Public Enemy - Live 26.10.03

Sometimes the occasion comes along where you get to meet (in the flesh) one of your heroes. When I was just 14 years old I met Pete Townshend at Brixton Academy. He looked old enough to be my dad. I remember I hoped to live a bit 'before I got old'

During my Madchester days I met lots of musicians up-close, but that was part of the appeal of the time. Everyone seemed to be a small part of something somewhere & everyone was connected. I met Noel Gallagher when he was still a lippy roadie for Inspiral Carpets. Paul Ryder at the Boardwalk. MC Buzz B, MC Tunes, Mark E.Smith, World of Twist & Intastella. I met people like Primal Scream & the Orb on the dancefloor of the Hacienda. I met Bjork with 808 State downstairs in the Gay Traitor. She was smiling at me but kept morphing into a very strange Cat-Head-Face then back again. Happy days.

Since picking up the camera I've shot all sorts of musical luminaries. Once in a while there's 'one to remember...' Tonight is such a night! Public Enemy have reformed their original line-up for a major tour. I always regretted not seeing them when they played here at the Apollo years ago. As they drove up the Princess Parkway passed the Hulme Crescents Flavour Flav is said to have remarked,
"Look, they got Projects here too!"

Over a decade later, prior to the show they visit a Moss Side recently blighted by the shooting of another innocent teenage boy, Jesse James. The show ends with a dedication, a plea for peace, and for all the gangs of Manchester to 'put down the guns'

Full Tilt blagging has bought me 10 minutes (-first 2 numbers-) in the photographers' pit. That's all I'm allowed. I witness an awesome performance. Watch the rest of the show from the wings. Decide to take a few sneaky shoots of the encore from where I am. Suddenly Chuck D himself is by my side waiting to go back on. He agrees to pose for shots with Stage-Crew & Security before running on-stage