|Axl Rose (l) and Slash|
To set the stage, I'm a music fan. But I'm an old-dude music fan. I'm at the point where the music I listen to and concerts I'd like to see are the same acts that I listened to as a kid. Metallica, Poison, Bon Jovi, Guns N' Roses, Def Leppard, Megadeth - the kings of 80s/90s rock and heavy metal scene. This year, I've gotten approval to shoot every one of those acts (and many others) except Guns. Finally, when they hit the Gateway City, I was allowed to roll in with my camera and capture the moment.
From Quincy to St. Louis is, generally, about two hours. A little more some days, a little less others, but right around there. The doors for the show opened at 5:30, with the opening act taking the stage at 6:30. I needed to be there by 6:00 to be ready and escorted down to the floor. I hit the road at 3:30, so that gave me a little padding in case of traffic problems, right?
About the time I got to the airport, I hit "the traffic." I don't remember it causing me such a long delay before, but by the time I got off of the interstate, it had taken me a little more than three hours to get there. Obviously, that meant I missed the chance to shoot the Deftones opening set.
Now, have you ever decided to go to a big concert where tens of thousands of people are going? How'd you do with parking?
When I finally got into St. Louis, the nightmare continued. Parking lots were full, street construction was making everything a snarl when people were trying to turn and couldn't get back into the flow. It was a bit after 7:00 when I finally got parked...more than half a mile from the venue.
...until my bag-strap broke. I customized my camera bag to use a guitar strap because why be like everyone else? The problem is the strap was designed to hold a guitar that runs 7-10 pounds, not a camera bag weighing more double that weight, if not more. And they're definitely not designed for carrying that weight while power-walking through a metropolitan area.
It's enough to make a grown man cry! But who's got time for that kinda nonsense?
|(l to r) Duff McKagan, Richard Fortus, Frank Ferrer|
Walking through the crowd, carrying my bag (since the strap broke), is where I started assembling my gear: putting lenses on bodies, attaching everything to the two-camera harness I use. All the while, I was dodging concert-goers and trying to follow the other photographers to get to the floor.
Shooting concert photography is always an adventure. Most of the time it's a great adventure.
Sometimes, it becomes a story to be told.