Wednesday, October 21, 2009

U2 @ Cardinal Stadium

Going into this, I knew right off that without a doubt... this is the biggest show I would ever see. There is no one bigger than U2. Their shows are always a huge ridiculous event. This show was no different. Absolutely epic!

I remember thinking when they built Cardinal Stadium (University of Phoenix Stadium)... that only two bands could possibly play there... The Rolling Stones and U2. There is reason a for it. Huge! These bands don't do anything small. The stage that U2 brought was insane! They call it the "Claw", and you can see why. Its a treacherous and bewildering creation. It stretched from one side of the floor to the other... and when it's not inside of a rectangle shaped football stadium, it is actually a 360 degree stage. There is giant video screen that wraps around the top of it, so it can be viewed from miles away... and there is a circular catwalk, accessible by moving bridges, that reaches well out into the crowd.

Walking out on to the floor for the first time, I couldn't help but feel like this was my first concert. I could argue that this was the first concert I've been to on this level. I actually took some video while I was walking to my shooting position. (I may post it shortly) Then once in position, all the other photogs were taking pictures and video of themselves as well. Everyone was equally blown away by where we were.

When the show started, it was just such a rush to see these people in person... Bono! The Edge! Crazy. It was so unreal that I didn't even notice what song they opened with. I was just so intent on getting the shots I needed.

The only thing I would say that could even be considered a 'let down', was the use of spot lights. Nearly the entire duration of the time I was allowed to shoot, the band was lit solely by spot lights... which just means, not the most exciting or interesting photos. But that aside, I had an amazing time. The show was just awesome. No one could possibly feel let down in the entire arena.

U2 more than any other band, I think, knows how to connect with the audience. It's pretty obvious when you consider the gigantic venue they played. But the way they deliver themselves to the crowd each tour, it's always new and exciting, and original... and they make damn sure they can get close to as many people as possible. Either by enormous video screens, and massively long catwalks. No one is doing it like them. And that's why they are at the top.

Plus a catalog jam packed with hits doesn't hurt.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fit For Rivals "Damage" Video Shoot - Day 3

Wednesday, the final day of shooting! We arrived at our location around 9am and started to unload. We had a giant warehouse type room to shoot in for the band performance part of the video. I think everyone was excited to see this video wrap. We already had so much amazing footage, it was time to finish it off and bring in the band.

Thomas and Renee had been in town all week, but Jesse and John arrived with Ronnie Winter, lead singer of Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, on Tuesday night. This meant just a short time of hanging out and eating before an early bed time. After a long van ride to AZ with no A/C, I think the band was ready for sleep, but hungry to rock the next morning.

After the initial load in and set up of all the equipment, shots went relatively quickly. There were a few dolly and jib shots that took time to set up, but once those were done, the day went smoothly.

Jon Wilkes was on set to play drum tech and deaden the sound of the cymbals and toms as much as possible during playback. We had a really good time this day, the band got to cut loose and just concentrate on their performance. No more uncomfortable or tricky shots for Renee either… just a day of rocking out on camera.

In between some changes in set up, I managed to sneak in a quick photo shoot with the band. I really wish I had more time to spend with them. There were a lot of ideas we had for photos… but the time just went by so quick. I did manage to get a few shots I’m really happy with tho.

A little known fact: Ronnie Winter can perform a solid Hadouken.

By the end of the 13 hour day, everyone was exhausted. Water bottles and aluminum cans littered the set… guitars and cymbals were covered in blood… strings were slashed apart… and everyone involved was noticeably worn. But we were all in a good mood.

While watching playback of the dailies on set, we knew we had another day of amazing footage. Everyone was very impressed with all involved. The crew was awesome, ready to tackle any jobs that came up… Brenna’s make up made the band really pop on camera… the location was great for the aesthetic… and the band nailed it. Now it’s just down to Gus and I to shuffle through hours of footage and cut it down to an epic 3-minute video.

Thanks to everyone who helped out on set as extras and as crew

Cast and crew for day 3 of shooting:

Renee Phoenix - Lead Singer
Thomas Amason - Guitar, Producer
Jesse Carroll - Guitar
John Hartman - Drums
Ronnie Winter - Bass, Producer
Gus Holwerda - Director, Producer
Luke Holwerda - Director of Photography, Producer
Brenna Stephens - Hair and makeup
Jon Wilkes - Drum tech
Chris Herron - Producer, Crew / set construction
Brad Murren - Crew / set construction
John Clay - Crew / set construction
Joe Heinl - Crew / set construction

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