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Diddy/Dirty Money's "Coming Home Tour" Bus
Note: I realize this is not what you would typically expect from Bad Boy Blog. So, please feel free to skip this post. I expect to have some thoughts to share about the Norfolk show, as well as some photos and (maybe) video soon enough. Thank you.

I think most readers probably realize this, but if not: I am a big fan of Diddy. A big fan. How big? Well, ask yourself this question: if you could choose one musical act that you would like to see perform in person, dead or alive, who would it be? For me, it would be Diddy.

I have (seemingly) every musical recording he's ever produced or performed on, with a substantial (legally obtained) collection of music that spans digital, cassette, CD and vinyl. If you sit down and chart out my music listening habits on my profile and dive deeper than the very basic summary statistics they provide, you will see that I listen to songs featuring Diddy more than any other act (and it's not even close).

I have spent tens of thousands of dollars on music featuring Diddy or released by Bad Boy Records, clothing from Sean John, numerous Diddy-related products and countless pieces of memorabilia. With the hope that I am not starting to sound like a crazy fan, I would also say that he's an inspiration to me on a personal and professional level, as well.

I have been a fan of him for 14 years, since 1997 when I was 12 years old. But, until last Sunday, I had never seen him live. I wasn't old enough, he didn't tour near me, whatever the reason. Diddy only rarely tours.

When I learned that he was coming to Norfolk, Virginia on April 24, as part of the "Coming Home Tour," about an hour and a half from me, I bought tickets the day that they went on sale and man, was I excited. And when performance footage started appearing online, that only added to my excitement.

In preparation for this rare event, I also wanted to try to cover the concert for Bad Boy Blog and get some content that I could post, in the form of photos and video. Long time readers of Bad Boy Blog know that we do things the right way: we are highly respectful of copyright and we do not share links to audio that has not been approved or shared by the label, artist, management or a related party. There are a lot of hip-hop sites that don't give it a second thought. To us, it's a professional standard.

This is a professional operation. I am a web publisher and a published author that regularly speaks at business events around the country. Bad Boy Blog was started when I paired my love of Bad Boy with the work that I do everyday.

Without proper permission, I knew that I could post only small snippets of video from the show online, if at all. What I wanted, however, was to secure a press pass, so that I could shoot some video with a nice camera and not be hassled by anyone at the venue, and permission to post video from the show online. Without permission, again, I would be severely limited and would not post long periods of video (like a lot of other publications have already done and will continue to do).

I reached out to multiple people at Bad Boy and in Diddy's camp to let them know that I would be there and to secure the pass and the permission. I did this weeks in advance of the show. By one person, I was told to expect an answer in a week. By another person, one with a high amount of authority, it was indicated that it would be taken care of. After that, however, I never heard back from either of these people, despite following up multiple times.

Because of the uncertainty, I devised two plans, to prepare for the best case and the worst case. Best case is I get the press pass and can use my nice camcorder, for the best possible video and sound. Worst case, I don't secure the pass, and will shoot some video from a much, much weaker Kodak Zi8 (which costs around $110) with a small, external mic, the width of two quarters. The Zi8 is shaped like a cell phone and is basically an above average camera phone. It produces weaker video than the camera in an iPhone 4. So, not great, but still better than nothing.

I held out hope until the last minute, even bringing my good camcorder to dinner before the show, only to receive no calls and no e-mails from anyone. I walked it back to the hotel, grabbed the Zi8 and left for the show. My thought was that I can at least get some footage for my personal collection, get an accurate set list for my readers and hopefully get permission to post extended clips online, after the show.

We entered the venue without any issue, I bought a t-shirt and we found a great spot, very close to the stage (literally 10 feet from the performers) and settled in. The show started on time with Tyga on first, then Lloyd. Finally, it was time for Diddy and Dirty Money.

To say I was having fun would be an understatement. For the first 38 minutes or so of the Diddy/Dirty Money set, I was in a state of unparalleled joy. There was a smile on my face the whole time and I was rocking with each song and everyone around us was having fun (some guy next to us kept yelling "I love you, Dawn!" Heh). I was having so much fun and, frankly, could not believe that I was watching Diddy perform live, 10 feet from me. It was absolutely amazing. The show itself was incredible.

But, then, that extreme level of happiness was quickly and absolutely shattered when a man suddenly started yelling at me from the left side of the venue. I couldn't hear him at first and said "What?" and he only grew louder and more intimidating. "Come here!" he yelled. He added that he "could have [me] arrested." Yes, he said that he would have me arrested and yes, he was as rude as you might have guessed.

My friend, who was to my left, and me, were in disbelief, but I quickly told my friend to watch my bag, which was at my feet and had my t-shirt in it. The man accused me of trying to hide something, which was completely false. I didn't give my friend a single thing, I just wanted to make sure he would watch my bag and hold the spot we had secured.

This man, who I will refer to as a tour official from this point forward, actually made me leave the crowd and led me out of the performance hall, into a small room that divided the hall from the front doors. This was a room where it would be only me, him and a venue security guard. In other words, a place where he could more easily intimidate and talk down to me.

He did just that. He asked me what the external mic was and I told him, it was an external mic. He told me that I couldn't record anything. I told him that many people around me were openly recording (why had I been targeted specifically?) He told me that they weren't recording like me, indicating that the external mic made me different.

The conversation was not going anywhere good and his communication skills, if you'll call them that, were increasingly condescending. But looking back, I actually handled it really well. Despite a very hostile and threatening tone from the official, I was pretty calm. I didn't raise my voice, I did not use any profanity and I did not make any physical gestures. I stood still and talked normally.

I asked him if he knew a certain person who is a part of Diddy's team. This person was on site, knew I was there and had indicated that he would take care of the press pass. This person is pretty well known - if anyone was working on the tour crew, it is almost certain that they would who this person was. I asked him to call this individual, who knew I was here and recording.

