At one point Mike’s manager Dianne told me to go up onto Mix Master Mike's riser to get some shots. I hopped up there and Mike turned to me in his space commander helmet and gave me this look, and a 👊
All of the sudden the sold out arena went dark. I had no idea until I got up there but it was time for Mike’s solo. Before I could move, spotlights lit up the turntables. And Mike. And me.... cover blown. My text messages went off. “Is that you on stage with Beastie Boys??”.
When the solo ended Mike told me to stay up there with him for the rest of the show. At the end of the night I got this great photo of my boy Fredo holding a glass of bubbly.
A bunch of times throughout the show Adam, Adam and Mike said “butterfish”. Nothing else, just butterfish. Inside joke for sure. The next night Mike and Dianne invited me to dinner with Beastie Boys at a sushi place on my street. Mike D who ordered butterfish for the table. Mystery solved. Afterwards, Yauch bought us all ice cream.
What makes this first shot my favourite that it's the one and only time I caught all 6 Beastie Boys in one shot.
L-R: MCA, Mix Master Mike, Fredo Ortiz, Mike D, Money Mark, Ad Rock.
In addition to arenas, on this tour they played Gala Event Exclusive Instrumental Shows in theatres with a theme: Dress to Impress. This first photo is Stefan, me and Wigmore doing what I'm guessing was our best Three MCs pose?
I wasn't shooting that night but my dear friend Dianne from Copeland Entertainment surprised me with tickets. They were row AA which I assumed meant row 27 if the alphabet started over after Z. Nope, she got us front row tickets.
What a night. I got fist multiple bumps / high fives from Mix Master Mike, Money Mark and Fredo during the show and the highlight was when Yauch sat down next to me for a verse. Wigmore got the photo on his Blackberry but out of all the files on his phone, that one got corrupted. Luckily we were able to salvage the top half.
I brought a small point and shoot camera, and the best shots of the night are these two of Money Mark getting some air.
The whole thing felt surreal at the time and kinda still does.
Money Mark by me, photo of Yauch and me by Mark Wigmore, and the 3 MCs (Stefan, me and Wigmore) by Dianne Copeland.
2007 was a big year for Billy Talent. They headlined their first sold-out arena tour and some massive festivals. I was with them in Québec City, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. All incredible shows. The first photo in this series is probably my most well-known live shot of the band.
The biggest show by far was the night they played Festival d'été de Québec (FEQ) for the second time. Once again they played on the Plaines Of Abraham with Alexisonfire and this time even more people showed up.
In 2005 55,000 fans turned up to see them play and this time 85,000. The difference alone is enough to fill two arenas!
As we did in 2005, Bowman and I went along to photograph and film. The band had a massive white curtain up before the show and moments before it dropped Bowman and I walked to centre stage with our cameras.
I'm used to hiding in the shadows on stage but this time we stood in front of that curtain with nowhere to hide from the 85,000 Billy Talent fans going bananas for the cameras
It was exhilarating and terrifying! I soaked it in as long as I could but it wasn't long before I yelled to Bowman “This is too much! I gotta go!”
We ran around back to behind the drums just in time to watch the Kabuki drop, revealing the band and we were off to the races.
Apparently these are the only photos in existence of Dita Von Teese's Black Swan show.
Her one and only performance with this stunning swan sculpture was part of a Virgin Unite benefit show in Toronto that also featured illusionist Criss Angel. I was shooting the event for Virgin and they told me that there was no photography allowed during Dita's show.
Dita was the reason I wanted to shoot the event, so when her tour manager walked by I asked him directly and he said thanks but no thanks. So I gave him my card, which looks just like a specific year and brand of baseball card and he said “Dude is this 1987 Topps??”.
He's the only person who's ever gotten it right and we had great chat about baseball. Then he tells me that I can shoot the performance but I'd have to sit with Dita afterwards so she can look at the photos and approve them on the spot. Deal!
Her skills as a classically trained ballerina really shone through in this performance. I haven't seen a show like it before or since.
After the show I sat with Dita in her dressing room while she took her time looking at every photo, approving almost all of them. I took that as a great compliment. Such a lovely person.
I never found out exactly what happened to the swan but apparently it’s just gone. Makes these photos even more special.
This was my first Coachella and the only reason I was there was to shoot Rage Against The Machine's first show in seven years. There were a LOT of photographers there for the same reason. I heard about 100.
After the third song of each artist the photographers are escorted out of the pit, then they can line up next to the stage for the next band.
Right before Rage Against The Machine was Manu Chao. My plan was to not shoot his show so I could be first in line to get into the photo pit for Rage. I flew all the way out there so I might as well get a good spot.
They made a last minute decision to let the photographers shoot all of Manu Chao which means they didn't have to exit before RATM which means that I was the last one in. Haha. Of course. Regardless I made my way to a good spot just in time to hear Zach de la Rocha say “We are Rage Against The Machine from Los Angeles California.”
Tom Morello also did a solo acoustic show on the first day of the festival. A couple of these photos made into his book Tom Morello – Whatever It Takes, published in 2020.