| Sunday November 26, 2006
Traveling day again...
I'm leaving and it feels like I just got home. This was a great trip for me. It felt like home should feel. Sometimes coming home is stressful, not this time. While yesterday was at times difficult to bear, in a way it only underscored how thankful I am to have most of my family still with me. Of course, I miss my Dad every day but he's with me in his own way. Every day that I have with my family and friends is a blessing. I know it sounds hokey but hey...I'm a cheese ball like that.
| Saturday November 25, 2006
Today wasn't as easy from an emotional standpoint. Let's just say that Grandma was having a hard day. It was heartbreaking for me to see her in this condition. We went shopping with her and did everything we could. By the time we were done, she didn't have it in her to go out for dinner. Of course, Amanda and I took her back something when we were done and made sure that she didn't have dinner alone (for at least one more night). I'm proud to say that by the end of the night, we had managed to get her eyesight "healed" and gotten her everything she should need to cover at least the next few weeks.
Due to all of this, we didn't have time to hook up with friends like I had wanted. Amanda and I still hit LHOP because...well...we have to, don't we?
| Friday November 24, 2006
After the museum, it turned out to be a difficulty to find an open restaurant but the diner that we wound up in was pretty good. It was nice to be back on Main Street (right in the shadow of the State House). On the drive home, we discussed '07 and the plans for the band (which are pretty intense if we can make 'em real).
I then switched cars and headed out to Grandma's alone. I ran as many errands as I could and then took her out to dinner at (her choice) Western Sizzlin'. It's not my favorite place on Earth but I repeat that ANY restaurant that has decaf sweet tea (not sweetened tea) is alright in my book.
Thursday November 23, 2006
I slept with my WHO photo pass on last night. Does that tell you how good a time I had? Maybe not. But it was a good one. It was easily one of the best shows of the year.
I got up as early as I could and blearily edited the photos of both bands. Thankfully, they were easy edits. By around 11 am, I had the photos finished, then I had to upload 'em all before I could hit the road for home. That went smoothly too and we were out of here.
I called home to make sure the plans were together and everyone knew what was going on. At first it sounded like there would be problems but it all worked out. Amanda and I swung by Grandma's and picked her up as we got into town. Last year, she refused to leave home because she was so convinced that her local son and his family would stop by her house. Not a one of 'em did. This year, she didn't wait. She came with me and spent time with her real family, the ones that care about her and look out for her even when the lights and cameras of public opinion aren't on. And it was a great family get together at my sister's place. Everyone was there except my brother. He swung by earlier but had to work so our schedules couldn't co-exist this time. I was thinking of him, though.
After a great afternoon dinner, Grandma, Amanda and I headed out to the cemetery to "visit" with Dad, then we went over to Amanda's parents for Thanksgiving supper. It was so thoughtful of them to invite Grandma. As I've said here before, we know who the real family is and that's where we spent our time.
I am thankful for so much.
I am thankful for today.
Despite the bumps, this is a wonderful ride.
| Wednesday November 22, 2006
Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey make me feel very thankful at the Gwinnett arena!
Well, it's been a while but a brand new batch of my live reviews is up at Flagpole. These'll also be a part of my tragically delayed Concert Shots update one day. If you wanna sneak peak, just click here.
My day today was centered around my big night! I can't believe I finally got to photograph The WHO. I was excited all day. I feel so lucky. Thanks to Holli at Live Nation for making it possible. The bad thing is that it's the night before Thanksgiving. Usually I'd be headed home today but I simply couldn't pass up this opportunity. I'll edit and upload in the morning tomorrow and try to get back to South Carolina in time for Thanksgiving dinner.
We got out to the arena as quickly as possible. I wasn't going to take any chances. The Pretenders opened but they'd originally decided not to let us shoot. Chrissie changed her mind at the last minute and luckily, I was there in time to take advantage of it. We did get a couple of warnings though - "Chrissie does not want to see you until the fourth song" and "Don't step over the tape. Between songs you can step over the tape. Do not step over the tape during a song."
Yeah - whatever.
