I got the call about a week before the show asking if I would be interested in being the band photographer for the one and only The Offspring when they hit the stage at the Montreal Bell Centre on November 4th on their Let The Bad Times Roll tour.
I have covered the band a few times in the past, but usually as media. Getting the chance to have all access (including stage access) for a band that has shaped early pop punk and was a soundtrack to your youth, well, let’s just say it doesn’t come around every day.
I was to meet up with their touring videographer Josh Kim. The best way to sum up Josh, having never met him before, is probably the most welcoming and easy going guy in concert creative content. He helped me get an issue with my pass sorted, took the time to show me where things were, intros to the tour manager.
One of the great things about The Offspring‘s current tour is the focus on the fans and use of socials. They hide t-shirts around the venue and drop hints were to find them. They upgrade fans up to VIP tickets. They even drop gifts from an indoor blimp during intermission. I was told that pre-show is just as important for content as the actual show.
The rules of the day were getting a mix of photos for the band’s socials as well as some video clips for Josh. I spent time going up and down stairs, on the stage for the some key moments (cell lights on in the crowd are always awesome). A great workout.
There is a bunch of run and gun when shooting for a band as you have limited time to get a maximum number of shots. I sent in over 100 unique shots of their short set. The band was a bit more picky about where I was needed than most bands are, and that is totally fine. They are paying the bill, they chose what they get. I had to be at front of house for 4-5 songs to capture stills and clips a few times during the show, including the intro and the final bow. Not too many go throughs in the pit.
While concert photography can be seen as forgiving (you missed the jump shot? No worries, you have plenty of others), when photographing for a band with specifics to get, you have no real excuse not to get the content. You need to know songs, keep count, be in the right place at the right time, not always knowing when that will be. While you can get cues, they aren’t always on time.
I end up carrying most of my gear on me, which were 2 bodies, 3 lenses, cards and batteries. Backup stuff is kept backstage.
My only issue? Their set was just over 1h15, always too short when you are having a great time.