The Who: An exciting visit!

“Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for 2008!”

Back then, Shure Artist Relations and Advertising were in the middle of producing some artist ads. We called up our contact with longtime Shure endorsers The Who, and they agreed to participate in the campaign. They said that the best opportunity to make this happen would be at The Palace in Auburn Hills, MI.

I booked a flight up to Chicago, and my plan was to join photographer Paul Natkin on a road trip over to The Palace. Hanging with Paul is a wonderful adventure in itself, full of great stories from his career. How could this trip get better?

Here’s how it did: We arrived at The Palace, and our contact informs us that we will conduct our photo shoot with Roger and Pete AFTER their 2-hour soundcheck /rehearsal. Joining us on this trip was Advertising Manager Terri Hartman and Industry Relations Director Mark Brunner. Since this was the day before their show, the four of us were practically the only “audience” in the venue watching this awesome rehearsal.

Afterwards, we helped Paul get his photo gear up on stage, we placed an SM58® in a cool spot, and he shot away. Once he had taken all the shots he needed, we all jumped in for a shot with these two legends of rock.

Mark Brunner had also brought with him the original agreement that the group had signed 45 years ago!

Every time I look at this shot, it brings back so many memories.

Ryan Smith posing with The Who

Here’s photographer Paul Natkin’s take on that trip:

“On October 20th, 2008, Ryan Smith and I jumped in his car and headed to Auburn Hills, Michigan to shoot an ad for the SM58 featuring The Who. We arrived at the Palace of Auburn Hills mid afternoon, and went in to meet the road manager. This was a rehearsal day, as the tour was starting the next day. The road manager suggested that I set up my equipment on the floor of the venue, and that  we sit and watch the rehearsal. He didn’t have to twist my arm!

We (Myself, Ryan Terri and Mark from Shure) sat and watched a 2 hour Who concert by our selves in a giant hockey arena!!

When the show as over, the road manager came out and said, “Go up on stage and set up your stuff. You will have about 2 minutes with Pete and Roger.”

YIKES!! I walked up on stage to find a road case for them to sit on. I had asked before the show if the lighting guy could put some graphics up on the screen. The road manager told me that he couldn’t do it- I would have to make do. So I quickly set up a light, Ryan placed a microphone in the shot, and I motioned Pete and Roger over. Right as they sat down, the colorful graphics came on the screen behind them! Of course, I had no idea what the exposure should be, so I just guessed. I shot about 20 shots, the guys were totally cooperative, and they then got up and walked away. I was standing there not knowing if anything had actually worked!

I packed up my stuff and we went back to our hotel, where the Shure people sat down in the lobby and I made the long trek up to my room to look at the pictures and see if I had screwed up the whole job!!

Luckily, they came out great, and I brought my laptop down to the lobby to show the Shure team. We all high fived and the night was over!”


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Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith

Ryan is a Regional Manager of Artist Relations at the Shure office in Nashville, TN. He started at Shure in 1993 in Customer Service and joined the AR team in 1996. Ryan has over 30 years of performance experience playing drums and percussion in various groups and genres. In his spare time he enjoys woodworking, watching movies, videography, and camping with his family. His Twitter handle is @ryan_smith1969.

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