Friday, December 31, 2010

As our December sun is setting...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In a few short, or in our case, very long years, this room will have been completely transformed. Every click of the shutter is less than one second in rock history, less than one second in any of our lives. Come 2014, this room will not look as it does in this photo, in the photos below. While they aren't such a big deal now, these photos will be used to tell our children, both staff and patron alike, about our great days of arena rock.

DMB/Madison Square Garden/New York, NY/12.13.10

Monday, December 27, 2010

After I snapped the shutter on this shot, TP and I shuffled off to the next location. Prior to arriving at said location, I stopped him in the middle of the aisle and gave him the biggest hug that me, a non-hugger, was capable of giving. Without him, this shot would have never happened.

And yes, that is what a 360° sell-out looks like. The row of shadow behind the upstage moving lights? All heads of concert-goers. Pretty neat, huh?

DMB/Madison Square Garden/New York, NY/12.13.10

Friday, December 24, 2010

I asked a boy whom I dated once, "When does one get tired of this?"

"Of what?"

"I don't know, of this..."

While it was a serious, yet quizzical moment in my later college years, pondering love and its aftereffects, I find I'm now asked the same question about work. For as hopeless a romantic as I unfortunately am, I find myself never curious of impending familiarity, as there's never a chance to sit at the same table, let alone use the same dishware.

It's very similar to a roll of film, really - never the same frame - unless you are getting artsy with overlays and multiple exposures. But that analogy is for another time and another place.

So whether the question at hand is being asked of love or of work, I suppose my answers are, for better or for worse, very similar. Haha, fascinating, eh? A balancing act of epic proportions, for sure.

DMB/Madison Square Garden/New York, NY/12.13.10

I love 360° shows. The arena is your oyster.

DMB/Madison Square Garden/New York, NY/12.13.10

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A million posts ago, I was writing about DMB's show on 11.12.10. Life gets kinda busy sometimes, so you end up skipping things that are quite important. Like day two of said DMB engagement at the Garden. I hope you don't mind, but the next few days shall be devoted to 11.13.10.

Carter Beauford of Dave Matthews Band/Madison Square Garden/New York, NY/11.13.10

This man held the door for me backstage. If I could high-five God, I would have done it right then.

Tim Reynolds with Dave Matthews Band/Madison Square Garden/New York, NY/11.13.10

Monday, December 20, 2010

Nothing says party! like a giant-penis foam-cannon! Woooo hoooo!

While the above scene is a little (um, a lot?) ridiculous, you cannot forget that this show was a grand moment in time for German industrial metal band, Rammstein. The Berlin-based, six-piece band hadn't played in the United States since 2001 and in their sixteen years of touring, had never played Madison Square Garden.

This show sold out in under thirty minutes - the first and only German band to do this at our tiny, little arena.

At over 120 dB, this is the only show I've ever found ear plugs appropriate.

Photo: Till Lindemann, lead singer of Rammstein/Madison Square Garden/New York, NY/12.11.10

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hey Jude, don't make it bad;
Take a sad song and make it better.
Remember to let her into your heart,
Then you can start to make it better.

Hey Jude, don't be afraid;
You were made to go out and get her.
The minute you let her under your skin,
Then you begin to make it better.

And any time you feel the pain,
Hey Jude, refrain,
Don't carry the world upon your shoulders.
For well you know that it's a fool, who plays it cool,
By making his world a little colder.

Hey Jude, don't let me down;
You have found her, now go and get her.
Remember to let her into your heart,
Then you can start to make it better.

"Let It Be" straight into "Hey Jude", McCartney sitting at the piano. Fannntastic. I'd like to let you all know that "Hey Jude"... man, "Hey Jude" is a different song to me live. You just sit there and sway with the rhythm of his fingers on the piano and find yourself singing along with such a soft smile on your face. Good, good night.

Photo: Paul McCartney/Apollo Theater/Harlem, New York, NY/12.13.10

Note: All photos from this night were taken on a crap pocket cam. Yeah... I wish I had had the baby too... but... not been anywhere close to that press line. However, despite me not shooting with a semi-decent rig, my dear friend, Mr. Bob Gruen was there as well, so I think we're covered in adequate documentation of the evening.

Confetti! Autographs! Abbey Road! Celebrities galore! When you are seated eight rows ahead of Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Matt Damon Alec Baldwin and Val Kilmer, you can't help but look around, realize you are front row, center, and wonder if someone made a mistake. Whatever, you look great, so when Paul busts into "Back in the U.S.S.R" or "I Saw Her Standing There" or Marvin Gaye's "Hitch Hike" - all you can do is dance your little butt off. If you're going to be there? Be there... and hope Keith Richards enjoys your performance.

Check out Rolling Stone's coverage!

