It’s been one hell of a year for me in regards to concert photography. Four years in and I’m still completely obsessed with getting the perfect shot. I’ve come a long way in regards to my photography skills but I’ve also struggled from a creative standpoint. Just as with my day job in tech marketing whereI try to combine classic elements of marketing with a modern digital forward thinkig approach, I try to do the same with photography. There’s so much one can learn when it comes to settings, composure, lighting, and experimentation, but many times you need a bit of luck as well.
I’ve photographed close to 100 artists in 2015, here are my favorite shots.
1. Marilyn Manson at the Concord Pavillion. This could be my best shot ever and I almost missed it. Manson gives us photogs two songs to shoot instead of the customary three. I was grabbing a beer and had the set times wrong. As I took my first sip I heard the opening riff of “Deep 6” from the new record. I threw my beer down and ran down several flights of stair while pulling out my gear. There were a ton of photogs right in front of Manson and since I was late I was off to the side. But then I captured this gem.
2. Charli XCX – I love a good pop artist who actually plays their music live along with a very capable band. Charli XCX is one of those artists. Awesome set, great lighting, all around fun shoot.
3. Rise Against at the Masonic – The jump shot of the year for me.
4. The Scorpions at Blue Hills Bank Pavillion – After a speaking gig at Inbound (Hubspot’s annual user conference) in Boston, I ran across the street and photographed the 50th anniversary Scorpions tour. It was EPIC!
5. Kings of Chaos at the Fillmore – A benefit concert from a supergroup and the closest thing to a Guns N Roses Use Your Illusion era reunion we’ll see until the BIG reunion happening in 2016.
6. Kings of Chaos – My all time favorite guitar player Billy Duffy of The Cult. The Cult NEVER allow shots from the photo pit so this was a once in a lifetime opp and Billy certainly didn’t disappoint.
7. Lamb of God at the Concord Pavillion – After several attempts to get approval to shoot these guys it finally came through, and it was worth the wait.
8. Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band at the Wang Theater – I photographed a Beatle. Enough said.
9. Garbage at the Orpheum – After another speaking gig in Boston, this time at the Marketing Profs B2B Forum, I snuck out of the events to go shoot at a new venue. Nightmare lighting, no photo pit but I did manage to get this one.
10. Mikky Ekko at the Brighton Music Hall – Another show I shot in Boston. Mikky Ekko is one of the most talented singer-songwriters on the planet. Lights were non-existent at the show but I pulled out a few. This one is a favorite from that night.
11. Vintage Trouble at AT&T Park – A real pleasant surprise as these guys opened up for AC/DC. Fun shoot, great band.
12. My Morning Jacket at The Masonic – I’ve always wanted to photograph these guys and I finally got the chance. Only problem is that the first three songs of the night, the ones we are able to shoot, were all acoustic. Was hoping for a big energetic shot but I ended up capturing the exact opposite. Jim James in his element.
13. AC/DC at AT&T Park – Angus!!!! Enough said.
14. The Cult at The Warfield – My all time favorite band! Third time I’ve shot them and it’s always from the soundboard which is no fun, but this time they had pretty decent lighting.
15. Collective Soul at The Fillmore – These guys NEVER disappoint. Epic show, beautiful lighting, non-stop hits-a-palooza.
16. Beats Antique with The Preservation Hall Jazz Band at The Fillmore – One of the most unique shows of the year, a one-time benefit for the Preservation Hall in New Orleans.
17. King Diamond at The Warfield – Nightmarish lighting but the King performing the horror metal masterpiece Abigail in its entirety is not to be missed.
18. Gogol Bordello at The Warfield – Gypsy punk rock at its finest.
19. The Griswolds at The Independent – Fun band to shoot but the Independent has terrible lighting. I was leaving disappointed with my photos when I ran into the band’s tour manager on the way out and he let me up on the stage for this shot.
20. Slipknot at the Concord Pavillion – Another bucket list shoot for me, I love this shot becuase it’s sort of crazy combined with calming.
21. Grace Potter at the Fox – This woman is increbily talented. Another one of my best shots of all time.
22. Dawes at The Fillmore – Always been a fan of these guys but haven’t seen them live in years. They have come a very long way and seem to be doing a fine job of carrying the torch for epic rock n roll shows that fall somewhere between the jam band crowd and the Americana fanatics.
23. Heart at The Masonic – Ann and Nancy sounding better than ever.
24. The Foo Fighters at Shoreline – Even with a broken leg Dave Grohl makes it look easy.
25. Gary Clark Jr at Shoreline – This guy knows how to command a crowd! The closest thing we will ever have again to the great SRV or even Hendrix.
26. Whitesnake at the Regency Ballroom – Doug Aldrich left and was replaced by the incredibly talented and energetic Joel Hoekstra.
27. Refused at The Great American Music Hall – The only show this year where I literally got beaten up while trying to get “the” shot. I limped away with this one.
28. Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds at The Warfield – Another bucket list shoot. Noel was incredible live.
29. Faith No More at the Sony Centre in Toronto – Since I was missing the San Francisco dates of one of my favorite bands, I got the chance to shoot them during another speaking gig in Toronto. One of the toughest shoots of the year as there was no photo pit, we shot from the extreme sides of the venue over the top of the crowd, and there were a zillion photogs there. #ugh
30. Matt and Kim at The Warfield – Fun shoot, great show, amazing energy.
31. The Manic Street Preachers at Slims – One of my all-time favite records played in its entirety. The Manic Street Preachers playing The Holy Bible was absolutely stellar.
32. Tom Keifer on the Monsters of Rock Cruise – Tough shooting, but man what a show. Even without Cinderella backing him he’s the real deal.
33. C.C. Deville of Poison at the Monsters of Rock Pre-party in Miami- What a surprise this was to see Poison minus Brett Michaels blowing up the stage the night before the Monsters of Rock Cruise kicks off. C.C. LOVES the camera.
34. Father John Misty at The Fillmore – One of those shows that I just happened to stumble upon and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen in my life. Every song was better than the previous one. Reminded me of Boz Scaggs crossed with Niel Diamond, just incredible.
35. The Replacements at The Masonic – Like a grey haired Sex Pistols. Just fantastic.
36. Stone Temple Pilots at The Fillmore – Another bucket list shoot, even without the late great Scott Weiland. Chester from Linkin Park filled in pretty pretty pretty good.
37. Spiralarms at The Fillmore – Surprise favorite new band of the year, new to me at least. These guys opened up for STP and completely blew me away.
38. Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals at The Fillmore – I’m not at all a jam band guy, but holy hell did Ben Harper blow the roof off of the Fillmore.
39. Filter at The Regency Ballroom – Another all time favorite, I will see them every single time they come to town. Richard Patrickis a genius.
40. Best crowd shot of the year happened at the Taking Back Sunday show at The Warfield. While it looks like Dave Grohl, I assure you it’s not.
41. Taking Back Sunday at The Warfield – One of my favorite bands to shoot, they let me photograph the ENTIRE set. You can see more here in my 21 Epic photos of Taking Back Sunday.
42. Hozier at The Fox – Like going to church.
43. Periphery at The Fillmore – Progressive metal greatness, these guys were killer.
44. Bush at The Masonic – The great Gavin Rossdale still has it.
45. Patti Smith at The Fillmore – Somehow I was the only photographer at this show. Quite an honor to photograph a legend.
So that’s a wrap for 2015. See you in the New Year.