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.
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:
- The first was that my images would be used on TheWho.com and
- There was a chance that if there was a great shot it would end up as a wall wrap at the venue.
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 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.
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….
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.