Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How I almost didn't get to photograph the ONE band I really wanted to see at Lollapalooza.

How I almost didn't get to photograph the ONE band I really wanted to see at Lollapalooza.

I've seen Jane's Addiction in many incarnations, from the original line-up in a gym and then their farewell appearance at my first Lollapalooza in 1991. I saw that first reunion go-round with Flea on bass and realized something very basic was missing. I mean, it was still sorta Jane's, but not 100%. The reunions always seemed to be more laid-back than my memories of the band I saw in my younger years. I always wondered if it was just because the guys were older or if, sans Eric Avery, they were just missing a vital component of their chemistry.

Having been shut out of a few photo pits for Lollapalooza headliners over the years I was carrying a healthy skepticism that I would make it into shoot Jane's Addiction. I spent all weekend pestering the promoters and security guys for any news of last minute restrictions, and they all graciously shared whatever up to the minute info they had. As of Sunday late afternoon I had a good idea that I would be able to shoot the set, I just didn't know when they would let us in or how long we would be allowed to shoot for. To be honest, one song was all I wanted, and I'd be happy.

So now it's showtime! The photographers in line are moving in to the pit! And, suddenly, we stop. And are told that at the last second security was told only 30 photographers were going to be allowed in. My heart sank. I did something I've never done which is personally ask a security guard to make an exception. He said he couldn't, annd he felt bad, and I realized he was of course right.

So I made the best of a bad situation. I wormed my way into the crowd and got as close to the stage as I could, promising the folks behind me I'd be gone in two minutes. I got what I could, thanked the folks for sharing their space with me, and then worked my way out of the crowd, stopping briefly to say hi to a new friend I had made the night before.

I was on my way to meet back up with GalPal when I noticed they were suddenly letting another wave of photographers into the pit! I was on my way in! Almost there! And then ... wham, they cut the line off again. I was crushed all over again and just stood there for a second bemoaning my luck. Someone must have been smiling on me though because it was then one security guard caught my eye, one i hadn't even spoken to that day but must have seen me getting those constant updates. He caught my eye, and told the guy manning the line that I was O.K. The next 15 or so minutes are a mild blur since I spent the time trying to get the best shots I could while basking in the white hot attack of the band.

And the band was the group I remember from 1991. It was definitely true that without Eric Avery they just aren't Jane's Addiction. Some of that magic just isn't there. And while I heard plenty of rumors about how the band members were communicating with each other (or not) on this tour, the four guys on stage looked perfect together. It was the set I hoped my girlfriend, who had never seen Jane's play, would see. It's the way I remembered the band at their height and it was glorious.

And I've got the pictures to prove it.

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