Featuring Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, TTB rocked down the house with very special guests, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. The two performances were genuinely great and included an opening set by Doyal Bramhall III. During an encore, all three bands took the stage. I was allowed to shoot the first three songs from all three acts, plus the encore, all in the photo pit. The lighting was generally excellent, except that Ms. Jones could have been better lit while they were all on stage together. I did get some great shots, and you can see them on sbbowl.com/photos.
I had an opportunity to shoot TTB late last year at the Arlignton Theatre, so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. Both were great shows with good photo opportunities. I've also shot Mr. Bramhall before, when he performed at the Experience Hendrix tribute tour; that show was also at the Arlington, back in 2010.
Legend rock 'n rollers, Aerosmith graced the Santa Barbara Bowl with a smashing performance. I wish I could have shot the drum solo and encore as they were quite a spectacle.
I did get to shoot three songs, though, from behind the ADA section. I had to choose one side, and I picked stage right (house left). I shot most of the show with my 400/f4, but it wasn't easy. The crowd in front of me were dancing and waving their arms in the air, blocking many of my best shooting opportunities. Otherwise, I did get some great shots, but they are restricted form personal use, so you'll need to visit sbbowl.com/photos to see the gallery.
Living Colour opened the show, and they, too, rocked the house.
Double-header singer-songwriters, David Gray and Amos Lee performed at the Santa Barbara Bowl. During their tour, they took turns headlining, and at the Bowl, Amos went first. An early starting July show, Mr. Lee was in direct sunlight, which worked well against the charcoal black background of the stage. I got to shoot the first three songs of each from an uncrowded photo pit, but right after Lee's performance, I snuck in a backstage shot of him hanging out with some of the users. Mr. Gray began on the piano, then grabbed the mic stand walked out to the edge of the stage with it, right in the middle of the second song.
Opening the show were three talented sisters called, Joseph (from Joseph, OR).
See the gallery at sbbowl.com/photos.
One of my favorite working comedians of all time came this year to the Santa Barbara Bowl. Comedian, Ted Alexandro, was a good choice to open the show. And Gaffigan made me laugh so hard my cheeks were sore. While I was shooting, I was trying so hard to hold back laughter that I couldn't keep my big lens steady. I had five minutes to shoot from the soundboard.
As a Gaffigan fan, I can definitely say that the images I captured are classically him. Check them out at sbbowl.com/photos.
For the first time ever, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra came to the Santa Barbara Bowl. This performance was directed by Alan Gilbert and brought here by the Music Academy of the West. There were two locations I was permitted to shoot from: the soundboard and house-left, behind the ADA section (handicap). I was allowed to shoot the entire show, but I needed to keep my camera silent, which meant using a blimp (which I don't own) or using silent mode and a thick sweatshirt wrapped around my quiet camera body (5D mk III) and bottom of the lens. This also meant no bursts and keeping still during quiet moments.
We happened to have a nice sunset that night, so that added some brilliance to the house photos. See the entire gallery at sbbowl.com/photos.
Aretha Franklin came back to the Santa Barbara Bowl to perform her hits and other "diva" standards. The performance sound was good, but from the point of view of a photographer, the lighting was challenging. I had to shoot from the soundboard and only got the first 60 seconds of each of the first three songs. Three minutes is not a whole lot of time to get everything figured out in those conditions. My images were not superb, to say the least, and I opted to print, for the Bowl, one of her walking out on stage.
The images are also restricted by contract, so you'll have to visit sbbowl.com/photos to see any of them.
Oddly enough, a comedian, Sarah Tiana, opened the show, and she was quite funny and also in great light.
Philly rapper, Wiz Khalifa, returned to the Santa Barbara Bowl with a host of other talent, including Chevy Woods and D.J. Drama. While this kind of music isn't my favorite, there were definitely some good photo opportunities from where I shot in the photo pit. Though tight, there was sufficient room to maneuver among the dozen photographers. I had three songs to work with, and since there were two opening acts, it was dark enough for some good stage light.
See the gallery on sbbowl.com/photos.
Local artist, Jackson Browne returned to the Santa Barbara Bowl a couple days ago with his full band. Jackson regularly plays around Santa Barbara, always to benefit a local charity. Tonight's show benefitted Sanctuary Centers of Santa Barbara, to help people with mental health conditions.
The show was classic Jackson, but the shooting conditions were about as bad as they get. I was restricted to only two short songs from the left floor wing (far left, stage right); from that vantage point, most of the band was obscured by one thing or another, and I had to wait for Jackson to turn his head pretty far to the right, in order to get a decent shot. To make matter worse, this was an August, 7pm show with no opening act. Translation: still too much daylight for concert lighting, but otherwise, flat, dim, shadow light on stage. The photos aren't very interesting from an artistic point of view.
Anyway, you can see the small gallery on sbbowl.com/photos.
Alabama Shakes has their own, special kind of blues. Lead singer, Brittany Howard, is about as unique as it gets. She's young, confident and talented and can belt out a hell of a bluesy scream, while jamming away on her six string. It was a pleasure shooting them and the opening act, Chicano Batman. Batman has coopted blues and given it a funky twist. I really enjoyed shooting, watching and listening to them both.
Shooting was in the photo pit, restricted to the first three songs. Lighting was good, utlizing warm yellows against a bright blue backdrop. See the whole gallery on sbbowl.com/photos.
Dressed in white as a frozen ballerina and playing to a more intimate crowd, Lindsey Stirliing pounded out an amazing performance at the Santa Barbara Bowl. This girl is one of the most talented performers you'll find, with her own genre of violin-rock, complimented by a choreographed feast of dance and stage sets. Although the lighting was dimly lit with a lot of black-light blues, I was able to grab some great shots. Many times, Lindsey looked me in the eye, and a couple times, she came right up to me. She moves fast, so you need high ISO and a fast lens to really grab her, but if you can escape the motion blur, she's amazingly photogenic. I shot the first three songs from the pit, and it was difficult to pick only one favorite.
In all her youth, Olivia Somerlyn opened the show, followed by Lights with a very solid performance.
Check out the full gallery on sbbowl.com/photos.