About 4 years ago, Alicia Keys had a concert in London. It was around the same time I started out in Live Music Pictures. My missus was getting tickets for herself and my brother for the gig and asked whether I’d like one. Of course, being cocky like an Oak tree in the face of an industrialised chain saw ready to be halved, I declined the offer, truly believing in my self worth that I’d be able to blag a Photography Pass for the show. Suffice to say that that didn’t work out. I reckon I had to eat a couple of Humble Pies before I began to understand how the industry works, get work published and hustle in making contacts for passes.
Anyway, fast forward to last month and I find out that Ms. Keys would be performing at the O2 Arena. By now I contacted the Record label’s press office in London for some help. May I just say for the record (no pun intended) that the guys at that press office have got to be ‘the most friendly, caring, and understanding bunch around’. (Hah!! I laugh at my eternal optimism!) Managing to get the name of the contact dealing for photo-passes from that press office is like trying to wring water out of stone, and that is no exaggeration. Cut a long story short, I sent about 3 emails out to the contact dealing with the PR for the gig, but with no response at all. Now these days, I’ve come to the realisation that there is only so much you can do at times with certain things, and leave the rest to God. When it comes to ‘Celebrity gigs’, don’t bother having a hernia if you don’t get a pass. So imagine my suprise on the night of the concert, I get a call from a contact asking if I can cover the show on his behalf. Hah! what do you know?
Anyway, may I just say that Alicia Keys gig is outstanding live. Her stage manager, a lovely Yank, briefed the photographers as to what the set up was going to be like, how long we had and how the lighting was going to work. Do you know how long ago it’s been that we’ve been given the heads up as to how a performer is going to be on stage? Beyonce, take note! I’m not much of an Alicia Keys fan, but just for that humble attitude yesterday, she’s alright by me.
Now the show would have been just perfect yesterday, except my nemesis, the over-excited, under-staffed yet moronic security staff just wanted to cause problems. We’d been warned earlier not to touch the stage, to which we agreed to. Now, you have to to understand that we are about 2 feet away from the platform and working under cramped conditions, so you’re bound to have your foot move in about 2 inches into the ‘No -Go’ Zone. This burly skinhead security had already had it in for me and just wanted confrontation. He starts off with shouting “What do you F&*$@ do think you’re doing?!?!?” I looked back him and responded back in kind, “What the hell do you think you’re doing??” See, I don’t tolerate bullying of any kind, and the buffoon was trying to psyche me out and I just looked back at him. After you’ve looked down the barrel of a gun or threatened with a knife, having just muscles doesn’t have that scare-factor on me, and that’s no brag. I strongly believe in the saying, ‘He who angers you controls you‘, and I have to admit that this punk really put me off taking pictures yesterday night. The worst this dude could have done is try and chuck me out and try to hit me, and I need a new camera, anyway. Then it dawned on me: this over-shaped neanderthal is always going to feel that he’s ‘Da Man’, so I might as well let him swim or even drown in his own self-importance. Even after the gig, the other photographers were surprised that ‘Security Baboon’ was picking on me, considering that they were getting closer to the stage than I was. So, if any of the powers that be that deal with security at the 02 arena happen to read this, you might want to invest in etiquette classes for your over-muscled goons.
Right: rant over. Here are a couple of shots from the night: