Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Las Vegas Concert Photography: Zac Brown Band

The Zac Brown Band is huge and seems to be taking the country music scene by storm.  Blending country, bluegrass, reggae, and Caribbean sounds together, the Zac Brown Band has managed to spread it's appeal beyond country music fans and could easily cross over to mainstream pop.  These are not my opinions, but those of music critics who's reviews can be found all one the internet.

On January 20th, the Zac Brown Band played to a sold-out audience in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.  I was the lucky photographer for Vegas Seven Magazine chosen to capture the event.  It was also my first time shooting a concert in the Mandalay Bay Event Center.  Not really knowing what to expect, I was happy to learn that there was a photo-pit where I'd be shooting from.  When shooting concerts, sometimes photographers are told we have to shoot from the soundboard, which can be positioned relatively far back from the stage.  This can make shooting in an already difficult environment of rapidly changing lighting even more challenging, requiring the use of a longer lens (and possibly a teleconverter), which means faster shutter speeds, larger apertures, and higher ISOs.

The photo-pit for this particular concert was very small.  Fortunately, there were only three photographers were covering the event, so we didn't have to fight for space.  Unfortunately, the stage was shaped like a giant "T" extending out in to the audience, and the photo-pit was at the top right side of the "T".  Where would Zac Brown go during the three song limit on concert photography?  Would he go all the way out to the audience providing me with nothing but nice shots of his back-side?  Would he run over to the left side of the "T" shaped stage disappearing into the darkness?  None of the above!  He saw the three photographers down at his stage left and played right to us!  Sure he walked out in to the audience, but he always faced to his left, allowing us to fire away and capture some amazing moments from the beginning of the show.

As we were escorted from the photo-pit after our three song limit had been reached, myself and the two other photographers were amazed.  We had all seen the same thing, but each something different.  One photographer who is very familiar with the Zac Brown band and couldn't believe how awesome the beginning of the concert was and how great they sounded.  Myself and the other photographer couldn't believe that we were able to shoot in near perfect conditions!  Despite the layout of the stage and the size of the photo-pit, the conditions were perfect.  Aside from a very minor lighting issue during the very first song, it seemed like Zac Brown did his best to ensure we were able to do our jobs as photographers, while at the same time, putting on a great show for the audience.

I certainly would have liked to have stayed to enjoy the rest of the concert, but I was already running on empty from my previous evening photographing the beautiful adult film starlet Dylan Ryder, as she partied at the Gallery Nightclub in the Planet Hollywood Casino, which didn't wind down until after 3:30 AM.  But that's a different blog post!  Stay tuned…

Pics from the Zac Brown Band Concert below.  Click on any image to be taken to the full gallery on my website.


Zac Brown Band


Zac Brown Band


Zac Brown Band

I love hearing from my readers.   You can follow me on Twitter or use the "Contact" button to get in touch, so feel free to send me your comments and let me know if you have any suggestions.  Please visit my the concert section of my website to see these and additional photos from all the shows.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Las Vegas Concert Photography: The Cab

Screaming fans?  Check!  Sold out venue?  Check!  Kick-ass music?  Check!  You shouldn't expect anything less when The Cab take the stage.

I first had the opportunity to photograph these guys at last summer's Mix 94.1 Bite of Las Vegas, where they shared the stage with Michelle Branch, Colbie Caillat, Mat Kearney, and O.A.R—an impressive line-up of artists, to say the least.  Their performance then was nothing short of spectacular.  They're a highly energetic band--full of charisma.  Fast-foward a few months later and The Cab are kicking off a national tour starting in their hometown at the Hard Rock Cafe on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip.  Once again, they brought the energy and put on another great show!

One of the things that strikes me the most about The Cab, aside from their musical talent, is how appreciative they are of their fans and how easily accessible they make themselves.  During the show, lead singer, Alexander Deleon, invites fans to talk to them, take pictures with them, and get autographs.  Send out a tweet tagging one of the guys and don't be surprised if you get a response.  I've had this happen a few times already with bassist Joey Thunder.

The Cab is one of my new favorite bands.  Their lyrics are fun and engaging. I love their energy and their stage presence.  And they're fun to see in concert, which is really what it's all about.

Pics from the show below.  Click on any of the images to be taken to the full gallery.


The Cab


The Cab


The Cab


The Cab


The Cab

I love hearing from my readers.   You can follow me on Twitter or use the "Contact" button to get in touch, so feel free to send me your comments and let me know if you have any suggestions.  Please visit my the concert section of my website to see these and additional photos from all the shows.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Las Vegas Photography: The Circus Comes To Town!

The circus!  Who doesn't love a good circus?  It doesn't matter how many times you've seen the clowns, or the man who shoots himself out of a canon, or the animals, the jugglers, the contortionist, or even the four motorcycles racing around inside a sphere seemingly too small for them to fit.  It never really seems to get old!  The circus is just one of those things that always be enjoyable to the young and old.

