Archive for Rock For Choice

On Stage With…The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Posted in music with tags , , , , , , , on May 15, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Red Hot Chili Peppers
Rock For Choice Benefit
Hollywood Palladium
April 4, 1992

(Click photo to enlarge)

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Part four of a five-part series I’m doing this week, featuring shots that I took while being on the stage with bands. Each day I will add a new band and a new photo.

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This was a very special benefit held to raise money for the Magic Johnson Aids foundation.  Beside the night’s headliners, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, the bill also featured The Beastie Boys, Primus and the debut of Perry Farrell’s Porno For Pyros. I was really amped up for this show, it is not everyday you get a chance to see A-Level bands like this in a smaller venue such as The Palladium.

As the Chili Peppers kicked off, I shot the first few songs from inside the barricade, and then went to get a drink. The bar was charging crazy money for sodas and water. At this point I was both a starving artist and working my way through college. So, I decided to try to make my photo pass work for me and find something backstage. I flashed my pass to the security guard and gave him a look like I knew where I was going. I then found a water dispenser at one of the back corners of the stage, near one of the guitar amps.

As I was drinking, the stage manager saw me and barked, “Hey, what do you think you’re doing? Get outta’ there.” There goes my free water, I thought, pitifully. But then he points to a spot on stage and tells me to shoot from there, where it is safer. Wow! I wasn’t about to argue with the guy. It’s a rare and great opportunity to get on stage with bands – and it’s getting more rare every day as venues put photographers further and further from the stage.

This shot was a bit difficult to get because of the spotlight that is being shined directly at me – you can see it at the top left of the photo. I had to meter and expose for Anthony’s skin tone and adjust for the spot/backlight. Remember, I was shooting film cameras back then, digital cameras only existed in sci-fi movies. The luxury of taking a shot and looking at it immediately on the back display to see if it was exposed properly was not an option – you either got it or you didn’t. Luckily, I got it.

Photographed on stage with borrowed equipment – a Canon Elan, a 70-200mm lens and an old Canon Flash. Photographed on Fujichrome film.