This was taken during the Camden Crawl, a music festival over two days around the venues in Camden Town. Amy was a big act so to get the chance to photograph her in such a small intimate venue such as... read more the Dublin Castle was a true experience. The venue was packed; I had gotten there early, in fact early enough to have to wait through two mind numbing acts that were supporting. There was no pit and no other photographers made it to the front, a couple were standing on the benches round the edge of the room. I had a great spot right in front of Amy. Four songs in and someone who I guess was part of Amy’s management tried to show some authority and lay down the first 3 songs rule. As if that was going to happen.
At the time, the chances of this gig actually happening at all seemed very remote. The night before, we were told, Amy had arrived an hour and a half late for her slot in V’s sister venue at Western... read more Park (not good news at a festival with strict slots times for all the various bands), staggered on stage, fell over, forgot her lyrics and crawled off stage in a torrent of boo’s and had the crowd finish the set for her.
This day however there was a huge cheer from the crowd when it was announced, to many peoples surprise, that Amy would be arriving by helicopter and would perform at her allotted time. She had a better reaction to just turning up than many bands had to their entire set. The number of people jostling for a space made it all a little precarious but low and behold, the band started and she walked on stage looking like some Mexican Singiorita, as fresh as the roses in her hair. I have to say I’m shocked at how good she looks, as are most of the others and this amazement is compacted when she carries off her first three songs with consummate ease. The only tell-tale sign that she may be nervous is the way she constantly pulls at the hem of her dress, lifting it up to her thigh like a little girl who’s desperate for a pee. That and the way she frequently looks to her impressive backing signers for reassurance.
I’d seen Amy perform in a tent at the same venue about 5 years previously and she’d blown me away but I really loved this performance as it was as unexpected as that original show for very different reasons. The first was surprise at just how good she was, the second was relief. When I compiled my favourite songs of the noughties, Back To Black headed my list of great songs from the decade.
The colour shot was taken just as the sun set and is my favourite shot of her. The black and white shot, taken just minutes before, was just what I set out to capture as Amy always struck me as a modern singer who wouldn’t have been out of place in the Shangri-La’s in their mid 60’s Shadow Morton peak. It could also pass as a period shot taken at a “Wall Of Sound” Phil Spector session in the mid 60’s, helped by the way she chose to dress that day. Her songs were out of time but timeless, like Amy herself.