Monday, August 24, 2009

Green Day @ US Airways Center

I was not one of those kids (melodramatic fools) in the 90's who bought the Dookie album. I actually used to tease my friends who listened to it. It wasn't until later that I got into Green Day's music. Actually, I've still never bought an album, but I've borrowed and copied albums, and am pretty familiar with their work. I still find it amazing how they managed to survive the 90's, while a lot of their contemporaries couldn't. Playing US Airways Center really proves just how well they've survived it. They've managed to stay relevant to old listeners while even nabbing the young kids attention while they're at it. They've grown into a sort of American convention, the foremost easy-to-swallow punk band.

While I still enjoy the older songs and respect the band, they've sort of alienated me with "American Idiot". I understand there is a killing to be made in Bush-bashing, and a lot of people share their feelings... but one thing I can't stand is the flagrant use of politics in music. That's really the one thing that puts me off Green Day. But I'm not so shallow that I won't enjoy their other music, I just choose not to listen to those songs. And for the 2 songs I got to hear live, I had a great time.

I just barely got this gig... my editor at the New Times wanted to shoot this show pretty badly, but luckily for me, had a last minute plan change. The show was great! Sure, other writers have given them flack for their 'predictable' performance... running into the crowd, letting people strum their guitars, yelling the city name, getting a girl up on stage and letting her kiss Billie on the mouth... but you know, for people who aren't tired and crusty old veterans of rock concerts, these are the things that make those fan's life. These kinds of shows are epic, even from the back row. The girl I saw get plucked from the front and centre of the pit and brought on stage hugged, kissed, and got to talk to Billie Joe on stage AT THE CONCERT, in front of all her friends, in front of 20,000 people, in front of a mess of photographers, then Billie made her stage dive into the crowd. That girl will never forget this concert. Plus, it cost Green Day nothing to do it. I think more bands need to think about the fans more when they plan their shows. Maybe THIS is why Green Day are still kicking? Hmm hmm...

From the photog point of view... it was a pretty easy shoot. The lights were good... not all of the screens were on while we were shooting, which would have made the pics a little cooler... but the second song "Know Your Enemy" was extended into a 10 minute or so jam/audience participation song. So we got to take our time shooting. Again I had my trusty and brilliant Canon 5D MkII, my 20D old standby, and I swapped my 17-40mm f4 and a 100-400mm between the both. I got a wide spectrum of range, and I think, got some pretty great shots. This was a big show. Definitely a pic or two for the old portfolio.

Green Day's opener for this show was the fantastic Franz Ferdinand from Scotland. This is a band that I keep getting exposed to, and I tend to like them a little more each time. They put on a great a show, and seemed to please the audience.

Their sort of quirky pop alternative sound is appealing to me. It's just slightly different from everyone else, and it's got an air of fun and humor to it. I shot them first at Coachella, and they were great there. I hope they can keep it going!

PS. While waiting for the show to start, Tara Hitchcock (News Channel 3) walked in. She was kind enough to stand for a pic with me and a fellow photo. :)


Mitch said...

Hey Luke -- I was the guy that Billie Joe put his guitar on when he came into the crowd during "Know Your Enemy". Did you happen to get any pictures of that?


BlankImageArts said...

I did not, but check out I think the dude from there did. You got wear the guitar... how awesome was that?! Are you a big fan?

Mitch said...

Thanks, Luke. I did see the picture on and have been in touch with that photographer. I enjoyed your blog and pics. I am a big Green Day fan (not a fanatic though). Your blog nailed it -- that was the coolest thing that has happened to me in over 30+ years of attending concerts. Unfortunately, my wife and son couldn't make the show and my daughter and her friend were in the next section over at the same level and didn't have a great view of what happened. When he first put the guitar on me, I thought he wanted me to strum along with him, but when I started to do that, he told me not to touch the guitar (which I certainly understand). I keep checking youtube to see if someone posts video of it.

BlankImageArts said...

That's awesome man! Thanks for commenting... that's funny about the guitar. I would have done the same thing, like, "alright, let's play this thing!" That's funny that he said that.

Thanks for sharing!

Omar Roberto said...

Hey Luke! I'm really glad to have found yor blog.

I was kind of sad since the Phoenix New Times has your Pictures in ridiculously tiny resolution. And these are the best shots from that show in my opinion.

Any chance you may share this entire set with us? Pretty please?

You doand outstanding job,I really like your concert photos, congrats my friend.

BlankImageArts said...

Hey Omar, Just noticed your comment. Thank you! If I get a little more free time I can post some more pics. May be a few days tho.

Omar Roberto said...

Thank You Luke! That would be amazing!