Thursday, 24 November 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting . . . Elvis Presley!!!!!



Probably wouldn't have even if I'd had the chance . . .

. . . oh alright, if I'd had the chance I probably would have gone to see Elvis perform live. And if I had, his photo would be amongst the other in this post.

But I didn't, and it isn't.

But I have seen many others (and even photographed some of them):

ELO, Steeleye Span, 10cc . . . . Led Zeppelin (February 16th, 1972, Subiaco Oval. Loud!!) . . . Deep Purple, Santana, Neil Young, the Pretenders, Tom Waites, Eric Clapton . . . .

Eric Clapton. Perth 2007. Copyright Sheldon Levis 2011

Bob Dylan . . . Frank Zappa, Hothouse Flowers, Paul Rodgers, the Kransky Sisters, Ry Cooder, the Bee Gees, Dan Sultan

Dan Sultan, appearing with the Black Arm Band. Fremantle 2008. Copyright Sheldon Levis 2011

 Cold Chisel, Joe Cocker, Yothu Yindi, Joe Jackson, Melanie Safka, Gurrumul Yunupingu, Leo Kotke, Crosby Stills and Nash,

David Crosby, of Crosby, Stills and Nash. Perth 2007. Copyright Sheldon Levis 2011

Stephen STills, of Crosby, Stills and Nash. Perth 2007. Copyright Sheldon Levis 2011

Graham Nash, of Crosby, Stills and Nash. Perth 2007. Copyright Sheldon Levis 2011

Elton John, Pearl Jam, Mike McLellan, Touchstone, the Dubliners, Doug Ashdown, Ralph McTell, Loudon Wainwright,

Loudon Wainwright. Fremantle 2008. Copyright Sheldon Levis 2011

 Sky . . . Black Sabbath . . . Manfred Mann, Chain, Billy Thorpe, Stevie Wright, Split Enz, Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter

the late Ruby Hunter with Archie Roach, as part of the Black Arm Band. Fremantle 2008. Copyright Sheldon Levis 2011

 Jethro Tull, Moody Blues, Fureys, James Taylor . . . Leonard Cohen . . . Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee, Daddy Cool, Eagles, Normie Rowe, Dragon, Ronnie Burns, Redgum, Shane Howard

Shane Howard, as part of the Black Arm Band. Fremantle 2008. Copyright Sheldon Levis 2011

Goanna, John Schumann, Richard Thompson, Paco Pena . . . Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) . . .Tom Petty (and the Heart-Breakers), Tracy Chapman, Jeff St John and the Id, the Pigram Brothers, Toni Childs, Max Merritt, Roberta Flack, Jeff Beck

Jeff Beck. Perth 2009. Copyright Sheldon Levis 2011

 . . . did I mention Led Zeppelin? Deep Purple? Dylan? Sabbath? Cocker? Cohen? Yeah, well, I have lost (through a very nasty burglary some years ago) more photos than I care to remember, but I have rebuilt a bit of a collection over the past few years.

Two things about this.

First thing: if you don't know any of these acts, tough. Your loss. I couldn't care less, so please don't bother commenting along those lines, I ain't listening

Second thing (but only if you promise to not tell anyone who works in the security business in Perth, Western Australia). Okay, here it is: I've managed to photograph many of the musicians above on my "professional-type" digital SLR. In fact, every photo in this post was taken by me, from regular paid-for-just-like-everyone-else seats, despite the efforts of some as described below. The original of every image shown here is sharp as a tack, and look bloody fantastic as large framed prints on mine and a lucky few others' walls.

Crosby Stills and Nash. Perth 2007. Copyright Sheldon Levis 2011

 So what? I hear some of you say. Gasp! I hear fellow West Australians splutter. You WHAT? from an ex-security staff

Well, I don't know about your part of the world, but here in Perth we have an entertainment-industry security commandment . . . under no circumstances are ordinary punters allowed to take photographs of musicians on stage

I think that means photos like this one . . . . and the others . . . . oh dear . . . .

Eric Clapton going acoustic. Perth 2007. Copyright Sheldon Levis 2011

The problem with such prohibitions is that they are often left behind . . . in the case, left behind by mobile phones with cameras.

Go to any concert now and as soon as the act begins, like the studio audience of a 1970s "live" music show, thousands of arms reach for the sky. However, unlike 1975, instead of waving side to side like hypnotised worms, today each upstretched arm is topped by a mobile phone or tiny point 'n shoot camera, showing small rectangles of light to all those behind. I must admit, an idiot popping off a camera-flash to get beautifully illuminated photos of the backs of heads in the three rows immediately in front of them is annoying, but nowhere as annoying as thousands of little rectangles of bright blurry blobs between you and the act for whom you paid substantial amounts of money to see (and photograph dammit, put your bloody arms down!!).

I've heard rumours of a nursing home on the outskirts of town, reserved for security staff and venue operators deeply damaged by the advent of mobile phone cameras. Can you imagine trying to stop thousands of people from taking photos at a concert with their mobile phones? Can you imagine searching people's bags for illicit drink and hidden cameras, knowing that every mobile phone is in fact a camera? Can you imagine trying to ban everyone from taking their mobile camera into a concert? Like I said, prohibition outflanked.

To save the sanity of those security folk still able to function, venues now ban "professional-type" cameras. This seems to mean anything that looks complicated or expensive, which in turn means you've got Buckley's of being allowed to take an SLR and lens into a concert. Which in turn means you're just not going to be able to get anything better than a mobile-phone photo, right? Well, I for one don't accept that, so I'll post soon on how to get high-standard photos of your favourite artists, despite the efforts of the security personnel sworn to prevent you from doing so . . . as long as you can get a clear view through the forest of phone-camera wielding arms.

Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Did you really take all those from normal seats.? Great work.