2010.11.05 Scottrade Center St. Louis, MO. – Two of my favorite things when it comes to concert photography that I Love. 1. Arriving to discover I’m the only shooter in the pit. 2. Shooting a band I’ve never photographed before, or seen live, and being blown away, feeling like I just saw something special. The Zac Brown Band (along with The Wood Brothers, and Casey Driessen), provided me just that. I can only imagine that 6 – 7 years ago, had I seen ZBB playing in a bar, to 100 people in Atlanta, GA., I would have seen a great band, playing great music, and the guys having the time of their life. Now they’re playing to tens of thousands, arenas, festivals, and with the exception of brighter lights perhaps, these guys make you feel like you’re in that bar, making a connection, still playing great music like it ain’t no big deal. 7 days prior to this, I shot the Roger Waters/The Wall tour. I wondered on that night if I was seeing the future of Arena concerts: A stage larger than anything on Broadway, explosions, set & costume changes, state of the art visual and audio design. When ticket prices are $100 plus, I guess you have to bring out the big guns to give people their moneys worth. As I was going through the ZBB shots the morning after the show, I kept having this silly thought, a Saturday Night Live like sketch, playing out in my mind. The ZBB have just signed their big record deal, they’re moving from the bar to the big time. Zac and the boys are at the big record company, sitting at a large shiny table, all the suit guys are there, a marketing team, hair and costume stylists, entertainment consultants, and a french dude they hired to be the road chef, named Pierre. So Zac.. here’s what we all agree’d on. You’re in the big leagues now, and it’s important we stay on course marketing our original vision of ‘New Country’. First, I need you boys to shave. We’ve specially designed these cowboy hats, made of glass, and you’ll all be wearing these. Your show will open as Zac is suspended over the audience, sparklers blazing from the bottom of your pants, made from imported silk, while you sing that song about your Toes. Then we have this giant inflatable Nascar racing beast on stage, with pyro shooting out the tailpipes, and laser beams as headlights…. you following me? After a dear in the headlights pause, Zac says, Well.. I think that’s pretty cool, but you might wanna pitch that to them Rascal fella’s, or Taylor Swift. I was thinkin’, I dunno, maybe as a backdrop, we’d have something like a curtain, with our band bame on it. Then throw down a rug, add a couple lamps on stage, then just kinda sing songs, and play our instruments. I think stripping it back down, and making the show more about the music, instead of crap blowing up in peoples faces, is the direction I want to go. Plus, a show like this would keep tickets at around an affordable $30. The executives gasp, and the VP says, ‘You guys will never make it in this business’. Welcome to the big time ZBB, and thanks for keeping it real. My only hope is, you are the future of arena concerts. Photo’s from the show after the jump.
Oening the evening were the excellent Wood Brothers, and Casey Driessen. Here are a couple from their sets.
The Wood Brothers