on the lack of a media pass...


BNL Concert... © Raffaella Loro

All of the live music performances by well known artists have been extremely memorable and thoroughly enjoyable. I have not had such luck with live theatre performances... I went to a stinker of a play last week at the and the play I saw at the Edmonton Fringe Festival was horrendous. I quite like live theatre, but I think there are so many more chances for me to dislike what's going on. A band could perform a few songs I don't care for much but the overall performance can be redeemed by the rest of the set being excellent. However, if an actor's performance is lacking or a script is weak, I tend to walk away from the show disappointed. Maybe it is just that my tastes in theatre are much more limited than my tastes in music.

My run of good luck with excellent music performances continued last night at Rexall Place where the Barenaked Ladies played to an interesting demographic of fans in their early teens to early 50s. It was quite interesting. And in the midst of it all was medium sized me, in row 15, seat 21... almost directly in line with the mic stand for Steven Page. I had an almost unobstructed view of the stage, with the exception of the two woman directly in front of me who were treating the concert as their own private living room. I don't know how they were enjoying the concert as they were talking throughout the entire performance.

As you can see from the image above (more here), I brought my camera with me to the concert. I didn't know what to expect, but I didn't have any venue staff question me as I walked in to take my seat. I was a bit wary though and at the beginning of the concert I tried to be a little more discreet with my photography. However, that can be extremely difficult when your lens is bigger than your camera body, weighs 4 lbs. and is white. But as the concert got started I started taking photos in plain sight. The opener, Tomi Swick, performed just long enough for me to figure out my camera settings (he was pretty good, you can currently listen to his album on his site). I kept taking pictures with no problem and it wasn't until about two thirds of the way into the show that an usher came up to me to ask if I had a media pass. I had debated bringing my camera with me, but I had read a recent CBC article where it was talking about how the Barenaked Ladies were really getting their fans involved in their music, encouraging them to remix their tunes, as well as post recorded content (video, audio, images) from their concerts online to share with other fans. The band was also selling so-called bootleg recordings of their live shows, available immediately after each show on a USB stick or on their website. The band are also advocates for a DRM free world, which is always refreshing to see. But I digress...

I did not have a media pass and because my camera has removable lenses it is categorized as professional equipment (which I can't really argue with). In the words of the usher, my camera was "too good." Had I been in the mood to argue more I might have been more difficult and refused to check my camera unless they decided to check other cameras with a similar range optical zoom and mega-pixel rating (some compact cameras pack a lot of punch in the optics category), but I really just wanted to enjoy the concert. So, I gave in and checked my bag with the almost elderly lady at the security station who promised me that no harm would come to my camera. I was equally concerned about my images though, so I kept the camera battery and memory card with me.

Despite my little run in with low-grade concert security (I didn't get to deal with any of the burly security guys in their red shirts, only mature women wearing hardware store style tool vests) the concert was fantastic. The Barenaked Ladies really know how to entertain. Their banter back and forth was amusing and they almost seemed to perform non-stop. I'm a little tired today as a result of last night's fun, but it was well worth it.

I received confirmation today that I will be shooting another wedding in June... and next Monday I have another photoshoot for a local restaurant. I was planning to buy a wireless transmitter for my flash, but none of the stores here in Edmonton seem to have it in stock (it's a special order only). I've ordered one from The Camera Store in Calgary and hopefully it should arrive in time for the shoot. If not, it's not a big deal, I can shoot without it. However, I'm trying to track it as we speak... hopefully it will arrive on time. It's kind of annoying though, all of these stores are channeling their orders through their web store but there is a two-three delay in order processing for security reasons. I've shopped there before and they have my information, but yet they still couldn't process the sale over the phone. Too much fraudulent activity going on these days I guess. If they could only see my honest face I'm sure they would change their policy, if only for me.

Hurrah! One more day until the weekend.


  1. I have to delurk and say I was waiting for somebody brave to test this policy. The practical question is whether the ushers are trained to look for the attention-grabbing white lens or just to round up anything that looks like an SLR... my guess is that it varies from event to event. With a fan-friendly media-aware band like BNL, might it be worthwhile to apply for a credential in advance from the band rather than the venue?

    The Fringe is great for people-watching, but if you like live theatre it's the equivalent of getting caught with cigarettes by your dad and being forced to smoke a whole pack all at once.