He refused. We had talked for maybe 30 seconds and he, and the venue security official, suddenly pronounced that "we are done talking." At this point, the security guard (and perhaps the official, I forget), stepped behind me and escorted me (physically pushing me) from the venue, out the front door. They were met with zero resistance. I calmly walked out.

At this point, I changed from trying to explain the situation to him and be reasonable (which he had no interest in being) to bargaining. Again, I am a fan, first and foremost and this show was a big deal to me. So, I offered to give him my memory card, as a last ditch effort to not miss more of the show. At first, he left, but literally 5 seconds later, he came back out and asked for the memory card. I gave it to him. He then ordered that I remove the battery from my camera, place it in one pocket and the camera in another. He told me I could have the memory card back after the show, but would have to erase it's contents.

Before entering the building, he wanted me to tell him that he was being fair. When I didn't answer "yes," right away, he repeated himself. "I'm being fair, right?" Yeah, right, whatever. He was extremely inappropriate and very much in the wrong, but you cannot be honest with someone who both has all the power and wields it without thought.

After that, he walked me back into the performance hall and went off on his way - I asked him where I could find him afterward and he pointed toward the area near the front door. I went back and found my friend and rejoined him, but lost my spot by a row or two of people.

I had missed approximately 4-6 minutes of Diddy/Dirty Money's 80-90 minute set. I tried my best not to let that situation ruin the rest of my night, but it just wasn't possible. It was a very stressful situation, with this official threatening me verbally and physically, and it tainted the entire experience. During my entire time in the hall, for all performers, I did not see a single person who was pulled out of the crowd besides me. I am not exaggerating. Not one. Many, many people were recording. I was, perhaps, the only person in the entire crowd who was actually with a recognized outlet.

After the show, I did not see him - he was not where he said he would be. So, I sent a tweet out to the person I had mentioned to the official, who I knew was in the building, to ask for help retrieving my memory card. I did not hear back from that person until later, when I was already back at the hotel. We talked briefly and he said that we could take care of it the next day. I sent an e-mail the next day, but have not yet heard a response.

Shortly after I sent the tweet, the guard appeared and walked up to me. He informed me that "you know I could keep this, right?," referring to my memory card. But, he continued, "you didnít trip, so I won't trip" and that what was on the card was mine and, he said, "Merry Christmas!" No surprise, it was very condescending. He acted like I was getting away with something and he was doing me a big favor.

He identified himself as being with the tour, not the venue. There were a lot of things I would have liked to say, to set him straight. But, what's the use? I really wanted to ask his name, but I also didn't want to provoke him, in any way. He had already verbally threatened me multiple times and physically touched me (him and/or the venue security at his discretion). When one person holds all the power, it's difficult to have an actual, fair conversation. Simply put, the man was a bully. I took my card and left.

While I may not have his name, I actually have some decent pictures of him and would be happy to send them to the right person, if so requested.

My friend, who has an iPhone 4, also took some footage. That night, I compared footage of the same moment on my camera to the footage from the iPhone 4. Guess what? The footage from the iPhone 4 was clearly better. So, not only was this person completely wrong in their actions, but their reasoning for those actions was completely false.

Was there a policy of no recording? Who knows. If it is the policy, it was not on the ticket. I saw no sign in the venue. No one announced it before or during the show. And I'm guessing the 100+ other people recording also saw no sign.

I want to be really clear. I don't care if there is a policy of no recording. It does not, in any way, excuse the treatment that I received. If he really wanted to single me out of the 100+ people in the crowd who were recording video, he simply could have asked me to stop recording and not disturbed me further. It would have been unfair, but at least I could have enjoyed the rest of the show. But, he went out of his way to harass, threaten and attempt to intimidate me.

This is the mentality that is killing the music industry. Harass the people who pay the money, who buy the music and buy the tickets. Harass the people who are affiliated with the publications that cover you fairly and honestly and that don't leak or pirate music. Make it difficult to secure a press pass and then watch as some hired goon threatens the people who were trying to get one.

Speaking of the "industry," hey, can I buy a USB drive or a CD with an audio recording of the show from the mixer board, either before, during or after the show? No. I would have. But, I can't. Is any stop on the tour being recorded so I can buy the audio or video? No. Not that anyone is aware of. And I would have. But, I can't.

And with that said, my low quality footage is such a big concern, in a crowd of people recording, when Diddy is encouraging people to Twitpic him photos of the concert after the show. Here's the deal: That era of extreme control is dead. People are sharing their experiences and you can't stop it. It can make you money, if you embrace it. If you try to stop it, you won't, and you'll lose money.

But, that's not the focus of this post or the most important thing here. It makes business sense for them not to do this sort of thing, but more importantly, it's the wrong way to treat people. In sharing this, I have two hopes. First, I hope that it reaches the right people in the tour camp and that this man does not treat other well meaning fans or members of the media, in whatever context, in this manner and negatively impacts their experience, like he did mine.

Second, if you're planning a tour, I hope that this serves as a reminder that you should be keenly aware of the people that you hire and how well they are trained. When you hire someone, they are your ambassador. Make sure they are a good one.

This is the bottom line: as I illustrated at the beginning of this article, I am a big fan of Diddy. I had never seen him live before this. His tours are rare and I may never see him perform live like this again. I certainly won't see him again on this tour as I can't afford to travel to any of the other stops. So, this concert was important to me. It meant a lot to me. To say that I was disappointed by what happened, is a massive understatement.

To have missed a portion of the show and to have not been able to enjoy the second half of it, because of this person, who was completely out of line, is unacceptable.

I will never be able to get that time back and, as a fan, that is what bothers me most.