In remembrance of his passing 1-year ago today, I received the family OK to release my photos from the private Mike Starr memorial held last year at Level 3 in the the Seattle EMP! It was a HUGE honor to be the only person allowed in with any photo or cell phone device to document the memorial exclusively for the family. Enjoy and remember Mike & all those others that have left us way too early from our Seattle Music Community! VIEW EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS HERE.
Finally getting this blog up after like a week & a half of being sicker than a dog with tons of photo editing to do. Two straight nights out with Megadeth, in two countries, that's a first in my book. Ok, its not so hard when we're talking Abbotsford, BC (Canada) and Kent, WA (USA) but not many concert photographers can probably state that, ha! The 2012 edition of the Dave Mustaine created Gigantour featured a monster lineup from around the world! England's Motorhead, Denmark's Volbeat, Italy's Lacuna Coil and of course America's Megadeth!
Abbotsford, BC (Canada) - Cold and rainy Canada. I went over the border at the wrong location but found my way to the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre thanks to the Jeep’s GPS. Glad I didn't get up there any earlier than a hour before show time cause the passes didn't arrive to the front box office till 10 min before doors opened. Luckily, I ran into my fellow rock photographer friend Neil Lim Sang and his Motorhead crew buddy got us in the doors so we could make the Lacuna Coil set in time. It started 1/2hr after doors opened. Otherwise we wouldn't of made it waiting in the huge line to get in. What cracked us up the most as we got to the photo pit was we had an individual photo pass for each band and that didn't include our VIP passes! Megadeth's photo pass alone was a huge 8x6 inches!! I gotta hang with Megadeth Webmaster Dave McRobb and his gang at the soundboard during the show. That was cool! Later I met up with my buddy David Ellefson backstage after the show.
Kent, WA (USA) - Another cold but really windy day. Fans in line welcomed open doors when the ShoWare finally opened an hour before show time unlike Abbotsford where it was only a 1/2hr. So Lacuna Coil got a decent early crowd for this show. Overall a better show I thought for all the bands. Megadeth mixed their set list a little from the previous night. I really like the Kent ShoWare Center for shows! Both me & my wife Stephanie got to shoot this show so it was easier for me not to worry too much about coverage. I was all over the place in the arena and she covered whatever I couldn't. I ran into so many KISW Rock-A-Holics saying ‘hi’ there I nearly lost my voice by nights end. Hilarious walking right into Lemmy on my way from backstage to photo pit. We chatted for a second. Last year we had some fun filming at the Showbox Sodo for Duff McKagan's movie and bassist Jeff Rouse's movie skit. Lot more photographers at this show than the night before. After the show, we went backstage with local 15yo artist Jason Kertson and we gotta hang with David Ellefson & Dave Mustaine for awhile which was great. Mustaine has been mentoring/managing Jason and his band The Immortals this past year.
Lacuna Coil - With only a 6 song set to open the shows, the band really had to make a statement with the slow filling crowd which only had the arena at about 40% full. Slamming through a set list of Our Truth/Upsidedown/Fragile/Kill the Light/Trip the Darkness & Spellbound each night, Lacuna Coil nailed it all! The dual female/male vocals from Cristina Scabbia & Andrea Ferro was great! The band can explore many musical textures within their rock.metal musical context with two vocalist! Cristina was so intense yet had some fun moments with the crowd. Recently Lacuna Coil have been nominated for the Revolver Golden Gods “Best International Band” award - vote. Check out their latest video for "Trip The Darkness" at the bottom of this blog and visit the bands official website!
Volbeat - What was super exciting for me about Denmark's Volbeat is they had to add a guest guitarist in for the tour after Thomas Bredahl left the band. In his place was the legendary Mercyful Fate guitarist Hank Shermann! It’s been years since I've seen Hank play and he didn't let me down. It’d be nice to see Volbeat add him as a permanent member! I hadn’t really heard much music from Volbeat and I was blown away with their set! Great band and the songs are a mix of rock in roll, metal, rockabilly, punk and ______ (fill in the blank). The Johnny Cash tribute of "Sad Man's Tongue" got the place jumping but when they ended the night jamming Slayer's "Raining Blood" the place went crazy! Too bad it wasn't the whole song and not just the intro. Set list both nights were the same: A Warrior's Call/Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood/The Human Instrument/Sad Man's Tongue/Hallelujah Goat/Who They Are/Fallen/The Mirror and the Ripper/Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza/Still Counting/Raining Blood (Slayer cover) (Snippet, Intro only). You gotta check these guys out! http://www.volbeat.dk Check out their latest kick ass video for "A Warrior's Call" at the bottom of this blog! This track recently went #1 on the Active Radio Charts! A milestone in the U.S. with the band's first chart topping single!
