That morning I lay on an air mattress in my cousin's pool in Québec City, looking up at the clear blue sky. Perfect summer day.
Later, I went to Festival d'été de Québec to meet up with Foo Fighters who were there to play a make-up show for the one that got rained out 3 years earlier (almost to the day).
In the production office there were papers pinned to the wall including set times, maps, and a printout of the latest weather forecast. Sunny, hot and 0% chance of rain. Even on the sunniest days they usually put 10% just in case. But no, this was ZERO%. What a relief!
Late in the afternoon it started to cloud over. Hmm, that's weird... Then the wind picked up. That's not good... By the time the band arrived there was a pre-storm smell in the air and it started to rain.
Dave Grohl gets out of the van, holds his palms out and feels raindrops, looks up at the sky then looks at me. “I fucking HOPE it rains!!” and we both burst out laughing in disbelief. Was this really happening AGAIN?? Today of all days!
I don't know how a forecast can go from 0 to 100 in a matters of hours, but luckily the storm passed quickly and Foo Fighters got to play their much-anticipated show without a hitch and it was incredible. Once again Québec City pulled through with the biggest and loudest crowd!
Here's a video of Dave Grohl talking about the Québec City 2015 storm with my photos on the screens. Thanks, Dan and Andy!
Not only is this my final Foo Fighters story, but it was the last time I saw them play.
I tend to talk a lot (or write a lot) when I get emotional so I'm going to do my best to keep this short and let the photos do most the talking.
Foo Fighters came into my life shortly after my Dad passed away when I was 21 in December, 1994. I was lost and had no idea what to do with my life, and Dave really went out of his way to encourage me to keep shooting bands. You changed my life, dude. You gave me access, confidence and hope.
Anytime we were in the same city I knew I could show up with my camera and I'd be looked after. Because of that I went on to shoot them dozens of times for almost 25 years.
From massive festivals to arenas to small clubs to someone's garage, I got to see it all. The Foo Fighters photos I've shared with you over the past two months just scratch the surface of the good times I had with those guys.
Along with the photos from the previous story about Québec City, these ones demonstrate just how huge the band has become since 1995. Below the photos is a short video I made with footage from those two shows.
Foo Fighters, thank you. I love you.
Not every band has the luxury of keeping so many great people for so many years, but tour after tour I kept seeing these familiar faces.
One of the best parts about joining the band on tour was getting to see all of you. Popping in for a day or two at a time, it's easy to feel like the odd man out but you always made me feel like part of the family.
By nature my job is a solitary one, even when I'm surrounded by 20,000 people. So even just a wink, a nod, or a fist bump from a familiar face when I'm working means a lot to me.
You welcomed me into your workspace, your tour bus, your table in catering, and most importantly the stage. You gave me the freedom to roam and create opportunities to get the best shots.
Being part a touring crew is often an overlooked and thankless job because so much of it happens behind the scenes. I want to thank each and every one of you and give you the credit you deserve.
First I will point out one man who's had to put up with me the longest and that's Gus Brandt, Tour Manager. Gus, I know I can be a bit much sometimes, and I want to thank you for always looking out for me. There were times you went above and beyond for me and I really appreciate that. Thanks, friend.
Without further ado, in alphabetical order:
Jim Allison, Andy Babin, Joe Beebe, Ian Beveridge, Gus Brandt, Ally Christie, Sean Cox, Jane Donald, Jennifer Dymond, Tim Fly, Dan Hadley, Ray Harris, Hayden Katz, Tony Luna, Rommel Martinez, Andy Pollard (RIP), Salar Rajabnik, Samon Rajabnik, Ruff Stewart, Patrick Svenning, Geof Templeton, Claire Van Herk, Yeti Ward, Will Whitaker, Scott Wilson, Bryan Worthen... I hope I didn't leave anyone out.
The first time I saw Royal Blood was when they opened for Foo Fighters at that fateful rainout in Québec City in 2015.
After the show we all hung out in Foo Fighters dressing room having a some drinks as Dave Grohl regaled us with tales from the road, even going back to his Nirvana days. Mike and Ben from Royal Blood had just played the biggest show of their lives. They'd released their debut full-length album only a year ago, and now this!
Live, this duo sounds every bit as heavy as a five-piece band and they command any size stage. I love watching these guys play. I'd seen them a handful of times before this tour opening for Queens Of The Stone Age, and they got even better each time. These photos are from that QOTSA tour in 2018.
They're a dream to shoot too because despite the big stage the two spend so much time right in each other's faces. This first shot is one of my favourites of any band I've worked with.
This was the fourth and final time that I saw QOTSA on the Villains tour. I think it was visually my favourite of their tours with these LED posts and flexible light poles. Simple but great looking and interactive, as you can see in the second photo. Almost all the lighting was straight vertical lines which you don't see that often. Lots of silhouettes in this series, which I also like.
I really love the last photo of Josh's guitar hanging on the mic stand at the end of the show. I often wonder when someone performs a simple gesture like this if they realize how photogenic it's going to be. I guess it doesn't matter.