John Lydon, Glen Matlock, Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols, on their ‘Filthy Lucre’ tour, in concert at Glasgow SECC, in Glasgow, Scotland, 1996.
So The Sex Pistols did a reunion, the ‘Filthy Lucre’ tour, and it was coming to Glasgow, to the exhibition centre. It seemed worth going along, get a pass, see the infamous John Lydon, Glen Matlock, Steve Jones. The Sex Pistols.
For the photographers in the ‘pit’ you knew the gig was going to be anarchy, no holiday in the sun. So the night came and into the pit we went, and the stage was way up there above us. We were practically shooting vertically upwards. The only way to get a decent shot was to go as far back in the pit as possible, so we had the crowd of aging punks two inches behind us. Great. Time to put your hoods up snappers, as the phlegm and spittle descended and the Sex Pistols sang their vitriol.
A colleague was shooting on Canon autofocus then, and that night I was still on my manual focus Nikons. But as we came out and walked across the car park discussing our shots, I swore about the speed of Lydon strutting around and me trying to keep him in focus. I swore to myself to ditch my Nikons and to get Canon autofocus. And I did. And I never looked back.
Noel and Liam Gallagher of Oasis, on the ‘Be Here Now’ tour, in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1997.
Oasis. Brit Pop. It was a great time. Oasis were the men of the moment, and you could never have too many Oasis, Liam, and Noel Gallagher, photographs.
First time I photographed them was at T In The Park. There were in one of the smaller tents, 4th on the bill, not even headlining. But already they had a huge audience. Someone told me to shoot Oasis, they’ll be big. So I went along to the tent, and the place was crazy busy. Hot, steamy, packed. And Oasis came on and rocked the place, and I shot it on transparency film. Those were the days of transparencies. Nervous exposures at gigs.
I went on to photograph them another few times, they were never dull. You were always assured a picture. I remember at one gig the PR person warning us photographers not to put our lenses on the edge of the stage as Liam will kick them off. Never a dull moment with the Gallaghers.
American poet singer/ songwriter Patti Smith in concert at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1996.
I was never a huge Patti Smith fan, other than owning ‘Horses’, but way back in those days, the late ’90s I’d go an photograph anyone. Patti Smith in concert, yeah I’ll take a photo pass for that please. It was at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, not the best of locations for a gig or to photograph a gig. Me and Wattie Cheung, one of the hardest working snappers in Scotland, were there. If I remember correctly we were way off to one side, and the light was poor, and not attractive lighting at that.
Patti Smith read some poems, sang some songs, and sat on the amp to take her shoes off. For Wattie and me it was meant to be the usual ‘first three songs and out’, but somehow we got to stay. And because the night was young, down into the crowd we went…
American singer songwriter, the ‘Godfather of Soul’- James Brown in concert at Glasgow, in Glasgow, Scotland, 1998.
Way back when, my pal had a girlfriend, and they had tickets to go see James Brown in concert. Then my pal didn’t have a girlfriend and suddenly I had a ticket to go see the Godfather of Soul in concert. I also had a photo pass, as did my pal. So we went along, down the front of the stage. It was a good location, the stage was low, we were right there, practically on the stage. First three songs, no flash, but that was fine it was bright enough. James Brown came on, did his thing, got on up. It felt good.
The first three songs finished, I forget what they were, if I even knew them to begin with. Security gave us the nod and we were escorted out. And then we ran. Back to the car, drop our gear, our cameras into the back of the car. And then run back in, this time clutching our tickets. And up to the seats up in the Gods. And from there we watched as James Brown strutted his stuff, got wrapped in an American flag, falls to the floor, back up….
Beth Gibbons and Portishead in concert at Glasgow Barrowlands, in Scotland, in 1997.
Portishead were riding high on their success. Their ‘Dummy’ album was everywhere. Their tours were infrequent, and somehow I got a pass for this rare Glasgow concert. Not even sure if it was an assignment, probably not. The gig was dark and their were twinkiling lights at the back of the stage. Beth Gibbons, spotting me down in the photographers/security pit, gave me the ‘finger’ for no apparent reason other than I was a photographer down in the pit. Charming.
I kind of went off the idea of buying their CDs after that.