Charlie Starr is a cool looking dude no matter where he is, with his trademark chops and all, but he and the other Blackberry Smoke band members always look GREAT on stage. That’s no accident. I don’t know how many bands who are not arena headliners always travel with a lighting director (LD), but BBS does, and has for the last couple years. This is not an insignificant thing. A talented LD adds cost, not to mention care, feeding, and transportation. Kind of like a hamster, except a lot more expensive and logistically challenging. I make the hamster reference only because Blackberry Smoke’s LD goes by the name of Thumper. (Have you ever had a hamster named Thumper? How about a rabbit?) I’m relatively certain his parents put Christopher Hathaway on his birth certificate, but I would not have known that without texting Brit Turner for the lowdown.
Having an LD on tour represents a substantial commitment to offer the very best experience to the fans. The shows not only sound great, they look great too. As a photographer, I am a direct beneficiary. Light is everything to a photographer. The shot above is a great example of how an otherwise ordinary pic of Charlie, Richard, and Brit is raised to another level by Thumper’s dramatic and beautiful stage lighting. It is also an example of how important it is to me to have virtually unrestricted access to shoot the entire show, not just the first three songs. I took this picture late in the show. I noticed the particular lighting scheme earlier, and waited in the same spot for almost ten minutes with the hope that Charlie would be in just the right position if Thumper did it again. When the planets finally aligned perfectly for me, I was in the right place at the right time with the right lens.
For those who are interested, this pic was shot in St Louis during Loufest last September. Hard to believe it’s been six months since I’ve heard the band. I’m looking forward to seeing them perform next month in North Carolina. Can’t wait to hear all the new songs live, like everyone else. When it comes down to it, I’m just a very fortunate fan.