Arcade Fire quickly sold out their show at the Bowl. Their Reflector tour was highlighted by a beautifully creative backdrop of shiny reflective panels, which was cleverly raised and lowered through the show. Shooting was difficult as their was a stairway that rose from the floor, up to the stage, and all of us photographers were restricted to a single small space near it. The band came out wearing giant, parade-style masks and costumes. The stage was definitely a spectacle to see, and during the third song, there was a blast of confetti, which covered the crowd.
See the gallery on gallery.sbbowl.com
Bowl regulars, Slightly Stoopid came back this year with their tour called, Summer Sessions 2014. Opening the show were Stephen Marley and Cypress Hill, the later of whom required photography from back of the floor. The other two acts afforded shooting from in the photo pit, against the stage. Slightly Stoopid often has a very generous photo policy, allowing me to shoot their entire act.
Dead era, jam band specialists, Ratdog (featuring Bob Weir) played to an eclectic crowd of young hipsters and old hippies, alike. The Chris Robinson Brotherhood opened the show during the late afternoon sunshine. Shooting conditions were excellent from right in front of the stage.
This was a super-chill show at the Santa Barbara Bowl. Joan Baez is perhaps the most seasoned, female, singer/songwriter, folk guitarists still performing today. She played on a simple stage with her dog stretched out by her side in an intimate, living room-style show. I shot her and the Indigio Girls from the soundboard with my 300/f4 and doubling teleconverter. It was difficult to get a shot of her singing without her mic blocking her face. While not terribly exciting, the photos do tell the story of this gently presented show.
See the gallery here on sbbowl.com.
Officially titled The Sounds of Summer Tour 2014, this blockbuster, classic rock 'n roll show blasted its way through the Santa Barbara Bowl. Oddly, the show was opened by a local teen choir group, who belted out their fresh voices unaccompanied by instruments to a crowd 3-4 times their age.
After their brief set, Don Felder graced the stage with his silvery-white hair, jamming his Les Paul guitar. You may recall that Felder was not only a guitarist for the Eagles, but he wrote some big hits of his own in the 80's, such as Heavy Metal. While in the Eagles, Felder was responsible for adding a more powerful guitar sound to their music, also co-writing some of that group's biggest hits. I was permitted to shoot from the photo pit. Unfortunately, there was an impassable barrier in the center, and I was obligated to choose one side or the other, then stick with it for all entire three songs I was allowed to shoot.
The same shooting restrictions were in place for Styx, who I shot from the left, then Foreigner, who I shot from the right side. Styx were real showmen as they were last time I shot them. I got some fun stuff of them individually, but it was nearly impossible to get a single shot of the entire group, especially because the drummer was so far back and the keyboards were so far to the left. I really wanted a good keyboardist shot, which is why I chose to shoot them from the left side.
Foreigner really rocked it with some extremely dramatic-yet-dim lighting. The vocalist got right in my face a couple times, once pushing his mic just a few inches from my camera. I was a little dismayed that front-man and songwriter, Mick Jones, didn't come out until half-way through song five. I was permitted to shoot songs 4, 5 and 6. In any case, I shot a lot of photos and got some great rock 'n roll photographs.
See the full gallery here on sbbowl.com.
While soul is not one of my favorite types of music, I was still interested in shooting the artist, Maxwell, at the Santa Barbara Bowl last night. Shy Girls opened the show. It seemed to me that this performance had brought a large number of people from out-of-town, which added to the novelty of the show. I was restricted to shoot from the soundboard. The lighting was a difficult color for capturing pleasing skin-tones, so many of the images clearly worked better as black and whites. I used my 300/f4 and 70-200/2.8 with teleconverters to extend the reach.
See the gallery on sbbowl.com.
I was very pleasantly surprised by Sarah McLachlin's performance the other night. Of course, I was familiar with many of her top-hit songs, but to see her radiant performance live instantly made me fan. In addition to her talent as a singer-songwriter, she also demonstrated a personable character, sharing some humorous stories about herself. What a beautiful woman.
I was able to shoot, kneeling in front of the first row on the floor, so I had ample opportunity to capture her elegance during the first three songs. Glad I had knee-pads with me. See the photos on sbbowl.com here.
Opening this country show at the Santa Barbara Bowl for the country guitar virtuoso, Hunter Hayes, were duo team Dan + Shay. There was quite a lot of action on stage for both acts. Unfortunately, I was restricted from shooting at the soundboard. I shot most of the show with a 300/f4 and a 70-200/2.8, both with teleconverters to add reach.
The shots from the Hayes act are restricted by the artist management, so I've used a shot from Dan + Shay to denote this story. You can see the entire gallery on sbbowl.com here.
James Taylor is one of the most successful singer/songwriters who still tours. I've seen him now a couple times, and for both, I've been able to shoot. Both times have been at the Santa Barbara Bowl, and both have been from the soundboard. Shooting from up there obviously creates other limitations. This time, I brought a newer 400/2.8 lens (L IS II) and coupled it with a 2X teleconverter (II). This creates a pretty darn clean 800mm f/5.6 reach, so I was able to get right up to him. For being constrained to right behind the soundboard, shooting with that lens combo isn't so bad. Of course, there was the problem of not being able to move to minimize the presence of the mic stand or water bottle.
These photos are restricted by the artist management, so I can't place one on this website, but you can see what I got by visiting the Bowl's website here at gallery.sbbowl.com.
Bryan Ferry kicked off the Santa Barbara Bowl's 2014 Concert Season by putting on a great show. Opening for him was Dawn Landes, who's music I found to be easy and compelling. I was able to shoot the opener while kneeling, front of stage. For Ferry, I did the same for three songs, then was able to shoot the rest of the show from the "wings" off the side of the floor. I used the opportunity to shoot a panoramic image from a new location.
To see the images, check out the gallery on gallery.sbbowl.com.