There are some harebrained schemes you come up with in life because you desperately want something. There are also schemes you formulate, just to see how far you can go—you want to test the boundaries.
While the former is often more romanticized, I’d argue that the spontaneity of a “let’s just see where this takes us” kind of endeavor can be exceptionally freeing.
With that in mind, let’s flashback a few months:
A friend and I met for drinks, and somewhere in our discussion the band Imagine Dragons was mentioned. “I like them,” I say, “but not enough to spend serious money on one of their upcoming concerts.” My new job was just beginning, cash was low, and while I’d enjoyed the band’s EP in 2012, I hadn’t even heard the new album.
“Agreed,” the friend replied (who shall remain a mystery to the internet, per her request.) “But…”
She had a thought. An intriguing thought.
For the next 15 minutes, we discussed how we could use her connections at a national magazine to get free tickets to this concert. What if she pitched the story to her old boss, as a freelance assignment? Don’t teeny-bobbers love this band? With approval, she could reach out to the PR people. Maybe they’d give us tickets—but why would she need two tickets? Ah, yes! Because I’m her photographer, of course.
I’ve got a camera.
I can take pictures.
Yes, it was a vague plan with many variables. But Friend made the pitch anyway.
Now flash forward to last Wednesday. I’ve all but forgotten about this concert, much less assumed I’d still be playing the role of professional photog. Yet, an adventure was in the making: Friend emailed me that night with conformation we had successfully secured tickets for [insert infamous teenage zine here].
First reaction: Yes! Free concert.
Second reaction: No! Don’t know how to take pictures.
Final thought? Meh… It’ll be fine.
So we traipsed to the Roseland Ballroom on a rainy Saturday in February. Friend marched up to the box office and coyly used the phrase I’ve always hoped to utter since watching “Almost Famous.”
“We’re with the band.”
The hipster crossed both our names off a list with a yellow highlighter, mine of which was under “Professional Photographers,” much to my chagrin.
We smushed into the large venue, weaving in and out of excitable fans until we had a decent vantage point. Of course, the fight to view the stage was persistent during the opening acts. But after blockading one dude with my book bag, refusing to let some brat take our spots, and making friends with our neighbors—the show began.
And it was actually quite awesome.
The band was especially excited to be playing in New York City, and their energy bled into the audience. Hit song "Radioactive" was explosive, and coupled with a 5-minute jam sesh of straight percussion.
Needless to say, my pictures aren’t brilliant works of art. These guys were happily flailing around, and we weren’t exactly front row. Plus, (believe it or not) this "professional photographer" doesn't even own Photoshop.
But, as Friend reminded me, we only need one picture.
And that picture will be pretty small.
So here are a few shots from our journalistic evening (of sorts):