If someone told me when I was younger that I would tour with Mxpx in my early 20’s I’d laugh at them. If someone then told me I would photograph some of my favorite bands in my mid twenties, I’d think they were drunk. Yet, I have done those things and more. Who knows what else is next. I have lived a life that, to me, is rich and pure. Never in a million years would I have thought I would be talking to some of my heroes, but I have. I always stop and say, “Is this really happening?” Sure enough, it is. To some, these kinds of things don’t mean much, but to me it means everything. I will look back on my life and see glory and not regret. I took charge and when I have kids, I hope to tell them all that I have done. Last night I photographed a band that has inspired me countless times. I didn’t think, with their new found success, that I would be able to, but I did. It left me knowing that nothing, and I mean nothing, is impossible.
This was night two of Gaslight Anthem’s Memorial Day shows at the Stone Pony’s summer stage in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Now I love being in Jersey, it’s my birth state, and photographing Gaslight Anthem in their hometown was just perfect. Not to mention my whole day consisted of walking around and going to the beach. For those that don’t know, The Stone Pony is located right across the street from the beach and boardwalk. It was a perfect combination and probably the best show I’ve gone to. Not to mention the Wonder Bar was having pet owners bring their pets to the bar outside. I might have seen two corgis, which when I do, I know it will be a good day. I have only been to Asbury Park twice before, first time was actually with Mxpx and the second was to just visit. Asbury Park has a lot to offer and I will surely be back.
By the time I went in, the show was sold out. Two nights sold out, not bad. Also the staff at the Stone Pony is probably the nicest venue staff I have encountered. Each show had different openers except for one band. By nightfall, The Gaslight Anthem was about to take the stage. Now before I started taking pictures, I met all the other photographers attending. Including me, there were 6 of us total. I have never been in this situation before and it kind of made me nervous. I hope wouldn’t walk into any of them by accident.
When Gaslight Anthem took the stage, everything went away. They came on stage with all smiles. Maybe it was because they were playing in their hometown, but they looked overly excited to play another night under a full moon, the beach, and Ferris wheel of Asbury Park. Playing for about two hours, Gaslight Anthem gives the audience what they want. They are the only band I know that plays a good assortment of all their albums, including some my favorites off Sink or Swim. There wasn’t that much talk in between songs either and rock photographer Danny Clinch joined them on stage to play harmonica. Hearing b-side song “Blue Dahlia” was enough for me to be satisfied with the night. However, during their encore, hearing “Mae” left me walking away with a smile thinking, “how has my life become what it is today?”
I don’t know what it was, maybe it was being in New Jersey, maybe it was the full moon, or maybe it was the shooting star I saw during Gaslight Anthem’s set, but nothing could compare to this night. I never would’ve thought my life would lead me to all of this, but it did and there is so much more to come. I am just a regular guy trying to stay inspired everyday by some of my favorite things.