With 2019 coming to a close, I can take a look back and wonder how I managed to cover that many concerts this year.
I shot 34 shows over the past 12 months. With that being said, it wasn’t an easy task to narrow my collection of shots down to the ones on this list. These 10 photos capture the essence of the respective concerts at which I took them. Just looking at them floods me with the emotions I felt standing there in the moment.
Let’s take a look back at my top 10 concert photos of 2019.
10. Marc Anthony – Chase Center – Oct. 19
We’ve all gone to concerts during which we can barely understand what they’re really singing, but this concert was entirely in Spanish. I do know some Spanglish but this was mostly new to me. Anthony’s salsa-infused vibe provided Chase Center its first Latin concert. All the heartthrob had to do to get the ladies screaming was turn his back and shake his behind. Marc Anthony’s charisma practically leaps from that photo, as he revels in his machismo.
9. Alice In Chains – Shoreline Amphitheatre – Sept. 14
After Layne Staley passed away in 2002, I never thought Alice In Chains would tour again, but William DuVall proved us all wrong. The context of Staley’s death makes this photo infinitely more important to me. Seeing William DuVall’s reverent pose makes him seem like he’s giving thanks to Staley, whose image can be seen in the screen behind drummer Sean Kinney.
8. Four Year Strong – Bottom of the Hill – Jan. 10
When you hear a punk band wants to put on an acoustic set, you might scratch your head and wonder if that’s even possible. Being a longtime fan of Four Year Strong, I started the year off by taking a chance in the first stop of the band’s acoustic tour. This photo captures the duo’s inexorable energy within a stripped-down context. It sure was hard to keep my excitement down and shoot the photos instead of singing along to the songs.
7. Raja Kumari – Rickshaw Shop – Feb. 27
I was blown away by the rap flows Raja Kumari pulled off that night during the Noise Pop Music Festival, and her blend of Hindi folk rhythms and ferocious English lyrics took me completely off-guard. The combined elements pushed this show much higher up on my list. This photo exemplifies her balance of traditional Indian aesthetics, devastating flows and unrelenting, choppy lyrics. Oh, and it wasn’t even a show I was intending on seeing. I had to be talked into it!
6. Eric Church – Chase Center – Sept. 28
As the first country performer at Chase Center and with no opening acts to proceed him, all lights were on Eric Church. His excitement brought this photo to life. Wearing his signature leather jacket and aviator sunglasses, he played for hours, covering many of the tunes in his songbook. Considering the fact I was standing 50 yards from the stage using my monopod to keep things level, I wasn’t expecting much on this night. I was surprised how much energy this shot exuded from so far away. Church’s exuberance was simply inescapable.
5. Brad Paisley – Shoreline Amphitheatre – June 7
Brad Paisley makes a point to get the fans involved at his shows. In the middle of delivering an interactive performance, he actually stopped the show to take a selfie with fellow performers with a fan’s phone. It was easy to see why Paisley remains a down-to-earth performer. He covers all areas of the stage, playing to fans all around him rather than a looking off into he distance. I bet that given more time Paisley would have given all of the fans at Shoreline a selfie.
4. Korn – Shoreline Amphitheatre – Sept. 14
With Korn coming to town, it’s safe to expect an electrifying performance. Because I was a child of the ’90s, they were always on my playlist. I don’t have the long hair, but I was head-banging from the first song to the last. Jonathan Davis and company were freaks on leashes with their dreadlocks flowing in true nu-metal fashion. Ironically, half of Davis’ stage presence comes from his mic stand, channeling the perverse artistry of the late H.R. Giger.
3. Breaking Benjamin – Concord Pavillion – Sept. 18
Breaking Benjamin shows use of a projector screen made for countless moments of opportune lighting. I could just kick back, click away and enjoy their performance. What you’ll notice in the lower left is the air conditioning duct cooling the stage during the hot day. There wasn’t just one but five ducts in the pit. The metallic exterior actually created some interesting reflections as the band effortlessly executed its set while getting blasted with much-needed cool air.
2. Cher – Chase Center – Nov. 21
Even if you are not a fan of Cher, you still know who this legend is. She’s spent the past 50 years active as an artist. She performs in various mediums of entertainment—music, film and more—and continues to put on memorable shows. Her numerous wardrobe changes would put other performers half her age to shame. Perched on a small step stool again toward the back, her energy radioed throughout the room. She filled the room with energetic singing, compelling theater and vibrant color.
1. Magic Giant – August Hall – March 1
It’s an old saying that a picture can say a thousand words, and I believe this shot embodies that idea to the fullest extent. Everything came together that night at Magic Giant’s show for a perfect memory to take with me. Austin Bisnow, Zambricki Li and Zang made their way to the center of the crowd, communing with their fans in a shared love of the songs they played that night. The photo is practically a mosaic of ecstatic emotion—a benchmark all touring bands should strive for.