A pretty unique opportunity was offered to me last week. Or, I should say, the opportunity was offered to Living Fort Wayne and I humbly accepted it on behalf of the team.
The Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars Tour was rolling through Fort Wayne on one of its last stops and we were asked if we’d like to cover the show. The concert was promoted as a “girls night out” and featured Courtney Cole, Clare Dunn, Raelynn (of The Voice fame), and Miranda Lambert.
A little backstory: during my senior year of college, I was a marketing intern at Sweetwater Sound and was able to attend a Miranda Lambert concert with the owner of Wechter Guitars (a division of Sweetwater). We got backstage passes to meet her and give her a custom-made Wechter guitar. Also, my college roommate listened to her all the time and she eventually grew on me, so I have a soft spot for Miranda Lambert and I likely always will.
I was very excited for the concert and then I found out that our tickets were to come with a press pass. The press passes were specifically for one photographer to take photos for the first three songs of each artist. After those three songs were finished, said photographer was to leave his or her camera with personnel.
That was completely reasonable, except for the fact that I don’t necessarily consider myself a professional photographer. I suppose technically, legally, and logistically speaking I am considered a professional photographer because I do photography at my real job and have done freelance photography for which I’ve been compensated.
With most roles I fill in my life, I tend to do a lot of different types of tasks (like a real renaissance woman.) So I wasn’t scared to take photos of Miranda Lambert…
Just kidding, I was pretty terrified, but I didn’t want that to stop me. I decided to just pretend that I knew exactly what I was doing. My friend Ashley and I showed up at the Coliseum just after 7:30 and went up to the will call window. They gave me the press pass and tickets in an envelope with my name actually printed on it (with my last name spelled correctly) which I was much more excited about than it really warranted.
We went up the escalator and met Nathan, the Vice President of Sales for the Coliseum. He was extremely friendly and helpful and told us exactly how everything would work for the evening and where I would be able to go to take photos.
Pretty soon, it was time for me to head out into the concert. I’m going to be pretty honest with you here, I felt like a bad ass walking through the crowd with my camera, escorted by staff. However, when I got to the pit, which is that standing-room-only area right in front of the stage, I just followed the other photographers around to see what they were doing.
The first act was Clare Dunn. I hadn’t heard of her prior to a few days before the concert, but she was extremely entertaining. Her voice sounded great live, she was energetic, and each song was a totally new experience. I was enjoying her performance and trying to get various angles of photos from both my camera and my phone, but her first three songs were finished before I felt like I completely got my bearings. I took my camera back to its little time-out area in between sets and got a chance to check my phone and got a few pictures on it that I was pretty pleased with (you can find some of those on our Instagram!)
Raelynn took the stage next, and I was feeling slightly more confident having the first act under my belt. Plus, I knew Raelynn from my guilty-pleasure-show-that-I-don’t-feel-guilty-for: The Voice. It was amazing to me how different each set was even though they are roughly the same type of artist playing the same genre of music. Raelynn was downright adorable and her performance had a very young, flirty feel. I was able to watch the rest of her set with my friend Ashley from our seats. The crowd was very involved and having a great time.
I decided to be ready for Miranda a bit early, so I headed back to the photographer junction and got to talking with some of the other media outlets. Prior to the concert, I was afraid that all of the other photogs would be able to sniff out my newness and discomfort immediately. On the contrary, they were all helpful, friendly, and talkative.
One of the other photographers asked me what setting I was using on my camera.
He told me how he had his camera set up for the dark with harsh stage lights and I nodded casually. As soon as we started walking back into the show, I changed mine to exactly what he’d described. As it turns out, my photographer friend is Randy Alomar, the program director for US 93.3.
He also told me that Miranda typically doesn’t come out for her first song, and explained that she usually has “Somethin’ Bad,” her duet with Carrie Underwood, play, then she comes out at the end of it. I was a little sad, because we would only get three songs to photograph her, but when the song came on I was so engrossed in the atmosphere, it didn’t even matter.
Miranda, as always, was incredible live. She has a presence that is both commanding and inviting. She is a woman you want to be friends with but you know if you crossed her, you’d be a little more than afraid. I think all of us secretly want to be that type of woman. Not to mention, Randy’s photo advice was accurate and the pictures of Miranda are by far my favorite from the night.
Like the other sets, her first three songs flew by, but I felt much more comfortable with the photos I took during her performance. She played for over an hour and a half and I can’t say that there was a song that I didn’t enjoy and or one that I didn’t sing along to.
It seemed that most fans treated the concert as a true “girls night out” and I was glad I did the same. Ashley and I had a wonderful time and have been talking about the concert ever since. You can find photos from the concert below. There are also a few on our Facebook and Instagram that aren’t included on this post.
I would like to send a heartfelt thank you to the Coliseum for taking such great care of us and for bringing in so many amazing acts and events. And also to Randy from US93.3 for being an awesome dude. Thank you to Marbaloo Marketing and True Public Relations for inviting us to the concert and to Courtney, Clare, Raelynn, and Miranda for putting on an amazing tour.
Hopefully we will get the chance to do more great show reviews in the future!