Motorhead - "We are Motorhead and we play Rock in Roll!" 35 years on the road and it's still LOUDER than ever! How can Lemmy still hear?? The legend Lemmy, guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer extraordinaire Mikkey Dee rammed a quick 50 min set of Motorhead classics including "I Know How To Die" off the new album The World Is Yours. The set list both nights were the same: Bomber/Damage Case/I Know How to Die/Stay Clean/Over the Top/The Chase Is Better Than the Catch/The One to Sing the Blues(w/ drum solo)/Going to Brazil/Killed by Death/Ace of Spades/Overkill. One of the highlights of the show was Mikkey Dee's drum solo. One of the best in the business and the fire extinguisher smoke trick was so cool how the drum set evaporated the big smoke blast so quick. Its hard not to argue that Motorhead's ending 3 song set of Killed by Death/Ace of Spades/Overkill could be the best in the biz for a live show. Both nights the places just lost their minds! Motorhead just keeps kicking ass! Tomorrow March 5th, the Rockstar Mayhem Festival tour will officially announce Motorhead to the 2012 Main Stage right before Slayer on the bill!! So if ya missed them this time don't miss 'em this summer! Long live Lemmy! http://www.imotorhead.com
Megadeth - I've been blessed to work with Megadeth many times over the years and it's hard to imagine all these years later I would be saying in 2012 they are bigger and better than ever! My first Megadeth show was in August 3, 1985 at the Seattle Mountaineers Building with fellow Canadian greats Exciter! To support their 13th album release, (properly titled) "TH1RT3EN", the band on their Gigantour brought out an amazing stage lighting & video system and set list to knock all the fans head off. Only complaint I had was there were no songs from the 1st album Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good! Us super old-school fans are still here, but hey at least they mixed up a couple tracks from one night to another which a lot of bands never do. Is there any better guitar duo in metal than Dave Mustaine and Chris Broderick? I think not. They still blow my mind night in and night out with their playing.
Abbotsford, BC setlist - Trust/Foreclosure of a Dream/Hook in Mouth/Skin o' My Teeth/Head Crusher/Public Enemy No. 1/Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)/Guns, Drugs & Money/Ashes in your Mouth/Five Magics/A Tout Le Monde (with Cristina Scabbia)/Symphony of Destruction/Peace Sells/Holy Wars
Kent, WA USA setlist - Trust/Foreclosure of a Dream/Hangar 18/Sweating Bullets/Head Crusher/Public Enemy No. 1/Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)/Guns, Drugs & Money/Hook in Mouth/A Tout Le Monde (with Cristina Scabbia)/Angry Again/Symphony of Destruction/Peace Sells/Holy Wars
One of the funniest/greatest moments came at the Kent show. The night before I told my wife David Ellefson pulled out this amazing looking red/black Jackson bass (I guess he plays just for the show ending "Peace Sells & Holy Wars" on the tour). So I texted him jokingly to open the Kent show with that bass so I could get some close-up shots of it since we work a lot of my images into his online communities and Jackson guitar workings. Two minutes later I get a reply "I can play the Kellybird for the first song tonight for you then switch back to my silver one after that." Stephanie was like "No freakin way!" I was stoked and honored! Then to top it off after the opening song of "Trust" he waves off switching after the song and plays it for the first 2 songs!! Rock in roll moment for me! Check out the show photos and see how cool this bass is. I got to shoot the rest of the show from the soundboard so there are some cool full stage shots too! VIEW SHOW PHOTOS Even though the next tour won't be around the Seattle area it was announced - a co-headline tour with Megadeth & Rob Zombie is taking place in May! To stay up-to-date on all Megadeth happenings check out the amazing Megadeth website at http://www.megadeth.com
In other Megadeth news proud to announce another book release from my fellow rock photographer buddy Bill Hale! Due on March 13 via VH1 Classic Books, "Megadeth: Another Time, A Different Place", by Bill Hale with foreword by Dave Mustaine, gives the audience a front-row seat into the early days and meteoric rise of this young band who would become one of the most influential groups of all time and, with Anthrax, Slayer, and Metallica, consistently touted among the best "thrash metal" bands ever to cross the stage. Some of the early photos in this book are amazing to see. http://megadethanothertimeadifferentplace.blogspot.com
Also see some of my photography going to print in David Ellefson's upcoming book titled "Unsung" featuring original lyrics and images never before published with Megadeth! https://www.facebook.com/EllefsonUnsung