[Editor's Note: Longtime concert photographer Andrew Youssef found out almost two years ago that he had Stage IV Colon Cancer. In that time, he has continued to shoot tons of music events for our sister paper OC Weekly on top of other freelance work and working a day job at a hospital, of all places. As he continues to fight for his life, this series allows him to tell his story in his own words.]
Lindsey Best Andrew Youssef
By Andrew Youssef
Music has been a large part of my life for as long as I can remember. My fascination with concerts started back in 1984 at the tender age of nine when I attended Judas Priest at the Long Beach Arena with my brother and our father, who was our escort. It was a spectacle to behold as I can still remember Rob Halford driving onto the stage on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. Flashing lights, scorching twin guitar leads and Halford's punishing vocals are what cemented my love affair with concerts.
As I have alluded to in previous columns, I truly believe that music is keeping me alive. Photographing and attending concerts gives me the physical and mental energy I need to keep battling this disease. When I first started getting my biweekly chemotherapy treatments, I was scared to attend any shows within the first week as the side effects of tiredness, nausea, diarrhea and my horrifying skin rash squashed my will to attend shows.