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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.

David Byrne: 3 Arena by Aaron Corr

This will not only go down as one of the best gigs of the year, but on of the best gigs 'I’ve ever been to. As a life long fan of Talking Heads it was a delight to finally see, and photograph David Byrn in the 3Arena for The Thin Air.

I got to shoot the show from the left and right entrance points on the ground floor. This meant having to avoid all the people coming in with their pints to get to their seats, getting in the way of shots. But this didn’t matter. The lights were solid and perfect for shooting, especially at long range. There was barely any photos deleted from this set, they were all so sharp and lit well.

David started on stage with a table and a brain for the first song. I shot from the left side for this and the second song before legging it over to the right hand side for the third song, I Zimbra. When I was done shooting the band began to play Slippery People and I rushed to get my camera lenses detached and packed away so I could run back to my seat and enjoy the full song on time. The show was a joy to watch from start to finish and I want to see it all over again. Let’s see if it goes to Broadway like the stories suggest.

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First Aid Kit: Olympia Theatre by Aaron Corr

This is the second time I’ve shot First Aid Kit in the Olympia Theatre, this occasion was for The Thin Air. Opening up for the band were The Staves, who I had also shot previously in Whelans. First Aid Kit had a curtain covering most of the stage, so the Stave sisters were very much set up towards the front of the stage. With the height of the Olympia stage it very much felt like most vantage points led to shooting ‘up the nose’ as they say, which isn’t the best angle or flattering. Combine this with the mic stands and equipment they had set up for sampling their vocals, the angles were narrow and tricky and I can’t say there is a photo I particularly like from this set.

The Staves

The Staves

First Aid Kit’s set I thought would be a better shoot. The hindrance was the colours used on stage, which can be a frustration when editing, particularly when they are used as low light while the Soderberg sister’s hang towards the back of the stage for a portion of the first song. They are a great band to shoot but if I was to compare, my first experience with them in the Olympia was a better experience.

The other frustration during their set was that they were lit well for a good portion of the set but the lights that were lighting them from front on were causing lots of microphone shadow on their faces, as seen of the next photo of Klara. I ended up focusing on her less because her mouth and chin were lost in the photos as she stood singing. Johanna sang less during those songs and therefore was standing back a little more, making her a better performer to photograph.

Their set was good and their singing perfect, however I did prefer their set and energy on stage at All Together Now in the summer. Their latest album is one of my favourite albums of the year.

May Photos by Aaron Corr

Slow Riot

Slow Riot

May began with two Limerick bands playing The Grand Social.  GoldenPlec sent me to cover London based Whenyoung's first Dublin headline show, but first up on the night was Slow Riot.  

Whenyoung

Whenyoung

Whenyoung took to the stage with quiet confidence and belted out great tune after great tune.  They would later find themselves invited onto the support slot to Nick Cave and Patti Smith in Kilmainham the next month, which is high praise.  They are making great buzz for themselves so the coming year should hold big things for them.

Full gallery.

Noel Gallagher

Noel Gallagher

Last year I photographed Liam, and this year I complete the Oasis set with Noel Gallagher in 3Arena for The Thin Air.  Photographers were restricted to one side of the stage at a time, no shooting from the center areas.  I was delighted when he raised the guitar like a rifle and aimed it at me for a posed shot.  He would do something quirky like this if the right photographer caught his eye at the right time, like sticking his tongue out for another.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs finally made a return to Ireland, where they've only played a handful of times in the Republic and never their own headline show since they've become ever more popular.  This night was a double headline show with Beck.  Covering their show for The Thin Air was a massive highlight.  When I arrived at the Arena I was only approved to shoot them, the Beck pass only got confirmed while I was there.

Karen O, as expected, was a legend to shoot.  She wore unique designed clothes and stalked the stage being all kinds of cool.  Brian Chase behind the drums looked like he was having a whale of a time, looking like the happiest drummer on the world I heard someone remark after.  Nick Zinner was just quietly cool to the right, letting the guitar do the talking.  

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Beck

Beck

Beck's pass arrived just before the Yeah Yeah Yeahs shoot, it was to be shot from the soundboard and a contract needed to be signed.  It literally signs away the rights to the photos which I hated to sign, but I knew in all fairness none of his reps are going to be chasing any of us down to get hi-res copies of a photo(s) taken from a soundboard for promo use.  He arrived very late to the stage, due to production delays I presume, and as a result went past curfew to play the same length of a set as YYYs.  He opened with a storming three song intro and the lights were great given how far back I was shooting.  

Pip Blom

Pip Blom

The Thin Air kept me busy in May with The Breeders rescheduled show in Vicar Street, with no storm Ophelia to stop them this time.  Amsterdam band Pip Blom opened up that evening and were a great support.  I look forward to hopefully catching them again.

The Breeders

The Breeders

The Breeders looked delighted to make it back to Dublin after being primed for their last gig but red weather alerts causing everything in the city and country that day to be cancelled.  The lights were quickly lowered and a smokey haze filled the stage, much like the last time I shot them here.  In the brief time between songs the light was at it's best and that's where I managed to snap Kim Deal with a big smile to the crowd as she bantered with them.  This was the type of shot I wanted to get from photographing her.   

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Ezra Furman

Ezra Furman

It had been a while since I was in the Tivoli.  I put my name down with GoldenPlec to cover Ezra Furman's gig there.  Although my name was on the door to shoot, there was no photopass which caused a little bit of annoyance and confusion with security in the venue, even though there was no pit for photographers.  

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