What made it such a beautiful day, was that after a rather stressful and somber drive to Ft. Worth – there was an unfortunate fatality on the highway – we met up with friends and spent the rest of the night surrounded by welcome company, music and the stunning majesty of Bass Performance Hall in the very heart of downtown.
Rufus Wainwright, one of my favourite voices in the world, was in Texas once again.
We saw Rufus last October, when he brought his Out Of The Game tour to Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas. The flavour of that particular concert was a roller-coaster of energy and pure showmanship, it left us breathless and wanting more, proving true the age-old showbiz idiom.
This time around, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra was to back the performance and I was looking forward to a much more classical vibe. The evening started with a stirring rendition of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’, a piece Rufus himself chose. The music was spellbinding, powerful; it evoked emotions both of pathos and joy, all aided by the wonderful acoustics the Hall offered – the ideal backdrop for what was to come.
But, I digress.
This is not a music review.
About 5 minutes into the concert a very determined-looking lady crept up to the front row to angrily whisper: “no photography whatsoever” to me. She made an appropriate amount of threatening eye contact and it was then that I knew, – she meant every word she said: this was her home (place of employment) and she’d rather cause a scene 2 feet away from the stage than allow me to desecrate it with pictorial imperfection. Apparently, Bass Performance Hall is too magnificent a structure to be photographed by the likes of me and my camera. My mind immediately conjured up an unpleasant image of my beloved camera being confiscated by an over-zealous employee and sold off on eBay, therefore, I obeyed at once – Panasonic Lumix stayed put for the remainder of the show.
What the determined lady didn’t know, was that disallowing my (admittedly very non-pro) camera was akin to gouging my eyes out – I watch the shows through my camera’s lens, always have, always will.
Somehow I doubt that she would have cared.
I understand and respect various venues’ rules and regulations, but in my prior observations (and I am an exceptionally experienced concert goer) each venue’s strict ‘no photography’ policy is always superseded by the visiting artist’s own preferences, and I know that Mr. Wainwright allows non-commercial photography. In fact, I have emailed some of my better Rufus at the Meyerson Symphony Center pictures to Jörn Weisbrodt, Mr. Wainwright’s husband, and received a very positive reply.
Perhaps Bass Performance Hall policy-makers can ask themselves a few pertinent questions: if they had gone to Paris, would they have wanted to snap a memorable shot of the Eiffel Tower? That in this digital age of instant gratification and unrestricted access an average iPhone- or Android-wielding consumer won’t get up from his/her dinner table without photographing and sharing the appetizing attractiveness of their meal and that most restaurants, however high-class, will allow it? That maybe, just maybe, Bass Performance Hall management are cutting off their noses to spite their faces? That surely, eliminating commonly used devices capable of taking at least an 8MP picture from the crowd is an impossible task?
I have no desire to go to Paris to photograph the Eiffel Tower. A beautiful live concert is my Paris.
There is another matter to consider, it’s called Free Advertising. I meta-tag all of my pictures. What difference does it make, I hear you say? It makes them Google-searchable and, more importantly, findable. An internet user looking for information on Bass Performance Hall in Ft. Worth would have come across my pictures and an accompanying positive review, liberally sprinkled with my glowing memories of the evening. With rainbow glitter on top. Yes, I alone do not make much difference, but what if there is one like me in every audience, during every performance? It begins to make a sizable difference then. Any sane, for profit, modern business actively seeks out free advertising via social-media networks. A stagnant business, unable to adapt to the fast changing times, runs the risk of nonexistence.
Obviously, France’s tourism industry and the magnificent Eiffel Tower do not require anyone’s glowing review. The same, unfortunately, can not be said on behalf of Bass Hall, which boasted 1/2 empty seats on Thursday night.
Maybe the whole photography situation was for the best after all. With no spotlight lighting of any kind, the overall soft yellow stage lights were simply insufficient to achieve the high contrast photography I normally seek.
Next time, when choosing a concert, I will look towards the Meyerson Symphony Center instead, – they have no objections to my taking away and sharing of a few pleasant memories.