There are times when you know in the back of your mind things are not going to go off as planned. I had made arrangements a month in advance to be able to attend this show with my wife. This occasion was the record release party of three consecutive gigs on the Sunset Strip celebrating Bad Religion's new album titled The Process of Belief. I called a couple of days in advance of the show to confirm everything and was ready for a good night. But things still did not feel right.
My wife and I arrived a half hour early, and the lines stretched down the block. The box office was not open and we had to wait in the bitter cold. The box office finally opened and we proceeded through the line to get our tickets. The tickets were there, but no photo pass. They couldn't seem to find them. We stood around for another 10 minutes and then were told to go inside and come back to the box office in 20 minutes to see if the photo passes arrived. I grumbled that I will be back and go into the club. I proceeded to walk over to where the tables were but notice many have been removed. The ones remaining were now sectioned off as the V.I.P. area and we are not allowed. I purposely picked the Roxy show so that my wife could sit through the show because of her disability and she can't stand for long periods. We proceeded to the back of the club and noticed some steps that she could sit on. We parked there and I proceeded back to the box office and they still had no photo passes. Aggravated, I go back to our perch at the back of the club and waited for the opening band.
Death by Stereo come on and I said to myself, "Fuck it. I'm going to take some photos." I set my gear up and proceeded to walk through the crowd to shoot some shots of the band. After about four photos, I was stopped by security and was told that I couldn't be shooting pictures with the type of camera that I am using. I was told I couldn't use a professional camera and was led to the head of security. The head of security told me to stop shooting photos until he got clearance on what the photo rules of the night were. I couldn't believe that they considered my camera professional when it barely cost me $200. I went back to my perch where my wife was sitting and looking at the backs of people standing in front of us. I pulled out my cheap digital camera and went back to trying to get at least something to add to my review. Death by Stereo put on a good set, based on the crowd reaction. They sounded better than expected for me. I wasn't too hot on their latest release, Day of the Dead. I did stand up at points to see what was going on. My wife and I were pretty bitter at this point after having $3.50 Cokes and having to sit on basically the floor in the back of the club.
The set ended and I proceeded back to the box office and no one even answers the door. Great, no photo pass. I went back to the head of security and he gave me clearance to use my regular camera. I just have to be careful when shooting. It's a sold out show and it was packed in the club. I just can't draw attention to myself. Anyways, I made friends with the security people. I went back to the perch in the back of the club and decide to order drinks to calm down in what was a difficult night. I ordered a drink for my wife and it was $8.00. I guess I'm not drinking since one of us has to drive and I didn't bring that much cash.
The lights darkened and Bad Religion took the stage. In a matter of seconds, they blasted in to "Suffer" and my tension seemed to drain away. I grabbed both cameras and darted into the crowd to shoot some photos. They proceeded through "Supersonic," "Prove It" and "Can't Stop It" off the new record. I ran out of film and I returned to my wife who was dancing and singing along. I put my gear away and joined in. I was like a pre-pubescent girl at a NSYNC concert singing along to every song. They proceeded to play song after song in what seemed like a long set. New material was interspersed with such classics as "American Jesus," "Skyscraper," "Fuck Armageddon... This is Hell," "Anesthesia" and many others. It sounded like the band had only rehearsed for about a week because many songs were miss-timed and mistakes were made. I appreciated the mistakes because it made them human and it also made it more fun. They closed the evening with "21st Century Digital Boy" and the crowd hung on to and sang to every word.
My wife and I left drained and eventually had a great time. Bad Religion saved the night for us.
The reuniting of Brett Gurewitz with the band, coupled with Brain Baker and Greg Hetson as guitarists, created a stronger musical background to illustrate Greg Graffin's lyrics. New drummer Brooks Wakerman and bassist Jay Bentley were the anchor that kept everything together. I remember, in the past, background vocals were rarely a part of the live set. With so many members in the band now, the background vocal duties were handled by Baker, Bentley, and Gurewitz. That created more harmonies for all to enjoy.
The following day I took the film in for processing. I was confident that I got some good pictures. I came back a couple of hours later to learn that the shots were overexposed and I got pictures of nothing. Man, I am a shitty photographer! I am finally going to break down and take some classes. Depressed, I went home and downloaded the photos that I took on the digital camera. Absolute poo. Could not fix them for the life of me. I knew that things were not going to go off as planned.