"Hey, want to take a photo from backstage?"
Will Hoge is back in town! With his new album Small Town Dreams.
I'm there with my buddy - and my camera - and we're standing toward the back of the very crowded room.
The zoom lens lets me reach out over all the heads in front of me and I catch some good action photos of Will.
Even the drummer Brian Kilian is pounding away in this shot.
I look at it on the screen on my camera and turn to the guy standing next to me and say "Hey, whatcha think?"
He says "that's really great". Then he adds "Want to stand backstage and get a few pictures?"
He speaks quietly to the man in the black t-shirt that says STAFF, points at me and I am beckoned to the four steps that lead up behind the band. WOW!
I realize I have - at best - only a few seconds so I snap off half a dozen shots.
Then, a hand tugs on my back and I turn and go back down those same steps.
While I was up there for a few moments, I looked over at the drummer.
I also spotted Brady Beard on piano and organ.
Both of them were sweating and hard at work making the audience ecstatic with the sounds being produced .
(Frankly, I had not noticed the piano player from the front. Brady was really in the background.)
One could get used to this placement for taking photos.
The faces of the crowd told the story as they sang along with Hoge.
There have been quite a few albums and the older "goldies" were greeted with strong reactions and crowd sing-alongs during the 15-minute encore.
The tall, young man who liked the picture I showed him, and who then was able to give me a few moments up there with a unique view?
It was too loud for conversation but he handed me one of his CDs entitled "Luke Cunningham HEART PRESSURE."
My nice guide had been the opener for Will Hoge tonight and I had arrived too late to see him perform.
I had noticed the big brass bell hanging over the bar on previous shows there.
Tonight it came into its own, showing clanging appreciative support, as the crowd roared its approval for song after song.
In addition to the flashing colorful lights around the room, the ultimate sign of satisfaction was when the huge red beacon on the ceiling flashed brightly and the shrill siren blared.
Good to know, that on a break, they could duck in for a cool few moments and maybe a quick smoke.
I also liked the logic of the wording on the sign.
Finally, my evening was complete when I saw a shark alert on the Isle of Palms.
This one, though, would not strike fear in the hearts of people.
It was merely a neon reminder of a popular beer that is served in this seaside watering hole.
It's rare that I get backstage or receive any special treatment.
I'm a retired newspaper guy and photographer who really loves live music.
But when it's offered, I very graciously accept and always say "Thank you."
In this case, Thanks Luke!