Photo: Paul McCartney signs autographs at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York, NY - his smallest gig since he played the Cavern Club in Liverpool in 1999 - on December 13th, 2010.

P.S. - "Blackbird" and "Back in the U.S.S.R"? Best performances of the night.

Who can figure out what makes this photo so rad? Yes, it has to do with the fact that that is Paul McCartney's hand and yes, that it's Paul McCartney's acoustic guitar, but that's not it.

It doesn't, however, have to do with the quality of the photo - pocket cam night for sure.

Photo: Paul McCartney/Apollo Theater/Harlem, New York, NY/12.13.10

Friday, December 10, 2010

6:07 a.m. Wednesday morning, I walk out of my friend's apartment. My brown-leather, jane-stitch boots stop at the door saddle right before I step into the 29° chill that is Cambridge, Massachusetts. My hands find my in-ears in my left pocket. One ear, two ears.


The boots step out of the door, up the stairs and make a right to what I soon notice as east. With the first beat of Jose Gonzalez's version of "Heartbeats", my iPod reads my mind. At that moment, I'm very glad to be walking toward the light with my little red rolling suitcase rather than away. For some reason, the cold makes it that much prettier... as if everything, except me, is moving slower due to the frigid air.

After all, I was dressed for work and had a train to a bus to catch straight back to Madison Square Garden. I have places to be, things to do, but as I approach the steps to the train station, I slow my steps to play the song one more time.

And then proceed to fall down the stairs. Head over suitcase.

When I reach the bottom, I sit there for a second and pause to think about how I've been living my life in those past two days. In the past two months. In the past two years. All to the sounds of Jose Gonzalez's version of "Heartbeats".

I pick myself up with a big grin, a chuckle and a shake of my head. My life couldn't have been more perfect in that moment. With a tap of my Charlie Card at the gate, back to South Station, back to New York I go.

I have way too much fun by myself. I wish I could say that it's becoming a problem.

Various lighting set-ups (halogen in this particular shot), a dozen roses, a glass of wine and a Lensbaby macro kit.

Macro kit courtesy of Mr. Tim Parsaca.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Whenever TP asks me to bring my camera to work, I know that adventure is going to ensue whether it's climbing to the roof of my favorite building in New York, climbing to the highest point in New York or perhaps just climbing over road cases to photograph Bono taking a snooze amongst the gear in the expo (missed that one, but... lesson learned).

December 1st, 2010 was no different.

The last time I had been to the top of this building was with the Beach Boys, haha and let me tell you, it was a little bit of a different experience this time around. But let's be serious. You can only climb to the top of the Empire State Building with the Beach Boys soooo many times.

Anywho, the above photo is precisely what thousands of people take multiple elevators to the top to see, to feel, to experience. Really, it's something that everyone, who remotely cares about what man has created during his time on Earth, should see. The asphalt jungle*. Years of growth, hand by hand, brick by brick. This elevated perspective grants, in its most ironic sense, the rare and quite literal view of the forest for the trees.

The funny thing about this town is that for most people, it's actually harder to truly see the trees than it is to know that there is a forest. That old building you walked by in Alphabet City last night serves the forest just as well as a moss as the more grandiose structures do as the Redwoods. Manhattan as an identifiable, functioning ecosystem with species and subspecies of artificial, yet intricately designed life.

It was freezing and it was windy, but again I find myself saying, there's nowhere else on the planet I would have rather been at that moment.

*I'll take 1950s film noir for $500 please, Alex.

Considering a revisit to this train of thought in the morning, so expect alterations and additions to come.

I couldn't help but snap a shot of my cliche, but personal favorite piece of late 1920s architecture.

Photo: Chrysler Building (1930) photographed from the Empire State Building's Observatory on 12.1.10

Now how about this for some perspective...

To me, this is probably a more poignant shot than any of those preceding it. It's not as glamorous. It's not as aesthetically pleasing. It's not as colorful. And in it's lines? It's not close to as grand.

What it is though, is the highest point in New York City. Yes, yes, the shots looking down upon the lights, the cars, the buildings, the rivers, the bridges are lovely, but why does one have a desire to be at the top of the Empire State Building?

Because it is the highest point in New York City and you are looking at it.

It is important in cinema. It is important in literature. It is important in history.

It is important as an icon.

Most people find themselves at the Empire's Observatory to look down and wonder, but I find it much more fascinating to look to the top of the spire, which was at one time, the top of the man-made world.

Just brilliant.

Photo: Empire State Building/12.1.10

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Thanks to my dear friend, Jessy Qussar, I got to cross off bucket list item #984:

"Watch Ozzy Osbourne perform 'Crazy Train' and a variety of other hits from a suite at MSG"

My assessments? What a crazy old fellow he is. In fact, so crazy and old, I prefer all of my shots of his drummer.

