12 June 2017

Runnin' Down A Dream

On April 4th of 2016, I received an e-mail that was just about the greatest thing I ever expected from the time I picked up a camera and started to use it a bit more seriously. That was the day I got the message that I was approved for a press/photo pass to my first major tour/show. The official review and photos can be found here, and a few of my own thoughts on it are here.

Aside from the exhilaration, the excitement, and (if I may be so bold) the amazing shots that I got at the show, what I took away was a deep desire to get in there and do it again. I needed to be back in that pit, I had to find a way to get back to that high-energy moment, working alongside others in what legendary NASCAR driver and announcer Darrell Waltrip calls “coopetition” – working with each other while trying to be the best.

From that point, it looked like that was going to be a bit of a false start. I sent a few other requests for shows without hearing anything back for the most part. Because of a connection to a local band, I was able to get access to shoot at the Rick Springfield concert in Ottumwa, and a local event with the phenomenal front-man of TNT, Tony Harnell, both in August. I was still working to fill out a portfolio with local and regional acts while sending requests for larger shows before I gained access to shoot a show on Stryper’s “To Hell with The Devil” 30th anniversary tour in November of 2016.

When 2017 started, I started watching for big tour announcements. Another one of those bands I’ve been a fan of most of my life, Bon Jovi, announced a show coming to St. Louis. I figured it was a long-shot, but I sent off my request. One of the biggest acts in the world, on a hugely anticipated tour supporting a new album that was hot on the charts? What are the odds, right?

I don’t know what the odds would be, but I beat them. I got a message from the venue – the Scottrade Center in St. Louis – with approval for the show. I can’t say too much will beat that first show from April 2016 (not much, but give me a minute), but I would say this may have been the most important approval I received. It’s always been said in business it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Making the contact and, apparently, impressing the folks at the venue (or at least convincing them I’m not a gibbering idiot) has led me on a road I don’t want to end.

After that Bon Jovi show in February, I was energized and started to scour the St. Louis concert calendar. Some shows I wanted because the acts are well known, some because I’m just a fan-boy (and they’re well known), and all of them I considered a pipe dream. But what started in Chicago in April last year has led to a recent new height.

Remember I said not much would ever top that first show? Well, standing in the pit, feet away from the biggest of the Big 4, grabbing shots of Metallica in the rain at Busch Stadium is something I’ll never forget, even without the photos. And the ticket. And the photo pass.

The truth is, it’s all a rolling snowball. Shooting local shows got me in to Iron Maiden and Rick Springfield, which got me in to Stryper and then Bon Jovi, which got me more shoots in St. Louis leading up to one of the biggest shows in the city, and opening even more doors going forward.

From April 6th, 2016 through June 4th, 2017, these are the national acts (with openers)* I’ve been privileged to work:

Iron Maiden, with The Raven Age opening
Rick Springfield
Tony Harnell with Virus (from Dope)
Bon Jovi
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (Joe Walsh opened, but I missed his set due to traffic)
The Chainsmokers, with Kiiara opening
Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd)
Metallica, with Volbeat and The Local H opening

I have a lot of requests out for shows in the next few months. I’m hoping to add to this list with some other huge names in the music business before the end of the year.

But this isn’t too bad of a start.

**Update (before I even posted it!)**

I jotted down my thoughts this morning in the long-winded bloviation above. At lunch time, before I could even get this posted, I got an e-mail that floored me.

I’ve been invited – not had a request approved, but asked directly – to shoot a show for an upcoming show in St. Louis. I’ve apparently made a big enough splash with a PR guy that he’s got my name floating around in his head. And not in a bad way!

*all photos from these shows except Iron Maiden/The Raven Age are available at badwolfmedia.net/facebook