Picking one show as the best I saw in 2019 is a hard task, shooting as many as I have. Instead I picked some memorable ones, chose my favorite shots from those shows, and transformed them to black and white for a little extra mood.
As told to editor Daniel J. Willis, in no particular order…
The first three photos are from the 25th—and supposedly final—Warped Tour at Shoreline in Mountain View. The tour may be gone but will never be forgotten.
Anti-Flag jumped to new heights. They know exactly who and what they are with politically leaning lyrics and a big Warped Tour following.
Atretyu are the complete package and have become a Warped staple. With them, what you see is what you get. They may be independent but they have been around since 1998 so they’ve grown a large following. To top it off, their lead screamer loves to throw himself into the crowd. I enjoy watching these guys.
Finally from the Warped Tour is Sum 41. Showmen in the own right and always a crowd favorite, their stage presence alone keeps you wanting more and more of them and their music.
My second set are performers who have been creating music since before some of there fans were even born, but still fill the venues to capacity every show.
Even with a back injury, Phil Collins never misses a beat even after decades of touring and writing songs. Collins brings a balance to all his concerts with the hits that keep his fans satisfied to their heart’s content. As a bonus, the drummer is his son, Nicholas.
And as concerts go, what can be said about the Dave Mathews Band that hasn’t been said before? The group’s music, and Matthews’ voice, is recognizable by anyone who has listened to a radio in the past two decades.
My third and final group are a cornucopia of bands who came to town and left their impression on fans with great vocals, hard riffs and performances that will be remembered even after the last song and lights go down.
Out of all the concerts I covered, The Chainsmokers’ show was probably one of the best performances I saw in 2019. Between a stage that lowers from the ceiling in the beginning to pyrotechnic blasts and finally to the Cage of Death with three motocross riders in it it made for a great even of theatrics.
Did I mention the music was good, too?
On the hip-hop front, Meek Mill led the way. He built himself from the ground up as a songwriter and activist to grow a following that crosses cultural lines. He kept his audience in a lively mood, singing along and dancing through the show. Meek set the bar very high with his performance.
Maybe you have heard of Inhaler and maybe not, but they drew a huge crowd at their first Bay Area show—and they weren’t even headlining! The music and vocals were spot on, with Elijah Hewson’s mesmerizing vocals giving the fans a show.
If his voice on some of their songs sounded familiar, it might be the fact his father is also a crooner you may have heard of by the name of Bono. That being said, he still has his own style.
AJR shot to fame with hits like “Sober,” and the three brothers have a style of their own. Running around the stage like long-tailed cats in a room full of rocking chairs, they brought the audience to a frenzy of fun and good times.
Last but never least, if you have never heard of Slash then you probably have never had a radio or watched Guns N’ Roses banging out tunes on the Headbangers Ball in the ’90s
Slash, performing with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, hasn’t missed a lick to this day. He is still one of rock’s demigods of the guitar and didn’t disappoint when he performed at the Warfield in July.