I photographed Queen last week. Minus Freddie of course - and John Deacon, but you know what? It was a dream come true and I don’t often say that.

For most of my teens, Queen were my life. I met many of my friends because of them. They soundtracked my life. My first concert was Brian May at the Brixton Academy in 1993 when I was a mere boy of thirteen with my dad in tow and is still the best concert I have ever been to, hands down; I witnessed the best guitarist in the world AND the best drummer in the wold in Cozy Powell on the same stage and I was inspired to take up the drums and sparked a dream to make a living from music. In short, there is nothing about the band and their music I do not know about. Test me - ask me anything, I will knock it out of the park.

So when it was announced they would be touring again with Adam Lambert I immediately snapped up tickets. One for me and one for my dad - it seemed only right, we’ve gone full circle together!

As soon as I bought tickets, I alerted my boss at the agency I shoot for that i NEEDED to shoot this show. There was no way I was not. By hook or by crook…

It was touch and go - the agency got turned down for London, but emails back and forth were exchanged and lo and behold I was in for Birmingham. As I said, it;s not often I get a bit giddy about photopasses, it’s my job - but I was beaming when I got confirmation! In fact I felt a bit guilty for landing a pass when other shooters I know got turned down. It is generally looked down on to shoot a show and then stay to watch the whole thing - it relegates you to ‘fan with a cam’ status, but I made an allowance for myself last Friday, even if the other snappers didn’t. Suddenly, all the things I usually do in the pit without paying any attention whatsover, somewhat jaded - the walking to it, past all the flight cases, past the crew - standing there waiting for the lights to go down - last Friday was entered to with wide eyed wonderment and with the enthusiasm of a five year old in a sweet shop. Flight cases were stenciled with RMT and i was thinking ‘Wow, they belong to Roger Taylor - Amazing!’ and silly things like that which remind me how lucky I am to be able to get jobs like this sometimes.

The tingle that worked it’s way down my spine as the opening chords of One Vision rang through the cavernous arena made me feel like the thirteen year old boy in the third row at Brixton again on that balmy June evening in 1993, just soaking in the atmosphere, enjoying the showmanship of these seasoned pros still at the top of their game after all these years, and Adam Lambert absolutely blowing the roof off the place and silencing the doubters (me included) by the instrumental.

And boy do they deliver the photo ops! Adam and Brian pranced around, owning the huge stage holding court over the 12 odd thousand sell out crowd magnificently.

From a photographic point of view, it was the dream show. Considering all the silly, needless contracts that we are so often forced to sign restricting the use of the photos we take and in some cases demanding the rights to your work so you have no control over them (stand up Coldplay, Killers, Foo Fighters, Jessie J, Muse and Queens of the Stone Age amongst many, many artists) it was a surprise and a refreshing one that ACTUAL rock royalty had nothing for us to sign.

The night not only reignited my love for the band but concert photography, which is ironic as I have now photographed both of the bands I have ever wanted to photograph and could quite happily never shoot another concert for as long as I live!

Full set at www.stuarthogben.com/queen

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