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.
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.
Colbie Cailliat came back to the Bowl this year, this time as a co-headliner. The young, pop country/rock fusion artist donned her sweet voice, playing to a crowd, mixed of young and old, many youngsters there with their parents. It was definitely an all-ages show.
Boping all over the stage, Gavin DeGraw opened the show. He spent a lot of time on a grand piano. I heard that during the tour, the two co-headliners switched off as to who opened and who closed. I heard some people say they liked Gavin's more energetic performance, but I also enjoyed Colbie, who walked right up to the edge of the stage, giving me some great photo opportunities. Her white dress and fair skin against a jet black background provided for perfect contrast.
See the full gallery on gallery.sbbowl.com
I have to admit that I'm not such a big country fan, but good live music is just one of those things that transcends preference.
Craig Campbell opened the show for Mr. Jackson as he jumped all around the stage, personalizing his performance with great audience interaction. He even came over and looked me right in the eye. But when Alan came out, the entire venue got up on it's feet. Even though the floor was lined with chairs for as a reserved-seating show, that didn't stop the smiling fans from crowding the stage and dancing for most of the performance.
Alan Jackson is a seasoned pro, and he walks around the stage with a confident swagger. If you like country, you won't go wrong seeing him perform live.
Wow. What an amazing show Sugarland puts on!
I'd heard it uttered several times, but this was my first time seeing them live. I admit, I'm not a big country fan, although I do like pretty much any live music if the musicians are talented. And now I'm a Sugarland fan!
Opening acts were much more "country" than the headliner, but they were both quality performances, too. Since I didn't realize I was going to be shooting from the soundboard, I jetted home right after Canaan Smith's first song to get a bigger lens. I made it back, just in time for Laura Alaina, who was an American Idol winner.
My favorite highlight of the show was when David Stewart of the Eurithymics came out to play some songs with Sugarland. They started with Here Comes the Rain, and ended with one of my all-time favorites, Would I Lie To You?
Check out the gallery on gallery.sbbowl.com
Last night was interesting. The place from where the photographers were designated to shoot changed a few times. After shooting Vusi Mahlasela for a single song, I booked all the way back to my studio to grab a 300mm lens, which I was going to need for Ray LaMontagne.
By the time I got back to the staging area, I was sweaty and stressed out, and the second act, Brandi Carlile was already on stage at the Santa Barbara Bowl. The show was on September 11, 2011. The perky, petite powerhouse, Brandi really brought the house down with her fast-paced, country music. She was quite the charming crowd-pleaser. I photographed her also from the floor.
I had to shoot the headliner, Ray LaMontange and the Pariah Dogs, from up at the sound board. The lens I used wasn't the greatest, but I got a decent shot. My favorite images from the show were definitely of Brandi.
See them all at gallery.sbbowl.com
Mellow show and tricky shooting.
Last night I brought a 600mm lens to shoot from the sound board. This was a tricky show. The lighting was totally flat, and there were two microphone stands directly in front of Ms. Krauss, effectively blocking the shot throughout the duration of my brief, two song window. It's mid summer now, and the lighting on stage is totally flat during the first half of each show. It's too light to use a dramatic spotlight, and the pavilion roof keeps the performers in the shade.
As you can see, my best image was when she stepped away from the mic, basically waiting for someone else to finish their jam. I even had to apply some Photoshop filter effects to add some punch to this photo.
Opening the show was Good Old War, a trio with a lot of punch.
Check out the gallery at gallery.sbbowl.com
What a fabulous show! You might think these guys are has-beens, but Neil Young, Richie Furay, and Stephen Stills have still got their acts together. The were as tight an act as they were in the '70s.
On June 7, 2011, I was privileged with being able to shoot Buffalo Springfield at the Santa Barbara Bowl. Shooting conditions were good, but I had to shoot from the soundboard with a 600mm lens.
Opening the show was Gillian Welch, a country music duo.=
Please check out the gallery at gallery.sbbowl.com
On April 25th, 2011, I had the opportunity to shoot Robert Plant and the Band of Joy at the Santa Barbara Bowl. Though I've seen Mr. Plant three times before (billed as just Robert Plant), this was the first time I was able to photograph him.
I had to shoot from the soundboard, but I rented a 600/f4 lens. That beast, coupled with my 1.4x teleconverter, got me up nice and close.
The show was congruent with Plant's modern trend of fusing country and rock. One highlight for me was a reggae-sounding version of Black Dog, slowed down and strummed out.
Please checkout the gallery at gallery.sbbowl.com
On April 18, 2011, I shot Mumford & Sons at the Santa Barbara Bowl.
Wow! What an amazing act these guys have. They're sort of a fusion between country, rock and alternative music. They really put a lot of energy into their music.
The opening act was The Tallest Man on Earth, a big sound for a short guy soloing on guitar.
Please check out the gallery at gallery.sbbowl.com