| Sunday September 24, 2006
So, do you feel safer now than you did 5 years ago? Really? You should read this. Now it's official. The policies of the Bush administration have caused the deaths of more Americans than those responsible for 9/11. It's true. It's inarguable. Deal with it. Do something about it.
By the way, Bill Clinton ROCKS! Maybe this rant will inspire some Democrats to show some guts for a change. 'Tis the (election) season after all. Do you think it's a coincidence that gas prices are coming down just before the elections? Look up the phrase "October surprise". Don't be a sucker. Get out and vote on November 7 even if it's NOT the presidential election. This election will likely decide'08.
And again, for the record, I'm NOT a Democrat. I have become over the past five years more and MORE anti-Republican, though.
Oh - I had a day today. I took it kind of easy again. Doing that is harder than I thought. I've been running so hard lately that it's hard to slow down. Amanda wound up going out to see a play in the afternoon. I decided to stay in. Guess what? I wound up working!
I got an update of Concert Shots done. So go see. I did it for you, you know. The updates include Nine Inch Nails, Bauhaus, The Beach Boys With John Stamos, Editors, Pete Best Band and Peter Frampton.
| Saturday September 23, 2006
Wow! Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers WITH Stevie Nicks. Here's a couple of pics from last night.
I'm tired but quite satisfied, thank you.
Yesterday was another banner day amongst a lot of good days lately. I feel spoiled when I look at some of the lives around me. I feel even more thankful. I've worked very hard for many of these things to happen. Some seeds were planted years ago. It's a little odd that they're all blooming at the same time but I'm happy about it nonetheless.
Tom Petty's publicist called those linked pics "beautiful" and asked that I send them a disc of the images for Tom to review. The word is that they're recording every night for a 30th Anniversary Tour live album to be released next year. Oh - how I'd love to be a part of that live album as a photog. All those years of listening to live albums that I spent (even 'til now) will seem somehow rewarded. I haven't been in a major album's packaging since Edwin McCain's live DVD from '04. I wanna do it again soon!
I spent the rest of the day more or less vegging out. I've earned it.
| Friday September 22, 2006
Here we come again!
Today was indeed the day.
We all (except for Joe who had to work) got down to Herty Field over an hour before show time. The weather couldn't have been better. I actually chose this date in the hopes that the weather would be this good. It was perfect. Of course, the date falling near the equinox seemed to be symbolic as well.
After the gig, Bruce Burch (the man responsible for having us out) took all except Joe (who had to get back to work) out for a late lunch. On the walk from the parking deck to the restaraunt was the highlight of Amanda's day. There was an honest to God snake in the street. She poked and played with it a bit before a city maintenance guy came along and picked it up (improperly). The snake promptly bit him. Luckily, it was a small rat snake and its teeth weren't as powerful as they might otherwise be. The guy didn't seem any worse for the wear. We hope he took the snake across the street to that big ol' field!
We all wound up at DePalma's. I probably shouldn't have ordered something as heavy as chicken parmigiana but I was starving. Bruce and I had a great conversation. Frank's laryngitis prevented him from participating and the others didn't have all that much to say. Bruce and I took up the slack from any awkward silences, though.
After that, I went home and crashed. I actually took a friggin' nap. Usually that makes me feel terrible. Today it worked. So I split this day in half. Here's comes September 22-B, 2006.
When Amanda and I got up, we headed straight out to Atlanta for the big rock show. Yep, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers with The Strokes opening.
The Strokes Set List
1. You Only Live Once
The Strokes were having a good night tonight. They seemed much more laid back than usual. Maybe it was because this wasn't their audience. I don't know but it was good to see them smiling. The set list wasn't the one I'd have chosen but every one they chose sounded good. "Someday" sounded especially punchy and fun. It's telling that they didn't play their biggest hit "Last Nite". It's well known (and they've admitted) that they ripped off part of it from Petty's "American Girl". Even without that, by the end, they had converted most of the audience. Sure, there was at least one guy cursing and hurling obscenities toward the stage. He was pathetic. The rest of us were having a good time that would only get much, much better.
Between sets, the drama unfolded. There was a rumor that we'd be allowed to shoot the WHOLE SHOW. For those who don't know, this is almost unprecedented for an artist of this stature. Literally as we were being escorted to the stage, the word came down. YES! We could shoot the whole performance. Wow! Our escort Sean wasn't so happy as that meant he had to stay for the rest of the night instead of getting off early but the rest of us were thrilled. Little did we know...
Thanks to another photog, Amanda even wound up with a good seat right in the first center section. How could it get any better? There was a pretty long delay before show time as the crew tried unsuccessfully to fix a video screen. But it was worth the wait.
The Heartbreakers came out smiling with "Listen To Her Heart." I couldn't help but thinking about Q-Sign's guitarist Andy. He and I used to sit around playing this song together. Well, you can see the set list below. "Mary Jane's Last Dance", "I Won't Back Down", "Free Fallin'"... It was just one after another. And I couldn't believe that I got to stand in the press pit to watch. Usually, I'm not one to appreciate as much when the Heartbreakers do covers as when they do their own but tonight they were ON! "I'm A Man" was the best I've heard the blues standard done and the cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well" was even more powerful.
Then it happened.
