On the heels of a new album, Incubus put on another great concert of their own brand of indie, hard rock. As always, their light show was a significant part of their performance. This year, the lighting on the artists was a little dimmer and more challenging to photograph than in years past. I think this was my third time shooting them, and I had some good opportunities from the photo pit, but I was restricted to the sides only.
See the entire gallery on sbbowl.com/photos.
Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals returned to the Bowl for an anxious crowd. Gill Landry opened the show. The lighting was bright, brilliant and colorful, making for some great photography. I shot from the photo pit for the first three songs, acquiring plenty of great shots.
Checkout the full gallery on sbbowl.com/photos.
This year's reggae bash was called, Catch A Fire, and included headliners Damian and Stephen Marley, of a dozen different acts. I photographed nine of them and was quite exhausted by the show's end. This was not to mention the hours of photo editing, to maul through some twenty-five hundred images. Nonetheless, I was able to capture some great moments, shooting in a rather tight photo pit.
Check out a huge gallery of images on sbbowl.com/photos.
Indie rockers, Death Cab for Cutie are a favorite of Santa Barbara. I've seen them at the Santa Barbara Bowl now three times and once at the Arlington Theatre, and they never fail to please. Lead singer, Ben Gibbard, is a musical genius, also the principal of Postal Service, who played at the Bowl last year. Opening the show was Best Coast.
I was able to shoot the show from the photo pit, but it was about as tight as I've ever seen it. To make matters worse, there were a dozen photographers squeezed in there like sardines, making it pretty much impossible to move around once you picked out a spot. Gibbard always seems to have lots of mic stands in front of him to amplify his myriad of instruments, so this show was particularly challenging for me. Additionally, the lighting was mostly hot red or hot, black-light blue, which makes for undetailed images unless they're converted to grayscale. I did leave a few of these in color to show the brilliance.
Anyway, check out the full gallery at sbbowl.com/gallery.
Indie jam rockers, My Morning Jacket, put on a phenomenal show at the Santa Barbara Bowl this year. After having seen them for the first time only a couple years ago, I knew to prepare for a mind-blowing performance. Hair-flipping guitarists, Jim James and Carl Broemel put on a photograph spectacle that didn't let me down.
Fruit Bats opened the show, also jamming away to a small, but captive audience. I had a chance to shoot them at Soho during the New Noise Festival a couple years back, and they sounded even better with a big sound system.
See the whole gallery on sbbowl.com/photos.
Neil Young and his new band, Promise of the Real, played the Santa Barbara Bowl to a sold out crowd. The show was excellent, save for the significant amount of political preaching, which was even considerable for a Neil Young concert. I got to shoot the first three songs from the sides of the photo pit, and had to share a tiny space with lots of other photographers. Only Neil was on stage for my duration, playing one song on a beat-up piano, and two on an acoustic guitar. There were lots of camera stands on stage and four mic stands, all creating a difficult obstacle course.
While the photography might not have been my best opportunity, the camera production was fantastic, projected on two large screens for the whole venue to see. "Down by the River" was mind-blowing and was followed by a few more late songs, pushing the boundaries of Santa Barbara noise curfew: the show went until 10:38pm. Neil was begging for martyrdom in this rebel tour, also handing out illegally transported sprouted seeds to the crowd. He actually dared the police to come arrest him.
Since the photos are restricted from use on this website, you'll have to shoot on over to the Bowl's website to see the gallery here.
Shawn Colvin put on a pleasurable performance, opening the show for Mr. Don Henley, soloist and rock 'n roll legend from the Eagles. Henley opened the show with his whole cast, doing the vocals-only, Seven Bridges Road, a real treat to hear live. I had to shoot both acts from the soundboard, covering most of it with my 400/f4 lens. Because neither Henley nor Colvin moved around too much, I was able to get some pretty sharp images with the 2X teleconverter attached. On my 1D Mark IV camera body (1.3x crop factor), this amounts to 1040mm of telephoto reach. Not too bad.
Because of a restriction from the Henley camp, I'm prohibited from posting his photo here. Shawn Colvin pictured.
See the gallery at sbbowl.com/gallery.
The Counting Crows put on a dynamic show to a sold out crowd the other night at the Santa Barbara Bowl. I actually had a ticket to see them several years back, but they had to cancel due to an illness. So, I was not only happy to finally get my raincheck, but I got to photograph them, to boot. The show was opened by two great acts, Citizen Cope and Hollis Brown, both of whom I had to shoot from the soundboard.
