Sydney's week in music
Radiohead's frontman Thom Yorke performing at The Entertainment Centre. Photo: Edwina Pickles
Last week's concert line-up was nearly as big as Woodstock 1969 – but it was Sydney 2012.
It began on Monday with Radiohead coming onto a stage awash with blue and red lighting under suspended mirrors at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. The "pit" for photographers to shoot from was packed as Thom Yorke and his band mates got down to business, so focused on the music they seemed oblivious to us and the rest of the crowd.
The next night, with a solo Ben Harper at the Sydney Opera House, the feel shifted to rootsy blues – but again there was a lot of love in the room. One woman hollered: "My boyfriend just proposed but if you marry me I'll turn him down!"
At Beck a night later, the energy was celebratory as fans danced in the side aisles at the State Theatre while the alternative hero went through his genre-crossing catalogue.
After getting to bed well after midnight because of the show's late finish, my alarm went early on Thursday to catch Coldplay's dawn performance for television outside the Opera House. Behind-the-scenes access is never certain in the world of music's biggest fish. My invitation to Coldplay's "secret" afternoon gig at Moore Park Entertainment Quarter, granted a week before, was withdrawn by the band's record company at the last minute.
But with so much talent in town, there was little time to worry. Next was Elton John, that night. His bright outfit – his red glasses and a sparkling suit – matched the show's upbeat energy as he romped through his greatest hits. The 65-year old rocket man doesn't like photographers too close so they are told to stand far back, near the sound desk, and shoot with a long lens. When the crowd got to their feet, I had to run up to an upper level – breaching my access pass – to get the clear shot that made the next day's paper.
A sea of cowboy hats and boots awaited at Dwight Yoakam's hoedown at the Enmore Theatre on Thursday, continuing a week of moving from one musical world to another.
The country music fans looked to have come from far and wide. The front row had many indigenous people from Menindee near Broken Hill.
Going from there to the hipster crowd at Grizzly Bear in the Metro Theatre, the contrast couldn't have been starker. Cowboy boots were swapped for sneakers. The Yoakam fans' Wild West whistling was replaced by serious indie rock darlings mesmerised by the music.
At the weekend, it was off to the Harvest Festival at Parramatta Park, where Dexys and the Dandy Warhols were happy to pose for photos backstage.
After a mad dash from there into the city, the explosion of confetti that opened Coldplay's first show was a fitting finale to one of the greatest weeks in music for Sydney – and this photographer.