After the introductions, Tom introduced the honorary heartbreaker, Stevie Nicks. She came out and did "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" as a duet. Then she sang lead on "I Need To Know" before becoming an amazing backup singer for several songs including a seriously rocking version of "Don't Come Around Here No More." I was also happy to hear the Traveling Wilburys' "Handle With Care" and new songs "Square One" and "Saving Grace." "Down South" was on the set list but I guess they had to cut it due to the curfew and the delayed start. Of course, both "Refugee" and "Runnin' Down A Dream" stomped. My fellow photog (who's soon to be an ex-patriot) Ira Miller just sat on a speaker listening after awhile. I'll miss him when he moves off to Vegas in a few months. The encore began with the only song from my favorite Petty album, Wildflowers. And it's one of my least favorite songs from it. I didn't care tonight. It rocked. The cover of Van Morrison's "Mystic Eyes" was even better. It was super dramatic and drawn out with a very emotional "ad lib" from Petty about trying to have one minute where everything's alright. I was close enough to see that he wasn't just saying it. He got emotional enough to have tears in his eyes. To think that such a veteran could feel so strongly after 30 years on the road is totally inspiring and slightly mind-blowing.
Stevie came back out front for an extra rocking version of "American Girl" as the final encore. This is another one of those, "God, I'm so lucky days". I can't believe that I not only get to see such things but I don't have to pay for it and, in fact, there's a good chance that I'll get paid well for doing it.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Set List:
1. Listen To Her Heart
So I lived two days for every one else's one today. And it was a good two days, lemme tell you.
Thursday September 21, 2006
Ugh, today was kind of difficult. Luckily it paid off. I had put off 'til today fixing my acoustic guitar. It was probably stupid to wait so late but luckily, it didn't bite me for it. It took hours and hours but (thanks to a string brand suggestion from Jason at Musician's Warehouse Annex), the guitar is better than ever. Man, it sounds good. Now let's hope I know what to do with it tomorrow.
To that end, we got together to rehearse. Well, the rest of us did. Frank has been terribly sick all week. He couldn't make it. We got together anyway. A certain drummer even stayed overnight to make sure we could get there in time in the morning. I'm glad he did. His car was overheating and not doing too well by the time it got here. At least the show will go on. Hopefully, it'll heal itself to get him wherever else he needs to be! The rehearsal was decent, if a bit weird. No bass and acoustic instruments are strange for us. It was cool strange, though. The drum kit was broken down to nearly nothing and heavily muffled. The less cymbals we used the better it sounded and it had a cool staccato feel. I was especially surprised at how good some of the heavier songs were.
By the way - "it's getting colder now and the air is clear..."
Fall is setting all around. For the first time since I can remember, I'm feeling a sense of optimism about the season. I still prefer summer but I'm amazingly close to being able to appreciate the turning this time. It's been a while...
| Wednesday September 20, 2006
I'm getting nervous about the show this Friday. It's our first ever acoustic show, our first ever show with Joe and our first of any kind in months. You'd think I'd be entitled to the nervousness. When I mentioned this to Wes (a legendary soundman), he shrugged and said, "Do you trust your band?" I said "Yes." Then he said, "So you've got nothing to worry about." That made me feel somewhat better but I still feel it underneath.
Check this out. Here's a link to Gordon Lamb's Flagpole article that came out today. It's about the R.E.M. adventures last week. He was at every event that I was and it's cool to hear a different perspective. The pic, by the way, belongs to moi.
My Snow Patrol is up at Pollstar today. I'm showin' up lately, I am!
I also sent in my application to join N.A.R.A.S. today.
| Tuesday September 19, 2006
Butch Walker at Nuci's and Aimee Mann at The Melting Point. Ah, Athens!
Today was a pretty crazy day. Luckily, I can encapsulate it pretty easily. In the afternoon, I did my first gig as the GRAMMY's official Athens photog. They had Butch Walker come out to Nuci's Space to chat with students. He was interviewed by Michele Caplinger before taking questions from those in attendance. All the usual UGA crew was there. It was yet another informative, casual "class". It's good to hear from someone who has more or less beat the industry at their own game. Oh and I did get yelled at (in a good natured way) by the GRAMMY reps for not being a member of NARAS myself. I promised to go ahead and join. It looks like I may even be a full member with voting priviledges so I'll share a zillionth of the blame in the GRAMMY's next year!
In the evening, Joe and I went out to the Melting Point so I could photo Aimee Mann. Well, it looks like Wes spoke the truth. After I complained about the lighting, they upgraded it. They kept their word, now I've gotta keep mine about getting them some national publicity! I'm gonna do my best.
Since Joe gave me the ride tonight, we didn't stay as late as I usually would. I got all the shots I needed, watched a few songs and took off. I also had a great conversation with a photog who shoots as many Aimee shows as possible as well as more talks with Daniel Pieken and Jeff Capurso. Ah, it's good to have friends.
Monday September 18, 2006
Trying to get back to it. What an amazing week last week was but it's time to move on. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't having a hard time getting focused on the week ahead. I'm sending a lot of thank you notes today and just wanted to say thanks here (as well) to everyone who made last week what it was.
Here's a link to Vanessa Briscoe Hay's account of the 40 Watt R.E.M. tribute last week. For those who might not know, Vanessa's the singer for Pylon and she participated in the show. She asked to use some of my images in her personal history. Of course, I said "yes". I'm happy to be a part of it all!