80’s All-Star Party | Benefit Concert

Nick Richards 80's ConcertLast weekend some of the biggest artists of the ’80s got together for a benefit concert at the Fred Kavli Theatre in the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. Boys Don’t Cry, Terri Nunn & Berlin, Garry Beers from INXS, Fee Waybill from the Tubes, Martha Davis & The Motels, Roy Hay from Culture Club, and Deon Estus from Wham performed some of their biggest hits. Original MTV VJ Martha Quinn, DJ Richard Blade, and actress Jane Seymour hosted the event.

I initially heard about the concert because of the INXS connection – I have friends who hear about everything – and they pass it on! And seeing bassist Garry Beers onstage again was great. He was clearly having a good time, and is so much fun to shoot!

But that wasn’t the only highlight of the night for me! I absolutely loved seeing Berlin again – in fact, I’m saving those images for another post tomorrow – and they’re HOT! And I got introduced to a brand new band, made up of four fourteen-year-olds – more about them next week. And I got to shoot one of the sexiest men from the mid 1980’s – Nick Richards was (and still is) in a band called Boys Don’t Cry, and their big hit was called “I Wanna Be a Cowboy”, which peaked at #12 on the Hot 100 in 1986. The video featured Nick in a clawfoot bathtub – which I love – and he has the sexiest eyes.

I also loved meeting Martha Quinn for the first time, and meeting Richard Blade again – he was backstage occasionally during Rock Star: INXS, and he introduced INXS at The Greek in 2006, and hosted Rock Star: Supernova at Universal City Walk – so I’ve crossed paths with him quite a few times!

But perhaps the highlight of the night was when Fee Waybill of the Tubes came out to perform his biggest hit, “She’s a Beauty” and the crowd got excited – and Fee was clearly touched. It was great! Spontaneous joy from the crowd and real appreciation from the singer. Just very cool!

Boys Don't Cry

80's All-Stars PartyNick Richards

Garry Beers and Nick Richards

Martha QuinnBoys Don't Cry

Garry Beers

Fee Waybill

Garry BeersNick Richards

The MotelsGarry Beers

Garry Beers

And yes, I did sneak an awful lot of Garry Beers into this post – but there’s a reason for it! Even though I’ve seen INXS perform live over a dozen times, I’ve only shot the band live in concert once – way back in 2006 – and during the one and only time I shot them, I didn’t get very many images of Garry. Six members in a band, and only three songs to shoot, so not a lot of margin for error… and I accidently shortchanged Garry that night. So this was my chance to make up for that oversight – and I made the most of it!

To see the slideshow from this concert, go to ROCKBANDLOUNGE.COM – and yes, there are more images in it – and they’re bigger than here! Or, check out Facebook in the coming days for some backstage photos

Sex and the City

Has anyone seen Sex and the City yet?


And INXS makes an appearance! When Carrie is cleaning out her closet, she starts with a dress from the 80’s, so of course they put on music from the 80’s, and right on top of the CD player is INXS’ Kick. I wished they’d played that instead of Aerosmith’s Walk this Way, but still it was fun to see! And yeah, the one 80’s CD I had in my collection – pre-Rock Star was INXS – they’re the only band from that era that I was still listening to after all these years, and clearly I wasn’t alone in that! But post-Rock Star, and after way too many INXS concerts, it’s fun to think of Carrie as “one of my kind” – you know? If you love INXS, you’ll understand that reference!

But my favorite moment in the movie was when Miranda is agonizing over something, and Carrie tells her to stop thinking and to start feeling. That as a lawyer, she can argue both sides, so thinking is not the way to decide. Even non-lawyers can understand that. At some point she just needs to figure out how she feels and go with it. That scene just hit me hard. And true to form Miranda does think it to death – and she ends up with the pros and cons listed out on a yellow legal pad – but in one moment, she makes the decision based on a moment of intense feeling.

I’ve been agonizing over a couple of decisions lately. Who hasn’t done that? When the stakes are high – and even when they’re not – it’s hard to be flippant when it’s your life you’re making decisions about. And for most people, the path you choose is not always lit up and obvious. Sometimes you come to a fork and it can be hard to decide!

So Carrie’s speech about letting all the “thinking” go, and listening to what you’re feeling – well it spoke to me! I love when a movie does that! Movies take you away into another world, a world where you don’t live, and yet deposit you into that world and you get to live there for two hours. No other art form does that in such a full and complete way. Music can do it. Art can do it. Great writing can do it. But in a movie all those elements are combined – it’s art, music and storytelling – and it’s a full experience. And sometimes, in a really good movie, you get to take a little piece of it home with you. Maybe not Carrie’s Manolos, but could be a little bit of her advice came home with me…

Oh and maybe I can take a little bit of her music as well! Over the ending credits, the SATC theme song is layered with Fergie singing about shoes and shopping and what kind of girl she is. I liked it! I think I’m heading to iTunes to buy it, but if you want to listen to it, People Magazine has a free version on their site…

The List

Back in July, at the INXS concert in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, there was a TV crew shooting for an upcoming TV show. Some in the audience recognized one of the featured backup singers as she came onstage, and I vaguely remember the name of the show being The List – but since I don’t live in Canada I never expected to hear anymore about it.

