Where to begin?
First off, still can’t believe this even happened.
George is a huge favorite of mine, sharing that throne with David Gray. His songs are brilliantly catchy, and to hear them live blew me away. I don’t think I stopped singing (when I knew the lyrics- he did two covers, one from Bob Dylan and the other was Macy Gray’s I Try).
So, to explain why my mom and I left for Colorado Springs at twelve the day before the concert.
Sony hosted a contest where all you have to do is post a photo you took of George to be his official concert photographer of whatever city you picked. Not a whole lot of people entered, because the rule was actually kind of weird. Given that I had never seen George live, I submitted a picture of David from last month. Somehow I won, and I plundered downstairs after waking up to tell my mom.
She was skeptical but it all worked out. We threw stuff in our bags and left, leaving behind important necessities like extra shirts and pjs. My older brother lives in CO Springs, so it’s not like we were traveling to the venue with only one motive- we also stayed with him and hung out during his lunch break at work.
I checked in and received a photo pass and figured out what I was supposed to do when George came on. The pit was basically a sliver of space between a barrier from the audience and the stage. I was only allowed access during the first three songs, which I later learned is a policy for all photographers for most venues. The place was tiny and people crowded, so it was hard to find a good spot to watch the opening acts. But we could definitely hear the music, the speakers were enormously loud.
The acts finished and I start panicking/getting mega excited. I was going to be in front of all these people, in front of George, in a red plaid shirt that seemingly blended in with the dark, taking pictures. The biggest photo job I’ve ever had. I had to use the action camera Sony sent me to videotape the first song, Cassy O. The crowd boomed when he walked out and my heart exploded. He was so beautiful and happy and beaming. I wished I didn’t really have to video the song, because I focus more on pictures, like I’d rather someone else was holding the tape while I shot away.
Then George begins Stand By Your Gun, and I go into full camera mode. He is a phenomenal performer. Very charismatic, very appreciative of the people that attended. Before each song he would explain the background of it, the inspiration. I was a little annoyed that I only had one lens and about ten minutes left, but I realized if I brought another I would use valuable time changing out the lens. If only the 50mm wasn’t at a fixed length…
His last one for me to shoot was Listen to the Man, which was a swooner. At this point I was demanding time to slow down, let me have one more song, to see him that close was incredible. I loved all of his little breaths in between lines and jokes about sleeping in to miss the train and parents not necessarily wanting to be there, they’re only there for their kids.
I had to leave the pit and evidently had to put up my camera, but I squeezed in a few more shots. I recorded the audios on my phone, as I did for the past three DG concerts, and I remembered I could technically film on the action camera. The quality isn’t the greatest, but the music is pretty clear. The whole drive home I was terribly anxious to see the result since I didn’t have a place to upload the files while I was still in town. I couldn’t even see a video on the screen of the thing, and I didn’t know how my angles were, but it turned out fine.
Barcelona and Spectacular Rival are my top favorites, and thankfully I had enough battery to film/audio it. They’ve been playing back and forth the whole time I was editing. And actually, editing wasn’t too bad. I started at 10 last night and didn’t finish until 5 am, but I mainly airbrushed the background to get rid of noise and added a filter to some. I worked on maybe 80-90, and about 20 made the cut for me (a lot of them were repetitive but it’s better to have too many than hardly any).
The setlist, as I can vaguely remember in order, goes like this:
Cassy O// Stand By Your Gun//Listen to the Man//Girl in Northern Country//Leavin it Up to You//Blame it on Me//Spectacular Rival//I Try cover//Barcelona//Budapest. He ended there, but the crowd lured him back for an encore by screaming and applauding for six minutes. He added on Blind Man in Amsterdam and Did You Hear the Rain?
In summary to this long post, I love British men and music. Seeing George and being that close is probably my favorite accomplishment photography wise so far.