Photo: Tommy Clufetos, Ozzy Osbourne's drummer, performs at Madison Square Garden on December 1st, 2010.

Tommy Clufetos, Ozzy Osbourne's drummer, performing at Madison Square Garden on December 1st, 2010.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

No, the parade isn't for everyone, but if you're going to do it? Do it proper.

Personally, I love the parade. Very grateful for this city and all the incredible moments it offers.

Photo: The Thanksgiving Day Parade arrives on the Macy's Star in front of Macy's on 34th Street in New York City on November 25, 2010.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I would like to thank Mr. Elliot Winick of Winick Productions and Detective Joe Bunster of the NYPD's Midtown South Community Affairs Council for the opportunity to stand on 34th Street with my family, right in front of the Macy's Star, to continue a life-long Thanksgiving tradition.

As a kid, I distinctly remember wondering what it would be like to stand in front of the performers and look up at the larger-than-life balloons.

So Gentlemen, thank you for a delightful morning.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Whether you are watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from home or standing behind some bike rack on 34th Street, you can be sure that all of those cheerleaders, Rockettes and square dancers are freezing their behinds off as they wait for the act/float ahead of them to finish.

And you know what, those ladies are doing a pretty good job of staying happy.

Who doesn't like celebrities on floats at festive parades?!

Top photo: Gladys Knight
Middle photo: Joan Rivers
Bottom photo: Jimmy Fallon

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

There was a weakling man
Who dreamed he was strong as a hurricane
A ship in a bottle set sail
He took a deep breath and blew across the world
He watched everything crumble
Woke up a weakling again...

Dave Matthews Band/Madison Square Garden/New York, NY/11.12.10

Some might tell you there's no hope in hell just because they feel hopeless,
But you don't have to be a thing like that.

Dave Matthews Band/Madison Square Garden/New York, NY/11.12.10

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wash out this tired notion that the best is yet to come...

Dave Matthews Band/Madison Square Garden/New York, NY/11.12.10

It took me 15 years to stand in that spot.

Dave Matthews Band/Madison Square Garden/New York, NY/11.12.10

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dave Matthews Band/Madison Square Garden/New York, NY/11.12.10

Dave Matthews Band/Madison Square Garden/New York, NY/11.12.10

Thursday, November 11, 2010

When I come home from work, I like to take a bit of time to take my brain from Cirque and move it to either my current read or... the greatest channel on Earth.

The other night, I flipped on Palladia around 11:00 p.m. to find selections from Glastonbury 2005, including the above Coldplay performance of "Fix You". While I'm not really enamored with attending festivals, I love building festivals. On top of that, Coldplay certainly doesn't make my top ten must-see bands, but their LD and pyro guys always knock it out of the park.

I just sat there and watched this thinking, "This is why I do this. I've done this exact set and am just as stoked now as I was standing stage left then. Look at how happy those people are. Look how beautiful this is."

But what is it that makes it so spectacular? Light, sound and atmosphere designed to the very last detail - straight from the musician's brain, to the sound engineer's console, to the lighting designer's vision, to the pyro guy's need to blow things up at the appropriate moments.

Creating art, which creates moments, which will create a memory of a distinct emotion that will never be replaced. That's why I do this.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I paid $40,000 to be a Penn State cheerleader and to have Steve Manuel tell me that I maybe should consider photography as a career option. I'm finally coming to grips with the fact, that perhaps, it was money well spent.

Look at that room. Look at the remaining half of Roger's rig - wall included.

Steve Manuel, wherever you are, I graciously send my best.

Roger Waters' load-out/Madison Square Garden/New York, NY/11.6.10

Monday, November 08, 2010

If you haven't figured this out already... I love my job. I love the people with whom I work. I may not have much of what most consider a conventional social life - but I guarantee that my definition of social covers more areas than the accepted definition.

No, I don't have a conventional boyfriend, no I don't have a conventional group of girlfriends, no, I don't have a conventional boss. And for some reason, people feel bad for me. For the record, it is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

My job is live music. My job is photography. My job is travel. My job is Madison Square Garden. My job is New York City. I made up this job. I created it out of paper clips and glass. And if there's something I don't like about it; it is my own damn fault.

And still I hear:

"You work seventeen-hour days?! They better be paying you well." "Oh, it must be so hard to date." "You had to do what?" "Don't you ever get lonely?" "Why don't you have any normal pictures on Facebook?" "How does your life work?" "You don't make any sense." "Did you go to school for this?" "I haven't seen you for two weeks... and I live with you." "You're so distant." "How are you ever going to have a family?" "You can't do this forever."

