Muse/Birds of Tokyo @ Brisbane Entertainment Centre (10/12/2013)

Well this was a gig I never expected to get. I applied for it with zero expectations, because as my mum always said “you will never get something unless you ask for it” (side-note: my grandad always said the opposite “If you ask for something you’ll never get it”, but I feel that has to do more with all the candy I wanted as a kid). Anyway, there I was, heading to the Entertainment Centre with Max to photograph my 2nd gig ever there (only 3 days after I spent 8 hours surrounded by sweaty and bloody men photographing the UFC there).

I’m not going to talk about the gig too much, I went with Max and he wrote an A+ review here: http://amhnetwork.com/muse-brisbane-2013-2/and my accompanying gallery here: http://amhnetwork.com/muse-brisbane-2013/.

Photography wise, I don’t think I’ve blogged about the Entertainment Centre before, but gigs of this size are out of my comfort zone. It’s incredible to be able to photograph bands of this size and popularity and to be amongst thousands of people, but it’s at this type of gig where you feel like a real small and insignificant cog in the business Juggernaut that is music. After getting through security you meet the publicist in the office to the side where you are told the rules. They are generally something like:

  1. Sign away all rights to your photos in a form
  2. Do not photograph the opening bands, just wait in the office until time
  3. Escorted by security in
  4. No photographing until the music starts (this sucked when Rivers of Weezer was warming up by playing soccer next to us)
  5. First 3 songs, no flash. Or if unlucky shooting from the sound desk (or from next to the sound desk in the crowd for Miley Cyrus)
  6. Escorted out and leave the venue. Don’t stay to watch the band

Muse had a photo form, a quite complex one where we offered up all of our global rights to the photos in exchange for 1 pound UK. I’ve been thinking hard about publishing this gallery or not, but considering I never got my payment, fuck it. Photographer’s rights are big rant for another day.

Another thing about venues this size is that the lighting is generally incredibly good. Considering I cut my teeth in dark spaces, pushing my cameras and my wits to trying to get a good photo out of almost nothing, all this lighting is overkill. I honestly have no idea how to cope with it. Since this gig I’ve done it a lot more and feel comfortable with it, but at the time I came in with my cameras at high ISO and low shutters and the first photos were not good to say the least. Thank goodness we got to shoot Birds of Tokyo at the start to warm up. Look at all that ISO noise though.

They were squeezed into the front of a very large stage with no theatrical accompaniments like the last few times I saw them. I’ve never been a huge fan of Birds of Tokyo, but they were continuing their rather rapid evolution into a stadium band and still managed to pt on a grand show to the large crowd. Soon it will be them filling arenas like that, mark my word. Their music and live show translates beautifully to a large stage.

After editing the first batch of photos back in the office (surprise! we weren’t allowed to watch the whole Birds of Tokyo set) we got escorted back out to Muse. Who emerged from a pyramid of light in the middle of the stage.

This is the part I love about big pop-music shows. It’s more than a gig, it’s a performance. The lights, the props, the banter even, this is why you pay a lot more for a ticket. Unfortunately, this also involved the stage jutting out in a giant triangle with camera and lighting equipment on dollies scooting around the photo pit. If you wanted to change to the other side of stage for a different angle, it involved running a very long gauntlet out into the middle of the entertainment centre and back again, dodging all sorts of security and techies. I constantly found myself at the wrong side of the stage for the photos. Grrr.

Lighting wise, it was too bright. A complaint I rarely make. But combine bright lights with a fog machine and the photos were very washed out. I’ll re-edit properly one day when I have a lot of time, but given the short turnaround required I didn’t push too hard.

But heck, I got to get up nice and close to a modern rock god (depending who you ask, he’s definitely pretty damn good at what he does) and take photos. And that is the kind of thing that afterwards, looking at photos, I just couldn’t help but smile and feel giddy. This is why I do this. There were lots of people I know in the crowd sending me photos of me at work, people that don’t normally go to gigs. So it was great to share my photos with them (and make them a bit jealous).

We then got escorted out, where I checked in my bags with security and ran back in. Max, being a reviewer, got a +1. Unlike photographers, who get booted. So I sat up there with him, edited a few photos on my phone and watched the whole set. There’s a few newer songs I didn’t like, but goddamn Muse has a great back catalogue. A few select photos below:

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