Yes, it’s true, I met and photographed Donald Trump back in 2006 in New York. I did not plan on photographing The Donald, I was in New York to photograph Bob Weir and RatDog. It turns out there is pretty interesting connection between Trump and Bob Weir and Ratdog. Back in 2006, a friend of the band was New York real estate developer Billy Procida, and he had worked for Donald Trump.
So Bob Weir and RatDog were in New York, and as the story goes, they were out to dinner with Billy when Trump was mentioned. I believe phone calls were made and Trump was invited to the show. Right before show time, I was down in the Theater getting ready to shoot the show. The soundcheck had gone well, and even though the rules of the building (some union thing) did not allow photography during the soundcheck or on the stage, the local crew were really nice and didn’t mind if I took a few shots. It was my first time at the Beacon and I was having a blast.
The dressing rooms, backstage area, and offices, were up a couple of flights of stairs at the back of the building and while I had been up there earlier in the afternoon, I usually avoided the backstage right before show time as it was time for the band to get together and prep for the show. So I was down in front, looking at where I would be able to shoot the show from, without getting in the way of the fans when I got a call. The call was from someone backstage telling me there was a pretty good photo opportunity happening right on the landing outside the dressing rooms and I should hustle. So up the stairs I ran to photograph Bob Weir along with Billy Procida and Donald Trump and some of the other guests. It was a very odd scene to capture.
Then Donald said that he would like to introduce the band that night and got the go ahead to do so. I was standing next to Trump side stage before the lights went down. I got a couple of quick shots of Trump with Billy Procida before heading out the front to capture the introduction.
Trump walked out on the stage to a pretty stunned crowd and made some remarks about how Bob and the Grateful Dead had sold out Madison Square Garden some random number of times. Then he told the crowd he would be taking Bobs place during the show tonight. That went over like a lead balloon. Trump walked off the estate to a mixture of boos, cheers and mostly just stunned fans staring at him.
The Donald actually stayed for the whole first set of the show and only left right as the band was to take their set break. On the way out, he stopped to pose again with Billy and if memory serves me correctly, the back door security guy (but it may have been the driver, this was nine years ago)
The story doesn’t end there. the following say while i was walking around New York, I got a call from Dennis McNally who was acting as the RatDog publicist. Trump magazine had called him looking for the photos of Trump with Weir and he had their number for me. I called and spoke to someone from the magazine who wanted the photos of Trump with Weir to run in the next issue. Then the magazine told me that they had no budget. They did tell me it would be great publicity, which I turned down. I did end up selling the photo to Relix Magazine which ran it back in 2006.
Bob Weir and RatDog went on to perform two more sold out shows that weekend. More Photos to come