plate and filled in at the last-minute. So the timing for the show was off which in turn caused us not to be able to shoot the opening act. I really wanted to shoot Vintage Trouble and hope I get to at a future show but it also meant going into the photo pit without any practice under the lights and in the pit. Many times shooting the opening act is lot like batting practice in baseball, it get all the kinks worked out and gets you all loose.

The Who perform Quadrophenia and More at the Valley View Casino Center

OK.. so let’s get to the actual show… Now, The Who are one of my favorite bands of all time. I have seem them in concert many times, but this was the first time I have gotten to shoot them (legally). They did not disappoint and even with a last-minute change of drummers, these guys put on a great show. Quadrophenia is a great album and hearing it live was a real treat. It was also really tough to shoot since I found myself singing along. That doesn’t happen a lot….

The Who perform Quadrophenia and More at the Valley View Casino Center

The Who perform Quadrophenia and More at the Valley View Casino Center

The Who perform Quadrophenia and More at the Valley View Casino Center

All the photos were taken with the Nikon D4 and Nikon D700 using a variety of Nikon lenses including the 24-70mm f/2.8 and the 70-200mm f/2.8 and the 20-35mm f/2.8.

The Who perform Quadrophenia and More at the Valley View Casino Center

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10 Comments

  1. Hey Alan, so, what shot was your favorite?

    • My favorite is the shot at the top of this post… Something about it really speaks to me

  2. Brilliant shots!! I saw the show in Chicago and have seen them a few times myself. Love the shots you go!! Thank you for sharing with us! Lauri

    • Thanks Lauri.
      Really appreciate it.

  3. Nice shots Alan! You really captured the energy in the show. Gotta love that Roger swingin’ the mic, old school style. You don’t see that much anymore. Good to see Pappa Townsend still rockin’ it. Brings back some great memories.

  4. A stellar photo gallery of the concert! I saw them in the 1970′s a few times, photographed them once. I felt like I was there viewing your coverage.

  5. Beautiful work Mr. Hess,

    Composition is cool. That’s were history of the visual craft resides in. It’s essence. Cool to consider that the evolution of the species can be measured by it’s awareness of composition. I thought of the word fractal.. but no need to go there now.

    I was signed up by the mag to shoot the who. I waited months…bought another body for a fish-eye -just so i have that extra second…

    we didn’t hear a word…we asked..

    Oh! I’m sorry! we lost your request!..
    was the response..
    (It hurts ’cause we would of got it)

    next time.

  6. HOLY C&&P!!! You totally nailed it!!!
    AWESOME work Alan, truly Awesome work.

    Way to go,
    Glyn

  7. Love the shots. Awesome as usual

  8. Hello Mr. Hess, love your work. Like you The Who have always been my favorite band. Have seen them numerous times also.
    I even say them once with Keith Moon, in Montreal. I have beed shooting concerts for over 35 years, my first was Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. Canada.
    I would encourage you to visit my smugmug site to view some of the concerts I have shot in the past and give me your opinion.
    None of them were shot as you say “legally”.
    My one dream has always been how do I get to shoot a major concert from the front pit with all the other photographers?
    Just one time I would love to do it from there and not my seat.
    How do I get the access pass?
    Thank you ahead of time for you answer to me.
    Regards Phil

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