I got to shoot Counting Crows from a kneeling position on the floor, right up against the stage, which was difficult considering all the subwoofers on the floor and the sound monitors on the edge of the stage. I really got a good workout going up and down to the soundboard for each of the openers, then squatting and hobbling for the headliner, all while wearing all my gear. The lighting was great, and the first three songs seemed plenty long to work with.
See the gallery on sbbowl.com/gallery.
The Scorpions put on a phenomenal show last week at the Santa Barbara Bowl, celebration their 50th anniversary. Founder and lead singer, Klaus Meine, led he group for a sold out show. The double-decker stage set was as big as the sound, and it included a drummer's platform, which rose up fifty feet or more from the floor during Kottak's drum solo. Unfortunately, I was only permitted to shoot during the first three songs, so I didn't capture that act on film.
Opening the show was Queensryche, who also pounded out some powerhouse tunes.
I shot the first three songs from behind the ADA (handicap) section, which was a bit difficult because the music was so good that most everyone was standing and dancing, blocking some of my shots. I had to pivot around a lot.
See the full gallery on sbbowl.com/photos.
Mr. Fisher's other company, In Color, has designed the wrap for the Santa Barbara Bowl's new water station, donated by Jack Johnson's organization. The backdrop image was taken by A. Arthur Fisher. See the full press release:
Santa Barbara, CA – On Tuesday, musician and environmentalist, Jack Johnson presented the Santa Barbara Bowl today with a custom Water Refill Station, in support of the Johnson’s All At Once Sustainability Award, which recognizes venues making a strong commitment to green practices and the environment. Water Refill Stations will also be presented to the two other award winners, the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland (IMP Presents), and the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater in New York (Live Nation).
Last December, the Santa Barbara Bowl with promoter Nederlander Concerts, received an inaugural All At Once Sustainability Award in the “Green Leader” category, for ongoing excellence in waste reduction and sustainability and for making every effort to meet Johnson’s Environmental Rider during his 2014 From Here To Now To You Tour. As a result of the award and water refill station, fans will now be able to refill reusable water bottles and cups from the venue, cutting back on plastic waste at the Santa Barbara Bowl shows.
The Bowl is being recognized as a leader in venue greening and for implementing best practices, piloting new initiatives, and setting the stage for others to follow. The Greening the Bowl campaign aims at making the venue as close to carbon neutral as possible by decreasing the Bowl’s ecological footprint. Recent greening initiatives include removal of non-native plants, a bike valet service, solar power, and implementation of waste-diversion recycling and composting programs.
Additionally, as part of Jack Johnson’s 2014 shows, the Santa Barbara Bowl in collaboration with LoaTree, launched the innovative #MyPintAndMe initiative to reduce single-use disposable plastics by selling customized pint cups. Bowl patrons can bring their pint cups to every Bowl show and receive drink discounts for the life of the cup. Since the inception of the program the SB Bowl has seen cost savings from the reduction in plastic cups purchased and waste hauling fees
Rick Boller, Executive Director Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation, states “We are honored to receive the All At Once Sustainability Award. We have enjoyed our on-going partnership with everyone on Jack Johnson’s team and their support and assistance in launching all of our Greening the Bowl initiatives. We mostly want to recognize and thank our patrons for their active participation with the MyPintAndMe program. It is exciting to have so many supporters do their part in reducing over 10,000 plastic cups since Jack Johnson’s concerts in 2014.”
Johnson, whose music career began in Santa Barbara, is proud of his hometown venue’s greening efforts and specifically their commitment to reducing single-use plastics. “Being an ocean loving community we all appreciate the Bowl’s leadership in keeping plastic out of the waste stream, knowing that so much of it finds it’s way to the sea,” said Johnson.
The award ceremony is timely, as Johnson recently returned from the 5 Gyres SEA Change expedition from the Bahamas to Bermuda, conducting research on plastic ocean pollution, where he was able to see environmental impacts first- hand and discuss solutions with leading scientists, artists, and ocean advocates. While in the Bahamas, Johnson was also designated as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme to help promote environmental causes, including plastic pollution initiatives.
In addition to recognizing outstanding green venues like the Santa Barbara Bowl, Johnson continues to improve his own sustainability practices on the road. The 2014 From Here To Now To You Tour eliminated over 18,392 single-use plastic bottles with water refill stations and reusables, supported 35 local farms with the purchase of locally grown and organic produce, sourced over 10,054 gallons of sustainable biodiesel and offset an estimated 2,462,600 pounds of CO2 through green touring and fan participation. Through Johnson’s All At Once campaign, the tour supported over 150 community groups focusing on plastic free initiatives, sustainable local food systems, and other hands-on environmental projects.
For more information visit: www.jackjohnsonmusic.com/greening and www.allatonce.org