We went into the pit during the fourth song. Chrissie actually acknowledged us as we entered. We shot songs 4, 5 and 6 and The Pretenders gave us plenty to photo. 'Twas a great shoot even if she is looking more and more like Alice Cooper every day. I heard later that they didn't do most of their big hits but I was right there for a blistering "My City Was Gone" so I was happy.
I didn't have my tickets yet so Amanda and I waited in the holding area for The Who. By the time we were escorted in, I was almost shaking. We only had 2 songs and they were VERY, VERY short. My goal was just to get a shot of Pete windmilling and maybe, just maybe get a jump shot. It wasn't going to be easy. There were a whole bunch of other photogs and very little space. Of course, they all gathered in the little area in front of where Pete was to be.
Suddenly, it was time. Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey walked out nonchalantly sipping tea. Then Pete put on his sunglasses (which I guess must be the source of his rocking powers these days). As soon as he put 'em on, he ripped into the opening chords of "I Can't Explain". This has always been one of my least favorite songs by one of my favorite bands. I didn't even listen to it tonight. I zeroed in on Pete. About a minute into the song, he leaped. I shot. I hoped I got it. Then he turned his back on us to do some windmilling. It was all so fast. Within about 2 minutes, they had taken off into "The Seeker". Now this I've always wanted to hear. Of course, they did an abbreviated version. I decided to ditch all the other photogs and go to the Pino Palladino side of the stage. I managed to get the other musicians (including the amazing Zak Starkey) this way. I also got some cool angles of Roger and Pete together. This wasn't my best shoot ever due to space and time restraints but it was one of my favorites. I made my goals and felt totally honored to have been there!
As soon as it was over, I went into bat out of hell mode! I didn't want to miss anything. I heard them take off into "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" and hoped they'd extend the ending. Unfortunately, it took a few minutes to remedy the ticket situation, then I had to go out to the car to drop my camera off. By the time Amanda and I had made it in, "Fragments" was ending. That's one of my favorite new songs and I was crushed to have missed it. As we found our seats, "Who Are You?" pummeled the crowd. We settled in just in time for them to slow things down with "Behind Blue Eyes" and "Real Good Looking Boy." Those two were what I feared the whole night would be. They were super low-key. As excited as I was, I knew that "The Who" doesn't really exist anymore. I expected it to be a boring, through the motions show. This two-fer was close to that but things changed quickly with the start of the new "mini-opera."
"Sound Round" and "Pick Up The Peace" smoked. It felt like classic WHO. It's such a shame that Zak didn't play drums on the whole album. This new material really came to life on stage. Synched video added a lot to "Endless Wire", "We Got A Hit" and "They Made My Dream Come True". Of all of the new ones, "Mirror Door" is one of my least favorites. It's just a litany of musicians who've died and a wondering of who the next might be. Suddenly - about halfway through the song it dawned on me that the chorus of "Who will walk through the Mirror Door" was actually "WHO will walk through the Mirror Door" and was a reflection of their own mortality. While the song is still not a favorite, it definitely jumped way up the list after figuring out the obvious.
They followed with "Baba O'Riley" which was as rocking as it should be. One of the highlights for me was the version of "Eminence Front" that came next. Pete's brother Simon has been playing rhythm guitar on this tour and he added in a lot of cool disco '70s (nearly porn music) wah in the background. Pino didn't stick completely to John Entwistle's bass lines either. What could've been sacrilege added new life to this 24 year old warhorse.
The next two were new ones.
"Man In A Purple Dress" was amazing. I like it on the record but live it was even more pointed. The same can be said for "Mike Post Theme". Zak Starkey again stepped up and gave the song an extra kick. In fact, following those two new tracks, "You Better You Bet" was anti-climactic. "My Generation" picked it all back up by veering into a jam that (while not as loose as some of the jams of yore) never lost focus and eventually found itself in a re-imagined version of "Cry If You Want". Somehow, this kept building and building. The end was left in the air and crashed down into the power chord and synthesizer majesty of "Won't Get Fooled Again." This song never gets old. Daltrey always screams louder than the last time and Townshend always struts around proudly. Wow!
