My favorite part of my job is photographing concerts. Sometimes it’s scary, like when Waka Flocka’s 7-foot security guard shoves me like I murdered his mom; or when bald Method Man-lovers chuck beer bottles at my head; or when Al Jardine’s creepy old man fans ask me if it hurt when I fell from heaven. Usually, though, shooting shows is just super fun. I’m really into it, too — I even bought a pair of pajama jeans for extra picture-taking mobility! In fact, I tried them out for the first time at a J. Cole concert last week. Here is how that night went.
I got to the venue about 3 hours before J. Cole was set to perform. Within the first 10 minutes of being there, I realized I hadn’t eaten dinner. Knowing my belly juices would start eating my insides if I didn’t get food quick, I ran over to 7-Eleven for some shnacks. Unfortunately, something about 7-Eleven food creeps me the eff out, so I only bought a pack of gum and a couple of waters. After offering pieces of Trident to my cashier and to the dude begging for change outside the store (both accepted!), I made my way back to the concert.
The gum held me over for about five minutes before I started needing some real food. I knew my friend Amanda was going to Cheesecake Factory and then coming to the show, so I asked her if she could grab me a side salad. Being the nice lady she is, she did. When she got to the venue she handed over a delicious salad of tomatoes and Mesclun greens and ranch dressing. The only thing she didn’t hand over was a fork. Them Cheesecake fools forgot to give her one.
Still, me was hungry, and I figured my nimble fingies could handle a salad just fine. I found a seat in the corner, opened up the container, and got to chomping. I got a few strange looks, I guess for eating a salad with my fingers in the middle of a sold-out show, but I was glad to get some food up in me. By the time I finished, J. Cole was supposed to start in about an hour. I wiped my greasy ranch hands on my pajama pants, checked to see if my cute cold sore still looked like a flesh-eating disease, and made my way toward the stage to wait. (I get to stand in the pit between the stage and the crowd, which is bomb.)
I only had to wait about 40 minutes before J. Cole’s DJ came out. Here’s a song that he played, that I love, to break up this long azz story.
Camp Lo my boys
J. Cole came out a little while later and I started snapping away. Apparently I was only supposed to shoot for three songs, but since I’m kinda homies with J. Cole’s videographer (we met a couple years ago at another show and sometimes like each other’s ish on Facebook) he let me shoot a while longer. Then, when my time was up, my way-too-helpful venue security friend dragged me onto the side of the 3-foot-high stage like a prized tuna, and I scooted off to enjoy the rest of the show.
Like I already mentioned, J. Cole’s video guy, Adam, and I are friends. We’d texted earlier in the day about meeting up, but I didn’t have time before the show and he didn’t really have time after. Howeva, we were able to meet up outside and chizat for a minute.
During this chizat, he told me there was pizza on the tour bus and asked if I wanted to go on it. I didn’t, really, because I knew I’d not only meet strangers, but a famous stranger, and I’m not real good at that — especially with a huge scabby cold sore on my face. Still, I said sure. After all, I love motorhomes, and Adam wanted pizza, and, mostly, I felt cool to have been invited.
As soon as I stepped on the bus I no longer felt cool. J. Cole was sitting on the black-crocodile-leather-looking couch playing a video game. I nodded at him, you know, because I’m really comfortable in these situations, and took a seat at the other end of the fancy couch.
Adam grabbed a beer and asked if I wanted one.
“No! I mean, no, thank you. Driving home, can’t be one 5% alcohol beer in.”
He asked about my sisters, I told him they good, having babies n shiz. I asked about his 10-year-old brother, he told me he was having a birthday party in Florida next week.
“Oh! I’m going to be in Florida then, too. I’ll go to his party! LOL J/K J/K! Wait… it’s at Disney though?”
This continued for five minutes until, have mercy, the tour manager announced the bus was about to leave. Relieved to get out of this situation, I told Adam SEEZ YA. Then, I jumped up in the middle of the bus, squatted down, said “These mah picture-taking pants!” and left. It was totally my “I carried a watermelon” moment, and even I can admit it was weird.
I feel for you, girl from Dirty Dancing
When I was walking down the bus stairs, where no one could see me, I also yelled up “GREAT SHOW BY THE WAY!”
P.S. Here’s my favorite picture of the night. As you can see in the right hand corner, I got a photography website. I’m not that good, but I’mma try my damndest to get better!