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.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jenny and Johnny/Williamsburg Waterfront/Brooklyn, NY/9.19.10

IIIII don't really suppose this crowd was there to see Jenny and Johnny. Too bad though; this could have been an awesome photograph had these kids been going bananas.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pre-show at our 2nd to last concert at the Williamsburg Waterfront. Wave to the Empire State Building!

Photo taken 9.19.10

Thursday, October 07, 2010

There is no pain, you are receding;
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move, but I can't hear what you're saying.
When I was a child I had a fever,
My hands felt just like two balloons.
Now I've got that feeling once again;
I can't explain, you would not understand;
This is not how I am.
I have become comfortably numb.

I fell in love with "Comfortably Numb" when one of my friend's bands went through a phase where they regularly covered it at every gig they played. Of course it's a token song on the album, but the way Shea used to sing the chorus, man; I would get chills up and down my spine. It was incredible that on any given day, his love of and/or his identification with the song would make you want to belt it out with him or be entirely silent - an emotion so effortlessly projected.

Flash forward eight years to October 6th, 2010 at Madison Square Garden, fifteen rows back, watching Roger Waters sing it live.

I believe Jen Bilec said it best when she saw the show in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago:

"Comfortably Numb" made my arm hairs' mouths drop.

Photo: Roger Waters performing "Comfortably Numb" - image courtesy of

As I mentioned in various social-networking statuses yesterday, I actually had tickets, as a Pink Floyd/Roger Waters fan, to sit and watch Roger's latest version of his rock opera "The Wall" as an audience member, not a production nerd. So this means a few things:

1. I was not working
2. Jaded roadies were raving about this show - and jaded roadies never rave about anything, save two things, and trust me, shows are not one of the two things.
3. I cared enough about seeing an arena show that when fabulous seats from TP were generously offered, I immediately said yes.
4. I cared enough about an arena show to desperately want to sit through the whole thing.
5. I had no camera (see numero uno).
6. I had two tickets and immediately called my dad to see if he could hop a last-minute flight from Pittsburgh to New York.

While J. Harv was unable to ditch work, my trusty touring buddy and friend, Mr. Bryan Strickland was in town and ready to pick up the slack. (I know, I know, Dad... had it been Pete, you would have been there...)

And what did I learn? I should really just listen to jaded roadies. All the time... about everything...except maybe those two things.

I can't remember the last time I even told someone to go see a show - haha and I also can't believe that my recommendation is almost aggressive! Honestly, I am very selective on how I spend my time, but Roger Waters was absolutely worth 2.5 hours of my life. But that's all I'm going to say. You just really need to go see it.

Will I watch it again when he's back at the Garden for a 3rd date on November 6th? Yes and this time, I'm totally going to nerd out.

Image courtesy of

Monday, October 04, 2010

You can't really see them, but there is a string duet at the far end of the tunnel, one cellist and one violinist, providing beautiful sounds to the dusk passersby.

Architecture and Adagio, a brilliant sensory experience.

Also, I'd like you to please note that all three of these photos are from our most recent visit to Central Park. All of this... within a half square mile in less than two hours of exploring. No celebration, no holiday, no festival, no special occasion... just Saturday, just wonderful.

Central Park/9.18.10

Had I not been so cold, I would have sat there all night and photographed this giant-bubble-making machine. In fact, I plan on going back pretty soon with a fancy-pants lighting set-up to really get what I want. However, this is a decent start with uno speedlight.

Central Park/9.18.10

Stumbling into a free tango lesson in Central Park. What a stellar Saturday!

Central Park/9.18.10

Friday, October 01, 2010

I find it very fitting that my post for today, October 1st, 2010, is about a celebration of the people (and places) that make rock photography an important documentation of history and lifestyle.

Some of them are friends, some of them are icons, some of them are both.

So, happy two-year anniversary in this great city. Our relationship is very young, but I will always, always, always love it.

Photo: Bob Gruen photographs the opening of Julian Lennon's photography exhibit at the Bowery location of the Morrison Hotel Gallery on September 16th, 2010.

A night of some of my favorite people in my 2nd favorite place in New York, the Morrison Hotel Gallery on Bowery.

Top Photo: (L-R) Rock photog Bob Gruen, Elizabeth Gruen, Legs McNeil (um hello, dude who pretty much invented the word "punk" in regard to music... and there's so much more I'd like to say about him, but feel you should just look him up) and rock photog Mick Rock at Julian Lennon's photo opening at the Bowery location of the Morrison Hotel Gallery in New York on 9.16.10.

Bottom Photo: Sean Lennon, Yoko Ono and Julian Lennon at Julian's photo opening at the Bowery location of the Morrison Hotel Gallery in New York on 9.16.10.

Meeting Pattie Boyd was like meeting both George Harrison and Eric Clapton at the same time. Ever hear Harrison's "Something"? Or Clapton's "Bell Bottom Blues" or perhaps even "Wonderful Tonight?"

Oh and THEN there was that little number, what was it called... umm...

think, think, think...

Oh! Yes!



All of those songs, really, courtesy of the love each of those musicians had for this woman. All of them, but "Layla"?? Let's think about how it would feel to have been the one to inspire that song. Words, music, everything... just think about it...

I don't care if you prefer the rock-out electric version, the acoustic, unplugged version or really just dig the piano solo, but without Pattie Boyd, you wouldn't have the chance to sit with your friends and discuss, sometimes even fight about, the above on your Friday nights when someone flips "Layla" on the juke box.

And holy crap... I met Layla...

Photo: Pattie Boyd attends Julian Lennon's photo exhibit opening at the Morrison Hotel Gallery on Bowery on 9.16.10.