The second quarter of 2013 started off with another soundboard shoot, but this time I was ready. I used a Nikon 400m f/2.8 paired with the Nikon D4 to photograph the Rihanna tour stop at the Valley View Casino Center. I was really happy with just about everything about that shoot except for two little things. The first was that we had to actually give the photo pass back. No idea why, it was color coded and dated. It wasn’t like we could use it again and honestly, I like keeping the photo passes from the shows I shoot. So no photo pass for the show. The second thing is one of my biggest pet peeves and that is when the performer starts late…. really late. To me that means that they have no regards for their fans. Rihanna started late, very late. The show was supposed to start at 7:30pm and because my images are automatically time stamped I know that A$AP Rocky took the stage at 8:48pm and Rihanna started at 10:21 pm.
The next shoot was out at the Belly Up. I was asked to cover the Langhorne Slim and the Law show. I was really impressed with Langhorne and while the light was a little tough, I enjoyed the show.
Next up was a comedy show at the Valley View Casino Center where Gabriel Inglesias brought “Fluffy” comedy to San Diego. Great show, great sight lines and funny to boot. Wish every show was like this.
One of the most bizarre events I get to photograph is the Life in Color dance party. It’s a rave where the attendees get covered in paint. Yes, paint. They shoot the paint from canons, they use a firehose, they throw it out in buckets. I cover my camera in a lot of plastic and gaffer tape and hope for the best. The images are really fun.
May is the start of summer in San Diego and that means it’s time for the radio station summer concert season to kick off. this year it started with the Channel 933 Summer Kick-off featuring Ne-Yo, Demi Lovato, Trey Songz, The Wanted, Cher Lloyd, Olly Murs, ZEDD, Emeli Sande, Jessica Sanchez, and Icona Pop. I love shooting these shows since I get to cover a ton of bands and each set is usually short enough to make the day go by pretty fast. The odd part of this show was that all the artists allowed photography from the pit except Demi Lovato who made us shoot from the sound board for no reason I could determine.
Then it was back to the San Diego House of Blues and the Suicidal Tendencies with Sick of it All opening. Loud, energetic, crowded and everything you could ask for at a concert shoot.
One of the best nights in 2013 was spent with Dennis McNally and Billy Payne at the Belly Up Tavern. Dennis and I have been friends for years and it was great to catch up with him. Getting to meet and photograph Bill Payne was really special. I have been a fan of his music for years and his photography is great. Listening to Dennis tell stories about his time on the road with the Grateful Dead was a blast. I had heard some of the stories before during conversations backstage while photographing Bob Weir and RatDog, but watching the crowd hang on each word was really fun. It was an intimate evening with two great story tellers. Wish there were more nights like that.
There are a couple of bands that I have been fortunate to photograph numerous times over the last few years. One of those is Billy Idol and in 2013 he kicked off a tour in Temecula. I was able to shoot the whole show and got to hang out with my buddy Charles for a while. All in all a pretty good night.
May ended with another LED rave at the Valley View Casino Center.
June was one of the busier months for me this year. I got to photograph some of the biggest names touring right now like Mumford and Sons and Justin Bieber. I got to hang out with a dear friend at a gig in LA and spent the afternoon checking out the 2013 Warped Tour. I also shot my first show of the year at Humphries one of my favorite venues in San Diego.
Lets start with the Mumford and Sons show at Sleep Train Amphitheater in Chula Vista. A sold out show by one of the most popular band touring today and a freeway closure made this show one that I will not soon forget. At some point in the afternoon a gas main was pictured or damaged to the point where they had to close down the main freeway south making getting to the venue an exercise in frustration. It also caused the whole shot to be postponed by 1/2 hour. The Mumford and Sons show produced two of my favorite images of 2013, the first was of the guitar player for the opening act Michael Kiwanuka who gave off a very cool “Hendrix” vide and the second is of bass player Ted Dwayne.
I’ve been friends with mark Karan for a long time now and spending a day in Los Angeles with him while he sat in with Steve Taylor at the Mint. As a bonus, JT Thomas was also there. Now, while the lighting at the Mint isn’t the best, the energy and fun the guys on stage were having more than made up for it.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are a joy to photograph. A pure joy. This was my first 2013 shoot at Humphries but it wouldn’t be my last.
Art Leboe Freestyle Jam took place at the Valley view Casino Center with the following lineup: Stevie B, Lisa Lisa, Debbie Deb, The Cover Girls, Johnny O, Cynthia, Pretty Poison, Stacey Q, Nocera.
The Warped Tour arrived in San Diego on June 18 and while it can be a crowded shoot, there are usually some great shots to be had.
Justin Bieber might get a ton of negative press and at times his behavior seems a very self-destructive, but he does put on a huge show.
Half the year over… more to come.
As always, every image was captured on Nikon cameras with Nikkor lenses on Hoodman CompactFlash and SD cards and Sony XQD cards.