Oh boy. Where do I start?
Okay, here goes. So, I left Washington, DC en route to New York City, for the Dave Chapelle x Erykah Badu concert, with no approved credentials - only some possible access. I took a couple of shots in the dark, in various directions, hoping something would work out. The show was sold out, so buying a last minute ticket wasn't even an option.
Just so I wouldn't feel like the trip was a waste, I booked an afternoon shoot, in the vicinity of Radio City Music Hall (RCMH). I figured, I might as well make my money back that I spent on food and travel.
Once the shoot ended, I received some valid intel that Erykah Badu was at sound check, and I knew that was my chance to let Erykah see my face, and ask her directly, if I could shoot her performance. I hiked those 10 New York City blocks, and arrived in time to catch her leaving the venue.
I said, "Hey Erykah!".
She said, "Hey man!".
I said, "You mind if I shoot some photos tonight?"
She said, "Nah, I don't mind, but we don't have anymore lanyards, so I'm not sure how we'd get you in. And this show is sold the f_ck out."
I mad a sad face. She said, "But, I'll be back here at about 9:15pm for showtime, just meet me right back here, and see if you can just walk in with us." My sad face went away.
Then she said, "It's nice to see you though." Erykah Badu said, it was nice to see me. In real life. I looked up into the clouds, and said, "Father God, I'm ready to come home". Lol.
Fast forward through the couple of hours I spent in a nearby FIVE GUYS eating a bacon cheeseburger, and charging my iPhone, to the point when I returned to the backstage door.
While standing around waiting, I had the pleasure of meeting actor Edward Norton, and magician David Blaine, who had come out to see the show.
The RCHM security staff was being super strict. Playing by all of the rules. Erykah stepped out of the SUV, and I filed in line with her and the team. I got the threshold of the backstage door, and the head of security said, "No lanyard. No entry."
The sad face returned.
As I was about to leave, and head back to DC, a guy came out to smoke a cigarette, and we just started conversing about venue mishaps and the ups and downs of touring. He just so happened to be Dave Chapelle's brother.
About 25 minutes later, Erykah's road manager came outside, with some great news. He had gotten his hands on a lanyard for me. Yeah! Once inside, I walked around backstage, to get a feel for the vibe, and peep the scene a bit. I didn't want to break my camera out right away.
After about 10 minutes, I whipped my Canon 5D Mark III out of the bag, with the 50mm f/1.4 attached, locked and loaded. I went right into ninja-mode. I walked, ninja-style, right down the center aisle to the orchestra pit and fired off a few shots of Erykah Badu. Seconds later, I feel a tap on my shoulder. Ut oh. I turn around, and the staff person looks me in the eyes, and looks down at my lanyard, sees "TALENT", and says, "Oh, you're good. Go ahead.". From that point on, I snapped photos, non-stop. I didn't even have to stay in ninja-mode.
VIEW MORE PHOTOS IN SLIDER BELOW
Once the show ended, backstage, I saw Erykah in the hallway, and thanked her. She asked, "Did you get some good shots?". I did this thumbs-up with a wink thing. It felt cool at the moment. Lol.
I was so glad it all worked out. Pple always think I have it easy. My access is not always granted. But, that motivates me to work harder, continue networking, and keep telling God's story with these images.
Thanks again Erykah.