All photography and content © John Raptis Photography 2020

A Night With Devin Townsend

I really didn’t know what to expect from tonight but I am so glad I took on the assignment to photograph the event because the entire evening, from start to finish, was something pretty damn close to magical.

Let’s lay the cards on the table from the outset, I am a huge Devin Townsend fan. Have been for a very long time and have photographed the last 3-4 of his Australian tours. Dev and the band always bring forth a show that stays with you long after the last strain of controlled feedback has permeated itself within the sinews of your mind.

But tonight, there was no band. It was just Devin. Intimate. Within reach. Open. Honest. And at times, even vulnerable.

Presented by Thump Music in what was marketed as a ‘guitar clinic’, Devin spent the next four hours giving the crowd his all. Quite literally.

One could sense his level of uncomfortableness at times, it is after all, a unique way for an artist to present and express himself.

But as the night unfolded and evolved Devin and the audience became as one. A question and answer section was highlighted with Devin bursting into song. Even in this completely stripped back format, the songs – those wonderful songs – still sounded sonically huge.

It was all an incredible insight into just what makes the man tick. His song-writing process was discussed along with his recording methodology, the tuning of his guitars and his career spanning such a diverse and varied approach to a variety of musical genres.

The night was capped off wonderfully when a young girl from the audience took command of the stage and proceeded to play Devin’s ‘Hyperdrive’. Initially struggling, she soon got the hang of it and was quickly joined on stage by Devin who handled the vocal duties. It was a beautiful moment that was quite evident in the girl’s smiling face.

Just a superb night all round with Devin totally and utterly there to please all his fans by signing each and every item they had brought along. Including signing a couple of prints I had taken of him on his last tour.

Shooting the amount of gigs I shoot, I’m pretty complacent these days and don’t really get any enjoyment out of gigs per se. It has to be a pretty damn special show for it to pique my interest and blow me away beyond just being a photographer at a show.

Last night was truly something special. An insight into the mind of an amazing musician and pretty darn good bloke too!

Couldn’t go to sleep till about 2am. I was still processing the evening’s events and wondering how the fuck a guy with a guitar and a mic could strum away little ditties like he did and still sound like he had a full band behind him.

Fuckn amazing!

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