Thursday, January 21, 2010

From a Budgie to a Vulture, and some things in between


One of my big loves other than photography is music. Always have, always will love it.

Whether it is belting out in the car or going around in my head, I always seem to have it going on somewhere.

Lindsey Buckingham and John McVie of Fleetwood Mac

Lately it seems a lot of 'older' acts have decided the time is ripe to tour and let a new generation of fans see them in concert. Naturally if it is someone I have always liked I will grab a ticket and see the show. This is usually done in company of my daughter Cat.

In 2009 we saw Leonard Cohen, Simon and Garfunkle, Budgie and Fleetwood Mac. I have enjoyed their music since my youth and have waited many years to see them in concert.

Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac with John McVie on bass and an obscured Mick Fleetwood on drums

I guess the only downside to seeing these concerts is that unless you are an accredited photographer, you have a heck of a time trying to get decent shots. Security are all over anyone with what they perceive to be a 'pro' outfit.

At the Fleetwood Mac concert they were even going into the crowd to hassle people with point and shoot cameras. Security claimed that it was at the band's request, but the band didn't seem to mind when those at front of stage were shooting.

Budgie didn't care - you could go for it as long as you respected the request not to use flash. A great attitude. Here is founder and bass player Burke Shelly getting close with crowd.

Still, the feeble minded folk who run the venues have to do something to make themselves feel superior I guess. Give us all a break folks. It does no-one any harm. No one is going to make a killing selling any shots of a group from the back of an auditorium! For what it is worth, many P&S cameras have longer effective lenses than the ones serious photographers have to sneak in to the venue.

Anyway - enough of that gripe.

This week I flew to Perth with Cat and Jess, her friend. The concert this time was "Them Crooked Vultures" a new 'supergroup' consisting of Josh Homme from "Queens of the Stone Age", Dave Grohl from "Foo Fighters" and "Nirvana" and John Paul Jones from "Led Zeppelin".

The concert was LOUD, HEAVY and most enjoyable. Fairly QOTSA with a deal of LZ influence combined with industrial strength steroids!

John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl and Josh Homme. JPJ is playing a custom 'slide bass'

Having waited since about 1972 to see John Paul Jones in concert there was no way I was going to miss the first Australian date of this band. It was not disappointing. Amazing things can happen when very talented people get together in a creative sense and if they park their egos at the door.

John Paul Jones on keyboards

Let's hope that their first album is not their last and this tour not the last either.

Whatever your taste in music - enjoy it to the fullest, and as always,

Stay safe.


  1. Hey Bill,
    Great stuff, and some valid points about cameras and security. Its ridiculous. An iPhone with an interesting App can take great photographs!

    So, curious to know..what did you use to get these images?

  2. Hi there,
    Thanks for the comments. I agree re Apple iPhone and app. See Chase Jarvis' book on images using the iPhone.

    To answer the question re what was used -

    All these images were made on a Nikon D90.
    The images of "Budgie" were captured with a 35mm f2 Nikkor. "Fleetwood Mac" and "Them Crooked Vultures" were shot with the 18-200mm Nikkor zoom.

    Now, some folk would say (and I have a gig-shooting friend who is that camp), that one should use something like a D700 and fast glass. That would be a great combination. However, getting that sort of gear into concerts where one is not an 'official' photographer is virtually impossible and will almost certainly get you kicked out.
    So, I use the aforementioned gear. With lens off the D90 slips into a rather large pocket of a jacket that funnily enough, I always wear to concerts :-). The lens goes into another pocket. ISO 3200 and 1600 is acceptable enough quality on the D90 for this sort of work.

    Budgie was the exception as they were playing at 'The Corner Hotel' in Richmond where little prohibitions exist. All they asked was that no flash be used.