I've been deliberating exactly how to approach this post in light of recent events for the past few days. It's a cruel twist of fate that this just so happened to be the next gig on my list to write about. I wish I'd written this sooner. I wish I'd written this in much happier circumstances.
I've opted to focus on what was so great about that opening night of the European "Zipper Down" Tour. In the grand scheme of things, whether the lighting was good, bad, or indifferent seems irrelevant now.
There was an unmistakable buzz around Leeds Met as I collected my photopass. EODM had been on TFI Friday the night before which will have likely whet many appetites for an evening of old skool balls-out rock and roll. I too was markedly excited, given I'd not photographed EODM before. I had my suspicions that they'd be great to photograph, and I wasn't disappointed.
The zombie and vampire spattered crowd (it was Hallowe'en) were in particularly high spirits for EoDM's long-awaited return to Leeds, and when Jesse and co (no Josh Homme, sadly) took to the stage in Hallowe'en costumes as expected, and the crowd erupted. In true rock and roll fashion Jesse polished off half a bottle of Jameson's before blasting straight into "Bad Dream Mama".
Two songs in, the band took a break to interact with the crowd, admitting that they were nervous about touring again and how shocked - and grateful - they were that the opening date had sold out. Now often you'll see a touring act pander to the crowd with the classic "Last night we played [somewhere else], but you guys are [in some way better] than them!" cliché in an attempt to build some atmosphere, but this wasn't one of those occasions. Firstly, there would have been no need for it as the place was bouncing. But you could just tell that Jesse, beneath the wacky rock-and-roll persona that he purveys excellently, was being 100% sincere.
Packing my gear away after the third song, it was the first time in a while that I didn't want to head home to edit. I'd have loved to stay for the entire gig to document the show in it's entirety, as it had the making of something a bit special.
If was one of those gigs that, on reflection, makes you realise how much music can be a release for people, an escape from daily life. And up until three nights ago I for one took this for granted.
Nick Alexander, Thomas Ayad, Guillaume Decherf, Mathias Dymarski, Fabrice Dubois, Alberto Gonzalez Garrido, Nathalie Jardin, Mathieu Hoche and the 79 other souls that attended the Bataclan last Friday and never came home, may you all rest in peace.