But thanks to the web, I got to see part of the premier episode of this new show – the episode that features an average person fulfilling a life-long dream to sing with a rock band. It’s a cute show, and I love the premise. I wish it was shown here!

And it was fun to see part of that concert again. I had front row for that show – and there were cameras everywhere and I recognized a lot of people in the crowd! Then again, I knew nearly everyone in the front two rows. We’d all gone to the concert in Ottawa the night before – it was an definitely an INXS weekend!

Would I like to sing with a rock band? At one point in my life it was definitely on my list – and now it’s just as definitely not. Funny how things can change. But sing with INXS? I’d do that if given the chance. They’re not your typical rock band, and it would be fun. So yeah, I’d sing with INXS, but they’re the only band I would even consider.

Watching the show made me think about other things on my own personal list. I’ve gotten to do some really fun and interesting things lately, but there are still items on my list to do yet!

The images above are screen shots from video of the show. For more on The List, see http://www.slice.ca/Shows/.

INXS at Valley Center

As soon as I committed to going to Canada to see INXS in early July, they announced a handful of dates in California in late August. The very last show, for that leg of the tour was in Sault Saint Marie in July, and I was there. And the very first show, after a five week break, was August 24th at Harrah’s Casino in Valley Center, and I was there too.

The two shows were very different. Sault Saint Marie was a lot of fun – it was my favorite of the Canada shows – but it wasn’t that memorable. Valley Center on the other hand, was very memorable! I think time off is good for anyone, and it seemed to be be very good for INXS. Where the Sault Saint Marie show was a tiny bit slick and predictable, the Valley Center show seemed fresh. And JD was his saucy best that night. It was a serious turn on!

One of my East Coast friends came out for the concert and to spend a few days in San Diego, and we met up with some other friends at the venue. After the concert we wanted a drink, and as we headed to the bar we ran straight into Kirk and JD on their way to the elevator. Kirk made a quick exit, but JD was willing to be delayed, so I shot a few images with my iPhone as he interacted with one of my friends, but the casino was so dark, it was hard to get anything good. Other people started to notice him at this point, and a crowd was starting to form, so I wanted out – somehow being in a big crowd pushing toward a rock star is not my idea of fun! But before I went, I wanted to thank him, and he was listening intently to a guy drone on about the show. So I reached out and touched his stomach to get his attention and said “You were great tonight” and I intended then to move on, but he turned to me with this blindingly beautiful smile and said “Thank you” and then he pushed against my hand with his stomach muscles, making his abs ripple beneath my fingers. I just laughed, and said thanks, and slipped away. It was just such an aggressively flirtatious move, and it was fun! Somehow, every time I interact with JD I leave feeling really good. It’s a true rock star that can make that happen!

We then made our way to the restaurant, and soon after we saw Jon wander by alone. And when a fan stopped him, he was more than willing to stop and talk. More people approached and he ended up staying about twenty minutes, talking to people in the restaurant, until the band’s tour manager came and got him. I didn’t talk to him, I was happy at our table, but it was fun to see him be so relaxed and willing to just chat.

It was a fun night. The concert was one of the best I’ve seen, and after the concert wasn’t too bad either!

INXS in Canada!

Note: The first three photos in this post were shot with my iPhone – when you don’t have a real camera with you, it’s cool to have something, anything to shoot with – and the iPhone actually does a pretty good job! The last image was shot with a “real” camera.

As soon as my seminar in Atlantic City ended, I hopped on a plane for Ottawa. One of the members of RockBandLounge.com had arranged a BIG party at the Ottawa Bluesfest, the night INXS was headlining. She’d convinced them to give us a corporate box, complete with our own private bartenders, plus catering. I just couldn’t miss that!

I wanted to see INXS, but the real draw for me was meeting the Canadian members of the forum. Over the last two years I’ve become really close to some of them, and it was starting to seem really odd that we’d never met in person. It was just time to make that happen! And I wasn’t the only American who felt that way – we ended up with two of us from California, one from Seattle, one from Texas, and half-a-dozen from the East Coast of the United States – plus a lot of Canadians!

It was a magical night. The venue was really beautiful, and the sky though filled with storm clouds in the distance was completely clear over the concert. No rain at all! And so many people! The crowd was really huge, and soooo enthusiastic. It was my first INXS concert in over a year, so I really enjoyed it. Plus it was kind of fun to sing along to those songs with people that I shared Rock Star with – and who agonized over who INXS should choose, and would their “guy” win. They’re a passionate crowd – my kind of people!

And the tickets? They were printed with RockBandLounge.com on them! How fun is that? The girls above are two of my favorite Canadians!