All I could think was "How could they possibly top that for an encore?" Apparently, it was simple. "Pinball Wizard" slid into another jam that featured a bit of "It's A Boy" before taking off into "Amazing Journey". I got chills. That's rare. "Sparks" followed. By now I was just another air-drumming fool. A pesky out of tune guitar (you'd be out of tune too if you'd gotten the beaten Pete gave that guitar during "Sparks") hampered the transition into "See Me, Feel Me" but as the Tommy section wrapped with the "Listening To You" chorus and Klieg spotlights spun throughout the arena, I didn't care about anything that might be wrong. This was bliss for me. It was getting late and when they said good night and took a bow, most people took off. I had a feeling it wasn't over.
Eventually, Pete and Roger came back out to do a thoroughly haunting coda as a duo. "Tea And Theatre" was plaintive and powerful, sparse and beautiful. I was transfixed. As the final verse began, I got up and started walking up the aisle. Amanda and I stopped at the top and looked around the room. I listened to those final acoustic notes die down and watched the two icons take their final bows. I was humbled and so thankful to have been there.
The WHO Set List - November 22, 2006 - Duluth, GA
1. I Can't Explain
| Tuesday November 21, 2006
Oof! I'm hurting today. I had a migraine. When I get 'em, I can't do much else. Therefore I didn't get much accomplished today. I did go out and buy the CD / DVD limited edition of The Beatles' LOVE Soundtrack. I can't believe I'm saying this but there should no longer be an argument over what the best single Beatles album is. Yes, these are more or less mashups but they're incredibly well done and the George Martin touch is all over it. I believe this version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" may be the definitive one for me. If you have DTS 5.1 dvd system, do yourself a favor and get the surround DVD of this. It may be the greatest sounding thing I've ever heard. It's just phenomenal. It's so good that if you DON'T have a surround system and you love music, you should go BUY a cheap setup just to hear it. Yes, it's that good. The stereo CD is good but it cannot compare to the DTS mix. Simply astonishing!
Monday November 20, 2006
The big news today is that I got my confirmation to photograph THE WHO this Wednesday night. I'm so excited I can't stand it. It's going to make Thanksgiving a little difficult but I don't feel like I can miss the opportunity. I've heard the shows are hit or miss these days and c'mon, even I admit it's not the same band but it is PETE TOWNSHEND and ROGER DALTREY, two of my all-time musical heroes and 2 of only a very few that I haven't been lucky enough to photo yet. I'm thrilled. Praise be to Holli at Live Nation for coming through for me!
I'm so burned out right now from all the demo work. I went ahead and announced the results of round 1 of the "song contest" today. Here's the way the first round finished up. The second round is up now at the secret page. I'll try to give this batch 2 weeks and then we should have a good head start on the second album.
I am surprised with the results. I can't believe that one of my personal favorites, "If I Could" scored so low and I had hoped that Joe's song "Things Got Weird" would do better but I can't say that I have any problem with the top songs. I think that those of you who voted are in the process of putting together a stronger collection than we would've.
YOU CHOOSE THE SONGS II, Volume 1
FINAL RESULTS (With lost scores added) – November 29, 2006
Waiting For The Siren 4.065
Happy Here & Now 4.047
Give Up Town 3.98
Wide Bicycle 3.969
Scared Of Myself 3.964
If You Try To Make Me Choose (You Lose) 3.905
Possibles / Alternates / “B-Sides”:
Goodbye Tuesday 3.831
Green & Gold 3.8
You Don't Know Me 3.79
(Save It For) Another Day 3.776
I Won't Stand Still 3.77
Someone's Trying To Tell Us Something 3.70
I guess nots:
13. Feel It 3.606
14. Things Got Weird 3.51
15. Something Real 3.494
16. It's Never The Same 3.475
17. If I Could (I Guess I Should) 3.37
Banished to the land of wind and ghosts:
18. Everybody's Trying 3.33
19. If I Never See You Again 3.07