Friday, April 23, 2010

The Eagles @ US Airways Center

That magical sheen of being a concert photographer starts to wear thin when it seems like every big band that comes to town insists on placing you at the back of an arena to take photos to promote them. I can't really "complain"... but it gets boring, and I think "what is the point?"... these pictures end up sterile and uninteresting. They are made exponentially worse when the band is lit solely by spot light. Spot lights are so bright, that to be able to have decent exposure the camera is cranked way up... losing any of the interesting ambient glow from the gelled lights on stage, and any color they provide... and so harsh and unforgiving to the appearance of skin and hair, you have to wonder why the older acts prefer it??

All that nonsense aside... I was at the US Airways Center to photograph The Eagles. Meeting up with the bevy of other photogs, we started marching down to the floor around 7:45pm. We were shown to the sound board and given our orders... "Don't move farther forward than the sound board, don't get in anyone's way, and you can shoot the first four songs." At first, everyone was impressed by the fact that we had four songs worth to shoot... and once the show started... (at 8:40!!)... it was apparent that the Eagles were at least trying to give us SOME time with the cool lights they brought.

The first two songs were all white hot spot lights, the first being an a-capella four-part harmony driven song, which served as a nice way to introduce the band. The third song brought a bit of warm colors on front of stage, and some cool blue ambiance at the back of the set up. (I'm at a complete loss for song titles... as it turns out, most of the first songs were from the new record.) By the fourth song the band had some, if I'm honest, very cheesy artwork projected on the screen behind them, while Joe Walsh took on lead vocal duties. It wasn't very "interesting", but it at least brought some more color to the stage.

I find myself being overly critical of big bands lately. I think it's because I expect more out of them. I expect more thought to be put into the SHOW. I'm positive some of the people on the floor that night paid very decent money to see this band play. Why not wow them with more than just a catalog of old tricks and new songs they aren't into? When I shot the Muse show recently, I was amazed at the stage set up... there was no one in the arena that that left unimpressed. Granted, the Eagles can't, with a straight face, ascend from large LED-screened pillars in the ceiling with lasers and strobes all around them... but they could do more. Am I wrong?

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