Ahh, the Sonic Highways Tour aka the Broken Leg Tour. 2015 was Foo Fighters' 20th anniversary so Dave sure as hell wasn't going to let some broken bones keep the band from touring that summer.
Not known for standing (or sitting) still, Dave made the most of it and Foo Fighters plays as energetic and as long a show as ever. He rocked out so hard that a few times I thought he was going to bounce right off his throne!
If my memory serves me well, in the last photo they were playing some Rush in the jam room before the show.
Just as the band left their dressing room to walk to the stage it started to rain. I mean reeeally rain. But Foo Fighters hadn’t played in Québec City in 15 years, so those 80,000 fans weren’t going anywhere.
Within minutes it was a monsoon! Not only was the wind blowing rain straight onto the stage, but there was a waterfall pouring down from the roof that was also blowing back onto the band. Because of that I'd say they got even more soaked than the audience!
During the fourth song I posted up next to the waterfall with my camera wrapped in a plastic bag. I could hardly see but I noticed the band was laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation. Then the Foo Fighters vanished. They'd been rushed off the stage because of lightning!
We sat in the dressing room hoping the show would go on after a rain delay, but the festival organizers had to tell tens of thousands of fans to go home for their safety. All of the band's gear was so waterlogged I'm not sure they could have played even if it stopped raining.
So I started to flip through the photos on my camera. When I got to this photo I nudged Dave to have a look.
He said “Dude! Send it to me so I can post it!”
I told him to hang on while I grabbed my laptop but he was too excited to wait.
So Dave took a picture of the screen on the back of my camera with his phone, and that’s version the photo that ended up all over social media with his caption “Mother Nature always wins.”
Here’s a video segment from their online special Times Like Those where they're talking about that night while looking at the photos. Footage courtesy of Foo Fighters.
I was working in my studio when I got a text from Mix Master Mike. He usually only texts to let me know that he's in town so I asked if he was in Toronto. Then my phone rings and it's him. “Hey Mike, are you in town?” He wasn't. He asked me how I was doing, how my Mom is doing, what I'm working on these days, have I been to any good shows lately...
It wasn't like Mike to call for small talk so I asked him what was up. He texts me a flyer for his European tour and I was like “Cool, man! Looks like fun!”. Then he asks if I'd been to Europe and I said yes. “Did you like it?”
Yeah it was fun.
“Do you want to go again?”
Like to shoot your shows?
“No, just to hang out. You don't even have to bring your camera.”
I'm pretty close friends with Mike and his wife Dianne but this invitation came out of left field. He told me the dates and said he'd send my travel confirmation, and that was that.
I went into the other room and reluctantly announced to my studio mates “I think I'm going to Europe with Mix Master Mike?”
A week later I was in Amsterdam with Mike and his brother Chris, and Chris' friend Brandon. He played a sold out show at Melkweg and the next morning Mike and I left for Switzerland, then England. We did 4 shows in 3 countries in 5 days and just as quickly as I'd left, I was back at my studio in Toronto. You know when something feels like a long time, but also like no time at all? It was like that.
He said I didn't have to bring my camera, but what do you think I did?
Thank you so much Mike and Dianne at Copeland Entertainment for all of this!
FYI in the first photo of him performing, he's scratching the record with his elbow while turn his hat. 🐐
We walked by a souvenir shop with their windows covered in cardboard masks of famous peoples' faces. Mike was like “It would be dope if I wore one for the show tonight.”
They had everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Saddam Hussein to Humphrey Bogart. There was a whole wall of them inside the store too. After going back and forth between a few finalists he settled on Pope Francis.
He wore the mask at the Melkweg show that night and the Pope Scratch was born.
Let me tell you something about Mix Master Mike for those who are not familiar. He's not only the Beastie Boys DJ and a World Champion DJ, he's the biggest innovator in the history of turntables. He's invented and named so many techniques used by turntablists around the world, and some that no one else can even do!
Beastie Boys fans will know his Tweak Scratch from the intro to Three MC's and One DJ. So to be there to witness the birth of the Pope Scratch was an honour!
The next morning before leaving for Switzerland we ate at a pancake house. But not just any pancake house. The first record Mike did as the Beastie Boys DJ was Hello Nasty. One of the lyrics in the opening track Super Disco Breakin' is “When I'm in Holland I eat the pannenkoeken”, and Mike knew the place that inspired the lyric; Upstairs Pannenkoekenhuis.
So here's a photo of Mix Master Mike sitting on the steps of Upstairs with a belly full of delicious pannenkoeken.
When I got to the location, Serena was standing outside with the biggest smile on her face. “Are we shooting in this house??”. Turns out she'd walked past this house for years wondering what it looked like inside, and never thought she'd have the opportunity to go in!
It's an absolutely stunning and unique Victorian mansion in Toronto called The Darling Mansion and is available to rent for photo & film productions and events.
Funny enough we shot mostly on the upstairs balcony, but the last slide is a shot I took of Danko Jones that shows the gorgeous interior of the house.
After that we headed over to my old studio, Make Good Studios . Another great day working with Serena.