The audience was invited to submit text messages that scrolled by on a big billboard on one side of the stage – and there were a lot of messages about our group. It was obvious we were having a lot of fun, and people noticed! There were messages asking if any of us were single, if we wanted company, and the messages got progressively saucier as the night wore on. Anyone with a General Admission ticket couldn’t get up to where we were, but people in the other corporate boxes could, and some of them left their own groups to come dance with us. It was that much fun!

Ottawa was great! We even went to high tea at the Fairmont Hotel – very, very classy!

And since I was going all the way to Canada, it made sense to go to more than one concert – there were three all within driving distance, so several of us planned to hit all three. But as the planning progressed, and the dates got closer, the thought of that much driving seemed like a bit much to some of the group, so we decided to fly instead. I was sort of looking forward to seeing more of the country, so flying wasn’t my first choice, but it turned out to be a smart decision, since we then had more time in each place to explore.

It was my first time on a tiny little plane – you know the kind you have to walk out onto the runway, and then climb stairs to get to? And there are only ten rows of seats? And they go bump, bump, bump, and knock, knock, knock? At first it was a little scary, but after I got used to it, I actually enjoyed it. Especially flying over the lakes – so much water you’d swear it was an ocean.

I had a front row ticket for Barrie, Ontario, and second row for Sault Saint Marie – so I definitely got my INXS fix! All of the shows were a lot of fun, but I think the highlight of the trip (after the socializing) might be discovering Sault Saint Marie.

If it didn’t get cold in Sault Saint Marie, I’d be seriously considering moving. Such a beautiful little town with a great concert venue, and a real downtown area with little shops, and lots and lots and lots of old houses that are in perfect condition, and wild flowers everywhere you look. I just have to keep telling myself that snow and ice and cold are coming, and it’s not always a perfect summer day there. In San Diego, it is pretty perfect all the time, so I’m definitely spoiled! But if it was summer year-round in Sault Saint Marie, I’d be very tempted…

I finished out my trip with a couple of days in Toronto – a very nice city – but Ottawa and Sault Saint Marie are so special, it’s hard for Toronto to compete in my mind!

My INXS Vacation

I actually went to five stops on the INXS tour last week – totally over the top, but so much fun! I went with a bunch of friends and we stayed at the Bel Age Hotel in LA and saw two concerts at The Greek – which is the best venue for sound. I was in the pit the first night , and further back the second night – I think it was the third row behind the pit, so still fairly close but the sound was so much better – and I thought the sound was great the first night! Seriously, The Greek is the place to go for a concert – it’s beautiful and the sound is awesome! Rachel Hunter was across the aisle from me, Dave Goffin and Paul Mirkovich were right behind us. We heard Deanna Johnston was there too, but I never ran into her.

So LA was great, but that was only the first two of five concerts in one week! The next stop was Hemet and frankly I wasn’t expecting as much from that show, but front row tickets were cheap. I love Hemet, but how is Hemet supposed to compete with LA? Well I was wrong. Where the shows in LA were slick and professional and totally moving, the show in Hemet was hot, hot, hot. My theory is that after two shows in the entertainment capital of the world, the guys were ready to have some fun. It was the sexiest show I’ve ever seen – by far!

Next up was Pala – which is just a few miles from my home. I had a press pass for Pala – the other concerts I was just there to have fun, but at Pala I was there to work! The area for press is directly in front of the front row, and at this venue it was only about three feet deep and there were six photographers, so we were definitely tripping over each other! The best positions on the right and left were both staked out by the guys shooting video for the big screens, so I started down center – I don’t mind shooting straight up the band member’s noses! Later I moved right and then left, but I think my favorite shots were from the very center – especially when JD and then later Kirk got really really close – the shot looking up at JD with the cigarette is one of my favorites, and I was right under him. Great show too!

The last show for my friends and I was San Diego – right on the Bay. Beautiful venue! Insane crowd though… Several friends flew in for this concert from out of state, but one had to cancel at the last minute, so I got to use her front row center ticket instead of my own third row ticket – which was very cool! My friends were all staying at Hotel Solamar, a fabulous four-star hotel in the Gaslamp District, so after the concert we went back there since they have a fabulous rooftop bar – and who showed up later? INXS. The band was there with friends and we were having a great time already, so we didn’t interact much, but Kirk did come over to say hi. It was a fun evening, and a great way to cap off a great week!

INXS at Pala Casino

I finally got to shoot INXS – and it was great! JD, Kirk, and Jon all played directly to my camera – which I was not expecting at all. With all the shows these guys play, and all the photographers following them, I assumed they’d be completely blasé about it – but they’re not!

JD FortuneJD Fortune

Tim FarrissKirk Pengilly

JD FortuneKirk Pengilly

JD FortuneJD Fortune

To see this Photo Essay of INXS at Pala on 6/20/2006 at ROCKBAND.COM, go to: