Sunday July 30, 2006

So Pete Best makes 2 Beatles I've met now...yep, both of the drummers. This 'un was beyond nice, accomodating and I'm glad we got to spend a bit of post-show time hanging out with him and the band!


I got up earlier than I would've liked today to say goodbye to Nic and the Robster. Amanda was taking them back to meet her parents in Thomson who would then take 'em on back to Kershaw County. I wish I could've gone along but I had some more stuff to do today. Plus, we weren't sure if we could get back in time for me to make rehearsal. I edited a whole bunch 'o' stuff in the meantime and got a CD of non-album tracks together for Joe to start working on. Amanda did manage to make it back with no time to spare. I was still a few minutes late.

To tell you the truth, I was kind of dreading today. Mike and I have had some differences lately (some to do with the things I've written in this diary). Hopefully, we've called a truce and can get back on with it. He's gotta understand how much respect I have for him and how confident I am to know he's the guy back behind the kit. There are fundamental differences in the two of us, though. Sometimes we just can't get it together. This week has been like that for the most part. He disagrees with some of the things I had to say about the last show. He believes there are "inaccuracies". There may be. There may not be. I'm just saying what I believe and feel in this diary. This is not Mike's side or anyone else's, this is MY side and it's the way I'VE seen 'em. There are three sides to every story, you know? I'm sure you understand that but just in case, let it be known!

The things I saw first hand, I stand by. I did mention some things that were reported to me that I didn't personally witness. If I went too far, that's where it happened. I'll refrain from doing that in the future but I will still tell how I feel and what goes on with me and the band(s) that I'm working with. I think we're okay now but it's always somewhat tenuous with us. Rock and roll...

I felt much better when I got there. Since I was a few minutes late, they had already started. It was quite odd to get there and hear "Someone's Trying To Tell Us Something" coming from the room. It made me feel much better and more excited about the potential of the project now that Joe's on board. The rehearsal after that was expectedly hit or miss. Joe and I haven't worked out specifics so we kind of ran over each other. We'll have to try and work that all out this week before the show on Thursday. I can't put into words how excited I am to have Joe involved. He's such a great guitarist and vocalist that we're gonna sound amazing if we can get together enough to work out the kinks. I can't wait to do a show again. It's been a while since I've felt that way.

In the evening, I headed over to Locos Mooseyard for an appearance from a real-live long ago Beatle. Pete Best was the original Beatles drummer. He did WAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY more shows with Lennon / McCartney / Harrison (and Sutcliffe) than Ringo did. He was dismissed in favor of Ringo right before they recorded their debut full-length album and became the biggest, best, greatest band in the history of popular music.

Tonight, "Best Of The Beatles" brought his brother Roag and a handful of scruffy Liverpudlians to revisit the songs The Beatles did in Hamburg and beyond from '60-'62. The show took place at an outdoor venue behind a restaraunt. An old Georgia scoreboard was covered by an American flag. The band was in front. I had a really good time hearing them run through that ol' set list. How else are you gonna hear Beatles songs like "Cry For A Shadow" live? The Pete Best Band do it and it was cool. It was quite humid but the weather was otherwise perfect for an outdoor summer show.

Of course, Mr. Tom Bavis (our original drummer) was there. It was good to see him. I always think it's going to be weird or awkward (as it was just after he left) but whenever I see him now, I just remember how good of a friend he was and how much we have in common. We are uber-geeks and its always good to reconnect when possible. After the show, he and I talked a bit.

After we all got Pete to autograph our early Beatles memorabilia, I wound up backstage hanging out with lead singer Chris Cavanaugh. He, Amanda and I got into this deep political / philosophical discussion. It was great. He's such a cool guy (as are all the other guys whom I spent less time with). I managed to get some exclusive band portraits along with the trade shots (thanks again, Chris).

I also have to thank Sharon and Jamey from Locos as well as Pete's tour manager Teri. They all invited us to hang out and "have a drink" with them. Jamey even offered it all on the house but Amanda and I have been running so much that we politely declined but not before Chris got all my contact info and thanked us for "the best conversation of the tour."

All in all, 'twas a full day.

For you Beatles freaks who are wondering, here is the set list for the gig:

1. Slow Down
2. What'd I Say
3. One After 909
4. Money
5. Please Mr. Postman
6. P.S. I Love You
7. Long Tall Sally
8. Rock 'N' Roll Music
9. Cry For A Shadow
10. My Bonnie
11. Some Other Guy
12. Sweet Georgia Brown
13. I Saw Her Standing There
14. Twist And Shout
15. Kansas City / Hey Hey Hey Hey
16. Johnny B. Goode




Saturday July 29, 2006

Look at the thickness of the glass required to protect patrons from the vicious people-eating penguins at the Georgia Aquarium!







Today our deal was to take Nichole and Robbie out to the Georgia Aquarium. It's billed as the world's largest, beating out Chicago's Shedd (which I've also been to) quite handily in raw stats. They should bill it as the world's most crowded. We got there in the late afternoon with advance tickets and still had to be herded through a couple of endless lines. The place has been sold out for every single "showing" since it opened nearly a year ago.

The exhibits are quite spectacular, as you'd expect for $20 / per person. There are 4 whale-sharks in one ginormous tank that you walk under, over, around and above. Of course, there are tens of thousands of other aquatic creatures in there too. This place is not for claustrophobics. They also have these little interactive things where you can kind of go inside the exhibit (see left). Highlights were too many to mention but I liked the sea horses, jellyfish, spider crabs, belugas and of course, the whale sharks. The otters get an honorable mention for frolicking for us.

After the aquarium, we decided to hop over to the CNN center for dinner. While there, everyone except me decided that we MUST go to Stone Mountain for our annual pilgrimage to the laser show. I told 'em that I didn't think it was a good idea but it looked like a storm was coming. I didn't wanna be "that guy" though, so we went. We got our Dippin' Dots and the show started. A couple of drips fell from on high. Then the show started. We made it through the laser commercials and a couple of the lamer songs. Right after the first favorite ("The Devil Went Down To Georgia"), the sky exploded. The powers of the Mountain finished the song, did a brief firework finale and turned on the crowd lights. They just stopped after only 1/4 of the show was done. We all got up and started heading for the car (about a half-mile away). Thousands of other people were heading for theirs. The downpour turned into a flash flood. Lightning and thunder was crashing all around. We had brought our umbrellas but the rain was so hard that we were all still soaked. The last stretch of the trip, we had to walk through water that went up well past my ankles. Big fun. If only we'd have had someone, anyone who might've known this kind of thing was a-gonna happen...

At least they know we tried our best. We got home for our last night together at about 11. I can't believe the trip is already over and they'll be leaving tomorrow. I wish I hadn't had so much work that I had to do this week. But even with limited time, I enjoyed having them here and I hope they had a good time, too.





Friday July 28, 2006



Today was the day. And it was perfect. It was about 165 degrees (give or take 65 degrees) and I was feeling much better for the first time in a week. We loaded up the car and headed for the land of the White Water. What can I say? We had a great time. We rode a whole bunch of rides (Nichole and I wussed out of the scariest ones) and generally celebrated summer as it should be celebrated. Unfortunately, it was even more crowded than usual and the lines were much, much longer but we still had fun. I did get slightly freaked out for a second when I wound up plummeting backwards down a ride through waterfalls and in and out of darkness. I've done the ride several times before but it's much scarier backwards, lemme tell ya!

We got back in kind of late but we still watched a Twilight Zone (Robbie wanted to). Tonight's episode was the infamous "To Serve Man". I never did really like this one. Even the first time I saw it as a kid and didn't know the twist, it didn't do much for me. Nichole figured it out right away. To me, this one's great on paper but doesn't quite deliver. Amanda, Nichole and Robbie seemed to agree. This one's overrated.



Thursday July 27, 2006





Today was more of the same. I edited the photos from last night and uploaded them to Wire Image. To see the Beach Boys / John Stamos gallery, just click here.

I did spend a bit more time with Robbie and Nichole. I finally got around to making the yearly "Hits" CD that I make at their request. This year, they were fighting over songs too much. Usually, I make 'em choose. They can have any song but they can't duplicate one. That way, I figure if they want, they can have twice as many songs by copying each other's if they wish. Nope. They were extra-determined to have the same ol' stuff this year. It means they both wound up with half of what they would've because I just made one CD and duplicated it for the other. It was easier for me but I don't get their logic sometimes.

We wound up back at Cici's Pizza tonight. Perhaps that wasn't the best decision healthwise. I'm still feeling totally worn out. Last night's burst of energy didn't make it 'til this morning. I'm just burned out. Thank God Amanda didn't make me go to White Water yesterday or today like she had been planning. I simply would not have made it through. I hope I'm with it enough to go tomorrow. I know that all three of 'em (including Amanda) look forward to White Water every year and as the non-Amandas of the 3 will be adults soon, I don't know how many more years we'll have to do it together. I wanna enjoy it while we have the chance.

Before bed we watched an episode of The Twilight Zone called The Last Rites Of Jeff Myrtlebank. I think it's an underrated one. As with all good Twilight Zones, it initiated disusssions, disagreements and wondering from all concerned. Robbie had one opinion on what happened, Nichole and Amanda had another. I wasn't quite sure but I was leaning toward the Robster's side.



Wednesday July 26, 2006

Cousin Mike and Uncle Jesse rock with The Beach Boys in Atlanta.


Yep, I spent today editing pictures of Editors. The mind-bending part was when it came time to upload the pics, I had to send a message to the editors at WireImage regarding my edits of Editors. Ack!

You wanna see the shots of Editors? Click here.

Thanks to Caren West at CWPR, I didn't have to abandon Amanda, Nichole and Robbie tonight. We all wound out going to Chastain Park for The Beach Boys. I was glad to be able to take 'em. (Thanks for the extra tickets, Caren).

I was able to sort of return the favor by taking some pics of Jonathan Baker (from Second Shift) with his Dad at Caren's request. I was glad to be able to do it. Man, how I wish I could be going to a Beach Boys concert with my Dad in the summer of '06.

Now back to ol' NicRob. You wouldn't think that a 13 and 14 year old would have any interest in this particular concert but Robbie happens to be a pretty big Beach Boys fan. Nichole had a vague interest in going and was being a good sport. Then, as it turns out, John Stamos (y'know, Full House, General Hospital, soon to be ER) wound up sitting in with the band all night. Nichole grew up watching him as Uncle Jesse on Full House so she thought that was pretty cool.

The show was yer usual Beach Boys party. It was a harmless, wonderful, great summer night of music. I've seen the Beach Boys a few times now but I never cease to be amazed at the way the audience responds to them. What other band that was having hits 45 years ago can fill an outdoor amphitheatre? It's amazing to see in action. Robbie was amazed at how they "look so old but sound so young". That's the power of music!

I was most impressed (disturbingly enough) by John Stamos. That guy can play. When he was on guitar and / or backup vocals, you could hardly hear him. But when he played drums, he tore it up. He may be better than their real guy. He also played keyboard (including the beginning of "California Girls") and percussion.

The weather was perfect, we all had a great time and I was happy to be there.

Oh - and my big concert wrap up of the last few months shows was in today's Flagpole. You can check out the piece as it ran by clicking here. It was supposed to be 10 shows but they edited down to 7 due to my typical long-windedness. For the record, the Editors show shoulda been #2 and NIN should be #3. I have no idea why I turned it in slightly off. The other 3 reviews that were left off will be included in the long-rumored ConcertShots update along with the full reviews of each of these 7. If I live long enough, I promise it will happen!




Tuesday July 25, 2006

Tom Smith and Editors rock the ROXY on the opening night of their first US headlining tour.





All that was left of the weekend's pics was editing Amanda's sponsor shots and uploading the lot of mine to Wire Image. You can see the gallery of most of my images from StarFest by clicking here.

While they were uploading, I finally got a bit 'o' time to spend with Nichole and Robbie. Nichole chose to spend a chunk of that time on the phone with her current beau Tommy (ah, teenagers). Robbie and I got the CDs of the pics from this weekend to the peeps who hired me and we just relaxed a bit.

A few hours later, Frank showed up. I had to desert the home fries again. Amanda took Robbie and Nichole to see a movie and go for a walk. Frank and I grabbed a quick dinner at Piccadilly and headed off to see Editors open their first headlining USA tour. We got lost on the way and found our way by sense of faith (don't ask).

Once we got there, I managed to get one of my candid shots of Editors that I took in April to the band for autographs. In the meantime, Franks and I wound up hanging out with a new photog in Atlanta named Andrew. Cool guy. I hope to see more of him.

Lake Trout opened. Their lights completely sucked so I protested by not shooting a single shot of 'em.

Editors played another great show. They've got some absolutely amazing new songs and it was good to see them in headlining position in front of such a supportive crowd. The balcony was closed off but they still sold enough tickets to be a good night.

I was also glad that we had no restrictions. There was no pit. If I'd only had the first couple of songs it would've been a real drag. The two usual Atlanta photogs were staked right at the front of the stage. I decided to shoot from about soundboard distance just to work with my improved (but still having some problems) D-200 and see what I could get. Plus, I wanted something slightly different from what everyone else was getting. So I shot the whole show from about midway back to all the way against the back wall. I got some nice shots of their incredible (but difficult to shoot) lighting. I think I did 'em justice this time.

As I said, the show was great but I can't say I was as blown away as last time. Of course, I'm still exhausted and that tends to color things. There's also the fact that last time, I knew nothing about them and it was all unexpected. This time, I knew what was coming. That does make a difference. Frank was a little disappointed that they didn't do "Lights" tonight. It was supposed to be the first encore according to the set list but they cut it and went straight into "Fingers In The Factories." Still - a great show.

And Frank and I had a couple of nice talks. It's really cool to be able to talk to someone on the same wavelength. We got asked at least twice tonight if we were brothers. Well, not by blood.

We both share the concerns over the band and we both think we know what needs to be done. Now if we can simply do it, it'll be OK. No - it'll be great for the first time since the best of the Q-Sign days.



Monday July 24, 2006



Oh, what a boring, boring day. I'm still editing picture after picture from StarFest. Today I started about 9 am and ran through to about 9 pm. I decided to not stop 'til I get 'em done. I know that we have company this week but I figure it's better to just bite the bullet and have more free time later. I took a couple of breaks but they were short.

Again, when I finished I could hardly see. Robbie and I went and grabbed an evening snack and we all wound down watching Twilight Zone ("It's A Good Life") with commentary. Robbie seemed intrigued at hearing the behind the scenes on his favorite episode. It sounds boring but it wasn't. We also watched the WKRP series premiere. Ah, comforting.

Click here for last week's musical rebirth and the beginning of the current onslaught (including Pink, Train, Nickel Creek, The Whigs, Beyond Tomorrow and more).