Saturday, December 15, 2012

Between Puerto Rico and the 121212 Concert a lot happened in the world. A lot happened in life. While I was not in the city for Sandy, I watched all of my photographer pals capture and transmit their images to the rest of the world. Couldn't have been prouder. I tipped my little felt Dororthy Parker hat to them for both myself and for Chris Hondros.

Tragedies have a way of bringing people together as a result of mind-blowing perspective change. In all reality, a strong motivating factor is the realization that horrible things could happen to you and your loved ones, just as you see them happening to other people on the news. And from there, compassion arises. Sympathy. Empathy.

As a reference point, I wrote about a related concept back in 2009 when walking by the 9/11 memorial one bitterly cold New York night. Truth be told, I still feel the exact same way. People need that perspective change, but why the catalyst's face is rarely a beautiful one, I will never totally understand. But that being said, you also have to remember that no matter how you spin it, the ugly catalyst creates a gorgeous end result, which then inspires further.

Take Harvey Weinstein and Jim Dolan for example. What do you get when you add Weinstein, Dolan and a major disaster? An epically billed six-hour concert at Madison Square Garden on a Wednesday night.

Gajllions of dollars are raised and 18,000+ patrons experience a night they will never forget in the name of a great cause. Ticket prices ranged from $25,000 to $150 a head and hey! if you are going to donate, might as well donate to get once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch Clapton, the Stones, the Who, Roger Waters, Paul McCartney, Eddie Vedder, Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Dave Grohl, Chris Martin, Michael Stipe, Alicia Keys, Kanye West and an unimaginable number of celebrities get up on stage to do what they do best. In Kanye's case... to delay the show, be annoying and wear a leather kilt. He was great!

As you can imagine, when this Weinstein/Dolan scenario occurs, there often isn't much time to create the actual event. Enter all the hardworking folks at Madison Square Garden and Diversified Production Services. Making the impossible possible. What they created in 3.5 weeks? Incredible.

Monday was the first moment I said, "Thank goodness for the lockout."

Every feasible space in that building was used. Rock gods had dressing rooms in hallways made of pipe and drape. Chris Martin and Michael Stipe SHARED the ice crew room (a room that has never been cleared in the history of the Garden). The weight room turned into a radio studio. The Knicks and Rangers locker rooms were turned into party spaces. Mick Jagger closed down the dressing room hallway (which also held McCartney, Joel, Clapton, Waters and Bon Jovi) mid-show to do his pre-stage wind sprints. Keith Richards took over the MSG production office for his smoking room. Our office became the Rangers' head coach's room. And wait, back up. Smoking?! In the Garden? Surely someone has gone mad. It truly was an "all-skate," as TP aptly put it. All in the name of Sandy. The destructive, natural energy of a tragedy transforming into an inspirational, man-made energy. The root of a great moment in rock history.

Energy. Neither created nor destroyed.

121212 pre-production - Road case nap (Top), Stage Left (Bottom)/Madison Square Garden/12.11.12