The Orleans Arena recently hosted The Circus Spectacular from Jan 5-8.  I was there to photograph one show each day.  With a three hour runtime, there's a lot of entertainment.  In fact, there's so much entertainment that the circus can't even feature all of their acts.  One of the interesting things I noticed that was omitted from all performances except the opening night was the use of fire.  Seeing someone juggling fire while walking the outside of the Wheel of Death, 75 feet above the ground with no safety net, really packs a visual punch.  There are apparently some restrictions against the use of fire inside The Orleans Arena so all elements of fire were removed from the remaining shows, which I think is rather unfortunate.  

Seeing a show five times can be a bit overkill, but each time I watched the show I was entertained!  Granted I was concentrating on trying to capture everything through my camera lens, but the performances never got old.  There's always an element of danger in every act and the slight chance something unexpected can happen; and I guess that's what always makes it so entertaining.  

The Circus Spectacular is a top-notch circus.  I look forward to attending next year and hopefully having the opportunity to work for them again as their photographer.

Pics from the show below. Click on any picture to be taken to the full gallery of pictures.


Circus Spectacular


Circus Spectacular


Circus Spectacular


Circus Spectacular


Circus Spectacular

I love hearing from my readers.   You can follow me on Twitter or use the "Contact" button to get in touch, so feel free to send me your comments and let me know if you have any suggestions.  Please visit my website  to see these and additional photos from all the shows that I've photographed.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Las Vegas Concert Photography: Guns n' Roses

The last time I saw Guns n' Roses was back in the 1992.  They were on tour with Metallica and Faith No More was the opening band.  The word iconic as a description of this concert is still a bit of an understatement.  Three of the biggest bands of the time, all in one venue, for a concert that lasted nearly six hours.  It was legen……wait for it...…..dary!  And I was there!

Fast-forward 19 years and Guns n' Roses is back!  And with a vengeance, no less.  This time they were touring with Las Vegas locals Adelitas Way and former Skid Row frontman, Sebastian Bach.  While Adelitas Way and Sebastian Bach may not sound like a line-up comparable to the GNR Stadium Tour of 1992, make no mistake, Adelitas Way and Sebastian Bach give monstrous performances.

Adelitas Way has only been in the mainstream spotlight since 2009.  As the opening act for the concert, they quickly got the crowd warmed up for what was going to turn out to be four additional hours of music split between Sebastian Bach and Guns n' Roses.  Prior to this concert, I hadn't listen to any of their music, but I will definitely be keeping an eye on these guys, as they have the potential to become much more influential.

Bach has been around as a rock singer for a very long time and to hear him singing, still quite capable of hitting those ridiculously high notes that defined him as a singer earlier in his career, it beyond impressive.  If you weren't a fan at first, you will be, as you simply can't help but be impressed by the fact that Bach can absolutely ROCK!  Unlike some other bands from the late 80's early 90's who have toured recently, know how to still play their instruments, but the vocal talent has long left the building, Bach can still belt out his most popular hits from the Skid Row heydays and sounds simply amazing!

Guns n' Roses, has recently gained a reputation for making their fans wait, with shows started hours later than planned.  Needless to say, the crowd roared, and the Hard Rock Hotel PR staff relieved, when the band took the stage at 11:05 PM—almost exactly on time.  Even more amazing is the repeated promptness on NYE.  I know because I was fortunate enough to be at both shows.  The first night I was shooting the show for Seven Magazine and the second night I was there because, well, what better way to spend NYE than with my wife, rocking out to Guns n' Roses!

So how does this Guns n' Roses compare to the Guns n' Roses of the 90s?  They had attitude back then and they've still got it now!  They were awesome back then and they're still awesome!  And Axl sounds pretty much exactly the same—his vocals comparable to a very fine Single Malt Scotch.  One of the more interesting points about this iteration of GnR is the blur between lead guitar.  DJ Ashba, Richard Fortus, and Ron Thal seamlessly take over the various lead rifts famously present in the numerous GnR hits.

So they played and they played.  For three hours, the fans with rewarded with hit after hit and musical interludes featuring each band member.  I would have preferred a full three hours of just the hits, but there is no denying the excitement that was radiating from the over 3,500 people crammed in to The Joint on NYE 2012 listening to the Titans of Rock known as Guns n' Roses!

Due to the photo release I signed prior to shooting the show, I'm still waiting on official permission to use my photos with this post.  However, while I was there the second night, I was under no such release and did capture one picture with my cellphone:

Guns n' Roses performs November Rain at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel on NYE 2012

UPDATE:  Permission received.  Pics from the show below.  Please be sure to click on any of the pictures to be taken to the full gallery on my website.


Guns n' Roses


Guns n' Roses


Guns n' Roses
Axl Rose


DJ Ashba
DJ Ashba

Ron Thal
Ron Thal


Richard Fortus
Richard Fortus

I love hearing from my readers.   You can follow me on Twitter or use the "Contact" button to get in touch, so feel free to send me your comments and let me know if you have any suggestions.  Please visit my the concert section of my website to see these and additional photos from all the shows.