U2

U2: 3Arena by Aaron Corr

Here was a show and a band I was really looking forward to shooting. I saw their last tour for Innocence & Experience in the 3Arena and it was a great show. I remember seeing great photos from those show my peers, and these were what I had in mind when my opportunity came up. Let’s see what Bono and the boys give me to play with. They had very specific directions for where you had to be for certain songs throughout the show. In my mind this meant the optimal angle to shoot from for how they want to be represented, and the lights should be fantastic.

This was not the case unfortunately.

The first song to shoot was the third in the set, I Will Follow. I got to watch the first two songs from the red zone, which fans pay a couple of hundred Euros for the privilege. During the second song, Bono asked the crowd for some light, so they shone their phone’s torchlight throughout the song. The band took to the stage while Bono remained on the cage platform dividing the crowd. He was facing the thousands of fans, a starry background and it looked amazing. But I couldn’t raise my camera to capture it. My fellow photographers on the night looked at each other, sickened to know what a great shot was being missed out.

Bono came back to the main stage to join The Edge, Adam and Larry and kick in to I Will Follow. Camera were drawn and we got to shoot at the same level as everyone else, fans raised their hands in the air and I did my best to try get above this for clear shots and some with them for an “in the thick of it” effect. Some good moments were ruined by a stray hand, covering a kicking Bono in action. The lights were shining directly down on the crowns of their heads, making their faces be in shadow for the song. These pictures are obviously the better portion of the set, some I’m happy with, some are just tricky. The Edge was so far away from us that he couldn’t be given focus during it, and Larry Mullins was obscured by drum stands from where I stood. This was the closest I was going to get, and I was warned by a photographer who shot the night before, that it only got worse.

Mid set we made our way to an aisle to the right of the arena and set up a fold out step to get an extra bit of height over the crowd. It had very limited effect. We were not allowed to move around due to fire wardens directions. The last row of people were mostly sat on their chairs in front of me to give them extra height to see the show. This removed any possibility to take an arena wide shot of all fans surrounding the band. I had to snap these three songs between heads, arms and hands again. The lighting was poor to shoot in from this distance. The max zoom I had was on my 70-200mm. Bono either was in shadow or had his back to us, facing the other side of the arena. There aren’t many shots I feel happy to show off when saying “I shot U2!!”

Later in the second half of the show, we were ushered back into the arena to shoot New Years Day, as the band performed in from of a European Union flag. We were more centred than the mid gig part of the shoot, but again the lights were not great from that distance, and there was still people stood in front of us which affected how shots were taken. Below is an example of how far away I was shooting from. Once again, no picture from this part of the set makes me feel proud.

The band put on a hell of a show from what I saw between being ushered in and out of the arena, but overall I am a little disappointed by the photos.

November Gigs by Aaron Corr

Alabama Shakes

Alabama Shakes

I had seen Alabama Shakes before and thought it was a great, if very short show (they did only have the one, not very long album at that time to be fair).  I didn’t have expectations to stay as I was tired and hadn’t listened to the new record yet.  However once I was in and shooting, Brittany’s stage presence hit me and I decided to stay on a bit to hear some more.  They were brilliant and, like many have said to me since, the new songs are even better than the old.  It was a fine show to shoot, the rest of the band don’t do much on stage so it was mainly Brittany I focused on, particulary since the background band members were lit with far lower light.

Years & Years

Years & Years

After seeing the crowd’s reaction to Years and Years at Longitude during the Summer I figured it would be worth my while shooting them.  The crowd in the Olympia were young and hyper.  Olly Alexander is a good frontman to shoot too, he wanders the stages, reaches out to the crowd, he knows how to work them.  The lights were a pain to edit in post-processing but it’s worth it for some of the shots I got from the show.  The unfortunate element was that us photographers were kicked out too early during our three song allocation due to confusion among security so there may have been some cool photos to get in that time we missed out on.

White Miles

White Miles

Eagles of Death Metal had two support bands when they played in Dublin.  I missed the first, a young Cavan band called The Whereabouts that are like the Strypes.  “How original” I thought.  From what I heard I missed a belter and some great photo opps as the singer was playing it up for whoever was there shooting the show.  That could have been interesting so I’ll remember this for the next time I see they are playing.  White Miles were the second act of the night, and I got in for them.  They are an Austrian duo, with guitar and drums.  The stage was big for that amount of people to be at the polar opposite sides as each other.  Most times when I would be focusing to take a shot of the singer, she would run over to the drummer to rock out.  By the time I made it over there she would move away again.  What didn’t help was the amount of monitors in the way.  I’ve no doubt better shots were there for the taking if only the stag wasn’t so high, made trickier with the sheer amount of monitors.

Eagles of Death Metal

Eagles of Death Metal

I've written about this show and what came next for the band in Paris in a previous blog so I will just say that this was a joy to photograph and a really fun show.  They've always been a band I love to catch, even if it is on rare occasions.

Bonus gig as a punter - U2

Bonus gig as a punter - U2

And now for something a little different.  The one show I went to that I wasn't shooting at, but to enjoy as a punter was U2.  I had only seen them once before at the first of their two headline shows at Slane.  It was amazing.  I couldn't let the opportunity go without taking my little point and shoot and getting something to remember the night from my vantage point.  I'm not the biggest U2 fan.  I didn't try get tickets when they went on sale, I only got them in the days leading up to the gig.  I'm so glad I did now.  I do love the older singles but never an album listener nor do I care for much of their later output, but it was an incredible show.  The visuals were fantastic and I loved how the band interacted with them, like Bono walking down memory lane, the street he grew up on.  For a gig over two hours in length there is the fear that boredom would kick in at some point but it never did.  The band proved why they are the biggest band in the world and still are deserving to be on top.