"I got to photograph The Rolling Stones" is a sentence I never expected to utter. I'd long ago concluded that Mick, Keith et al were permanently etched into my bucket list, never to be removed. I'd was ok with that. I'd come to terms with it. I mean, they're one of - if not the - biggest band in the world, right?
I'd never shot at Old Trafford before - either as a music or football photographer - so that in itself was a fairly daunting experience. Heck, I'd only ever visited once before, and that was 20 years ago on a school trip and I don't remember anything about it (other than listening to my beloved Arsenal on the radio on the drive home. We beat United at Highbury 3-2. David Platt winner in the 83rd minute. Ecstatic.)
Walking out to the photo-pit was a massively surreal experience: We were positioned at the end of a runway that jutted into the crowd, pretty much bang on the halfway line. Obviously the turf was covered, but looking around me it felt as if we were stood on the centre circle. I did take a minute or two to have a good look around, as I didn't expect to be stood in the middle of one of the worlds most iconic football stadia again anytime soon!
Given we were shooting from quite a distance away, I opted to use my 300mm f2.8 lens - ironically, a lens I bought specifically for shooting football! However, speaking to my photo pals who'd shot the Coventry date, even 300mm wasn't going to cut it, so I hired a 1.4x extender to give me a focal length of 420mm - The longest gig shoot I'd ever done.
As for the show itself, it was great to shoot. There were a lot of us photographers there - as you'd expect - which meant jostling for position was a little tricky, but I managed to capture pretty much everything I wanted. The band were on great form, especially when you consider they're in their mid 70s! Sir Mick was as animated as you'd expect, but Ronnie Wood in particular was great value to shoot - I'd not realised how much of an expressive guitarist he is, busting out a bunch of different poses which helped give my frames some variety.
It was a great experience, and an absolute privilege to shoot such legends.