Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tool @ US Airways Center

I was very excited to shoot Tool. I just knew it would be an awesome show, and I was bummed because I wouldn't be able to actually watch and enjoy it. But the other thing I knew was that Maynard doesn't like to be photographed live. I really don't know what the deal is. Maybe he just wants his privacy? Doesn't want everyone to know what he looks like? Who knows? Who cares? I've heard stories in the past about him singing behind a curtain for the first few songs... emerging after the photogs have left. You know... whatever. If you don't want the press, just don't let us in.

All that aside... They did put on a great show. Their fans look on them like gods. Not completely unjustifiably so. Tool really has created some epic albums. They've reached a multitude of fans across genres. Their very actual "melodic" metal/rock mixed with Maynard's unassuming kind voice makes it very accessible and easy to like. They definitely try to give back too, their shows are legendary... tons of lights, geometric shapes, and bizarre imagery. It really makes for an intense experience all around.

Sadly, very little of what I could tell would be an amazing lighting spectacle was photographed. We photogs were only allotted one song to shoot. Granted, that meant 8 - 10 minutes by Tool standards... but it really wasn't enough time. The lights were very subdued compared to what I know was coming. I could see lasers and mirrors set up at the front of the stage... this would have been awesome to shoot. But I take what I can get.

For the entirety of the first song, Maynard was at the very back of the stage, in what seemed like the only completely dark spot on the whole stage. Thankfully, he was standing in front of a video screen, so I could at least make out a silhouette. At the last second of the end of the song, a little bit of light graced his face and I was able to snap one or two quick pics.

On a technical note, the new 5D MkII performed exceptionally well! In fact, I think I would have been up a creek without it. While there were lots of lights ON, they were fairly dim. I did crank up my ISO to get a lot of the shots... and at the end I switched my 17-40mm out for a 100-400mm to be able to get a pic of Maynard, and had to max out the ISO to its full, unexpanded range of 6400. The photos aren't as amazing as I thought they could have been, but you take what you can get at a show like this. I'm just glad I didn't leave empty-handed.

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