Gosh darn it, people. Whether you've been paying attention to this blog for four years or for four days, you may note the content as somewhat unique. There was no major, there was no internship, there was no grad school. There is, still, just a lot of ambition, imagination and a desire to accomplish by creating my own rules instead of taking someone else's rules as the be-all, end-all, God-given path to success. Sure, it would be nice to add some normal human elements, but I wouldn't trade any of this for the world, because in my estimation, I have the world.

It's funny how things change though. Once upon a time, I thought I had the world. My definition was very different, but equally as important. I was determined not to give it up, but in the end, I did. Very curious how those things happen. Did you have to leave one world to get to the other? Can you be in both worlds at once?

Can I be watching Roger Waters for the 2nd time, camera in hand, at MSG and have someone beside me who is equally as ecstatic to be there for a repeat performance?

Of course, of course, of course. Don't be ridiculous. Who doesn't want to see The Wall?

Photos: Roger Waters/Madison Square Garden/New York, NY/11.6.10

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Joe Ragosta of Patent Pending/The Delancey/CMJ Festival/New York, NY/10.22.10

I'm on a bus (again) back from a delightful Halloween weekend in Cambridge. Doesn't have anything to do with the above photos, but I need something to do on this trip since all of my attempts to stream the Steeler game have failed and my current read is sitting on my nightstand in NYC. You could say that I was a little drunk the night prior to departure, making my packing skills uhhh... a little less than adequate. Yes... sans book, but I did remember my costume, so I guess in the long run, that's a win.

What did I learn this weekend? That I like Harvard in the fall. Yes, yes, that's what I learned.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cymbal shot in-between bands at the Delancey's CMJ showcase on Friday night.

Umm, so I wish I could tell you who this is and what band he fronts, but I can't. I was shooting a CMJ showcase at the Delancey on Friday night and was deliriously ill. All I know is that that wasn't the band I was there to photograph, but I like the shadow.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gig: The 19th Annual Baron Investment Conference

Call Time: 2:00 a.m.

Venue: Lincoln Center

Theaters: The Metropolitan Opera House, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall and the David H. Koch Theater

Acts: Bon Jovi, John Mellencamp, Diana Ross and Kelli O'Hara

Photo: Kelli O'Hara performs in the lobby of the David H. Koch Theater, home of the New York City Ballet and the New York City Opera, during the 2010 Baron Investment Conference held on October 22nd. (Again, please pardon the crappy pocket-cam).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I was skeptical. Phoenix at the Garden?? Are you serious?? And who are their support acts? Uhhh Waves and Dirty Projectors?? Give. Me. A. Break.

Seeing that this show was part of the CMJ Festival (NYC's version of SXSW annnd my craziest time of the year), I was going to hold off on my remarks until I actually saw them play in a venue of this capacity. I am going to admit, however, that I did leave my little fourth floor desk in the belly of MSG - almost directly below the arena floor - at about 7:00 p.m. to go home, have a glass of Bordeaux and come back for Phoenix's set, caring less about the openers. Quite rare for me to not show love for the opening bands, but I just couldn't stomach this one.

Now, whilst I finish my wine, let's flash back to 2002, driving around in my friend's car. Seniors in high school. I decide I want to test out this cool new band on him. Alt-rock. From France. Called Phoenix.

Album: United
Track #4: "If I Ever Feel Better"

All I got from him:

"Sounds like Jamiroquai."

"Oooook," I say, "back to Ja Rule it is." (As I chuckle to myself, I hope you all realize that was a joke.)

Annyway, fast-forward to 2009. Phoenix releases Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. They play hard on the festival circuit. People go bananas! Bookers go bananas! All the sudden, you are not cool if Phoenix isn't on your radar.

Fast-forward again to October 20th, 2010. While it was clear that they sure as heck weren't used to the rules of this type of venue, I must say that they carried its size in their performance. I had only planned on staying for four or so songs to see if they could hold their own. That was, of course, until I got word that Daft Punk was going to be their guests for the encore.

"I guess I can wait until midnight to eat dinner..." was my first thought. My second was, "This is going to be rad."

Aside from the inevitable goodness that was to happen during the encore, mid-way through their set, they projected a planetarium graphic onto the ceiling. Which. Was. Awesome. A concert under the stars, but you're inside? I wish all bands did that in arenas.

And now, one more fast-forward to the encore. What song did they play with Daft Punk? Ahhh yesss... I believe it was...

"If I Ever Feel Better"

Life is a series of very interesting and amusing coincidental circles. In that moment, Phoenix and I came full-circle and I boogied my little heart out.

Photos: Pardon the crap pocket-cam shots.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pavement/Williamsburg Waterfront/Brooklyn, NY/9.19.10

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley and, in this case, of Jenny and Johnny performing at the Williamsburg Waterfront in Brooklyn, NY on 9.19.10.