Thursday, April 24, 2008
have things changed much? AC DC
I suppose things have changed some since I shot concerts but I bet one thing hasn't...road managers. You're at their mercy. If they had a problem with a photographer the night before, or for that matter, are just in a bad mood, it can ruin your shoot. They see you as someone in the way, as someone getting something for nothing, just a work hassle for them.
I always arranged credentials with the record companies on arena shows. You can't count on 'friends' or the venue to get you in. But even with an 'official' credential from the record company, the road manager is the big man on site.
I shot AC DC twice, the first time in color on 400 speed ektachrome in the early 80's. When I had an opportunity to shoot them again a couple years later I decided that I'd like to shoot some black and white. I checking in at Will-Call, picked up my credential, got in an hour early, made friends with all the T-shirt security before the lights went down so they would know I belonged and wouldn't hassle me during the short three first songs I got to shoot. I also always made friends with the front row of fans behind the barricade. That way they weren't jealous but helpful, knowing I was a fan and wouldn't be in their way much. If not, they often pounded me with thrust body parts.
So this second AC DC shoot, I did all my usual routine. The lights went down, the crowd screamed in the dark, the amps and monitors at my face hummed with anticipation. Flashlights appeared on stage leading bandmembers to their spots. Slowly the lights came up on the center of the stage. A steaming rocket, ready to launch came up out of the floor like a atomic warhead. As it reached its height, a door at the top popped down and Angus Young stepped forward hitting his signature licks and the crowd really went crazy. As I shot my first three or four frames, someone grabbed my collar and yanked me backwards. I spun around only to find a 'huge' guy in my face screaming at me "NO PHOTOS, GET THE HELL OUT!" GO GO GO!" in his Australian accent. I tried in the dark to point to my credential plastered front and center on my shirt. I tried arguing but with 140 decibels in my ear I couldn't even hear myself complain as he dragged me over to the side of the stage and literally chunked me away from the stage.
Such is life. The color shot here is from the first time I shot them, the other is my last frame from this show, the moment he gripped my shirtcollar.