My Favorite Shows of 2018
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GHOST @ Capitol Theatre
Ghost was my first show at the Port Chester venue Capitol Theatre. I took the Metro North from 125th street, a quick 40 minute train ride. There were delays in the trains that night and I was worried I wouldn’t make it in time for the show. Once I arrived, I was immediately impressed by the venue which offers snacks, food and even free water, something you don’t often find in NYC. It is a beautiful historic theatre and Ghost’s images of stained glass windows fit right in. The floor of the venue was on a slant, meaning even if you are further back in the crowd you still got a good view.
Ghost was on tour with no openers, instead they played two sets with an intermission. I had a photo pass which was good for the first 3 songs of the second set, so even if I had arrived late I would have had plenty of time. Ghost is a band I highly recommend seeing live. Their show is a spectacle like nothing I have ever seen. The members of the band are “nameless ghouls” dressed in masks and costumes. The singer, who’s persona changes each album, is a character known as Cardinal Copia. He changes outfits several times in the evening, which is one thing that I was worried about having photo for the second set. What if his outfit during the first set was more interesting and photogenic? Turned out I had nothing to worry about, as he came out in a unique red ensemble that made for dynamic photos. I was really happy with what I got and stuck around to enjoy the rest of the show.
As I was leaving, the pleasant and friendly staff told everyone to have a good night and get home safe. I have never experienced hospitality like that of the Capitol Theatre and I very much look forward to shooting more shows there in the future. A few days later, I received an email from Revolver magazine. They wanted to feature one of my photos from the show in their upcoming issue which included Ghost as their cover story. I was ecstatic as this would be my first photo published in print in almost 10 years. Now several months later, Ghost is nominated for two Grammy awards.
I just caught their last show on the A Pale Tour Named Death run at Barclays Center, which was my last show of the year. It was a huge production, featuring confetti and pyrotechnics. Only two shows on the entire tour, NY and LA, got to see pyro so it felt very special. They once again played two sets with an intermission and no opening acts. I look forward to seeing what is next for the band in 2019, especially now that singer Tobias Forge is doing interviews and making appearances sans costume.
My photos of the Capitol Theatre show can be seen on Stars and Scars: http://starsandscars.com/photos-ghost-capitol-theatre/
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PARAMORE @ Barclays Center
I was super excited to see Paramore at Barclays Center and even more excited that I was able to photograph them. I have been a fan of the band since seeing them on their very first Warped Tour back in 2005 and the last time I had the opportunity to photograph them was at the tours 2007 date in Maryland. Since then, they have released four albums - my favorite of which is their most recent release, After Laughter.
I arrived at the show nervous, having never shot at this venue before. I wasn’t sure if the lighting would be good or how big the photo pit was. Before any show, I take a look at what other photographers have been able to capture on the same tour. Not because I want to emulate or copy their work, but because I can tell what kind of lighting there is, what the stage design is like and if there are any specific moments to be ready for (such as Hayleys high kicks). It can be a bit intimidating seeing the amazing photos that have already been captured and know what I have to live up to. It was also my first show shooting with a new lens, the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8. It was risky trying out a new lens at such a big show but I really wanted the ability to utilize the wide aperture that it would allow.
Foster the People opened and their set was a bit difficult. The lighting was challenging and I felt like I might not end up with anything worth posting (I was able to salvage photos from their set with a little love in Lightroom). Overall I was hesitant going into Paramore’s set. I was pleasantly surprised when they began as they had much brighter lighting and in the end I was really happy with the photos I got of them. I was even happier when Hayley Williams herself liked my post on instagram. It means so much to know that the artist has seen my work.
My coverage of Paramore’s Barclay Center show was posted on Stars and Scars: http://starsandscars.com/photos-paramore-foster-the-people-barclays-center/
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WARPED TOUR @ Jones Beach
The end of Warped Tour was an announcement I never thought I would live to witness. I have been attending as a fan and photographer since 2004, often going to several dates in the same year. The tour has always been a great place to see all my favorite pop punk and emo bands while also showcasing local artists that I had not yet heard of. There was an atmosphere at Warped that I don’t think any festival or tour can emulate. Being there felt like some kind of dreamland where time would stop and you could be a teenager forever.
One of the bands on this years tour happened to be mychildren mybride who I have been friends with for several years. Their singer, Matthew Hasting, graciously offered me a spot on their guest list and a photo pass for the New York date. With this being the very last Warped Tour, I knew I had to be there. I don’t own a car so I took a Warped Tour shuttle bus from Penn Station out to Long Island. I got there early in the morning but there were already bands playing in the beach parking lot. Matt offered me a pop tart on his bus because I was really smart and didn’t eat anything that morning. They played fairly early in the day and I took photos of their set from the pit and the stage. Afterwards I walked around a bit taking in the sounds and sights. It was extremely hot this day so we stopped by the MCMB merch booth several times to drink some highly coveted Warped Tour canned water.
There were a few other bands on the tour I wanted to catch and photograph. I got almost every band on my list, with the exception of Waterparks who played at the same time as Palaye Royale. One band that I watched but didn’t photograph was Don Broco, an English band that I had not heard of previously. My favorite sets of the day were Nekrogoblikon and Every Time I Die. A friend of mine plays guitar for Nekrogoblikon, a metal band with a goblin mascot. They were ridiculously fun and over the top. Every Time I Die were incredible and the crowd went nuts during their set. Their singer Keith later commented on my photos from that day on Instagram. It always makes me happy when I know a band has seen my photos and even happier when I know they like them.
I ended up staying much later than I anticipated. I missed my bus home to the city and attended the infamous Warped Tour barbecue instead. I didn’t want the day, or the tour, to end. I had to take a cab to the Long Island Railroad and it ended up taking me several hours to finally get home, but it was well worth it.
My photos from the final Warped Tour’s Jones Beach date can be found on my blog: http://www.patriciana.com/blog/
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AVETT BROTHERS @ PNC Bank Arts Center
I first found out about the Avett Brothers at my last job working as an associate producer for a post production facility. They were editing and finishing the Judd Apatow directed documentary about the band. I got to see the film at the NYC premiere, which the band attended. Afterwards they played a few songs live in the theatre. I had never seen them before so it was a treat seeing them play such an intimate, private performance.
When I heard they would be touring I knew I wanted to get photo for the show. The closest date to the city was in Holmdel, New Jersey which the films editor would be attending. I got a ride with him to the venue which is an hour and a half south of the city. We got stuck in traffic on the way and I started to feel uneasy about making it in time, as the band played fairly early. We pulled up to the venue and parked in their lot, which is a several minutes long walk from the venue itself. As I ran up to the box office I could hear the band begin to play. They had my photo pass but no ticket as the show had an escort take you to the photo pit. Since I was now late and couldn’t get in on my own they had to have the escort come back to bring me to the pit, which was of course another few minutes walk from the main entrance. We literally ran from the gate to the stage and I was so worried about missing a song. I texted their tour manager who was so kind and told me to go ahead and shoot the entire set.
There was no photo pit or barricade at this show, instead I stood behind a few fans who were brave enough to stand in a fully seated venue. They put on an incredible, energetic performance and I took thousands of photos. It was a challenge for me since it was outside during the day, but under a cover that provided a lot of shade. The stage was quite large and they were a bit further back, in retrospect I would have liked to have a longer lens with me. I’m really hoping I get another chance to photograph them on a headlining tour some time soon. I highly recommend checking out their documentary, now streaming on HBO.
My photos from the Holmdel, NJ show can be found on Stars and Scars: http://starsandscars.com/photos-the-avett-brothers-pnc-bank-art-center/
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92.3 NOT SO SILENT NIGHT @ Barclays Center
I didn’t know if I was approved to shoot this show until the morning of. I got an email from the publicist that I was approved and another email confirming everything was good to go. They sent over information on the rules and a map showing where to go when I arrived. This seemed extra helpful as sometimes venue staff members don’t know where to send you. For example at the aforementioned Paramore show, I was told to go to one location but then sent back to the main window. I left work early and arrived before the first band had taken the stage. I like to capture all the bands on the bill regardless of how big they are, if I am familiar with them, or I have been asked to cover their set. This allows me to get used to the lighting and photo pit situation in advance of the headliner taking the stage. It also gives me a chance to work through any anxiety I may be having about the show.
When I arrived I was escorted into the photo pit. There were a good amount of photographers covering this show but the photo pit area was large so it accommodated everyone comfortably. Once inside the photo pit we were told that we could go to our ticketed seat at any time, but that if we were to do so we would not be able to return to the photo pit. I thought this was interesting as usually you shoot the first 3 songs, then leave and return once the next band starts. What this meant was we all got front row seats to the entire show. In total the show featured 8 bands and was 5 hours long. They saved time between sets by utilizing a rotating stage which was really cool to see.
I was particularly nervous about this show because one of my all time favorite bands, Muse, was playing. I have seen them so many times that I have lost track, and never had the opportunity to photograph their set. Before the two co-headliners sets I wanted to change out memory cards to ensure I had enough space for Florence and the Machine and Muse. I came to realize that I had forgotten my case of memory cards at work. I was in a panic and asked one of the other photographers if I might be able to borrow one. She was so kind and didn’t even ask any questions before handing me a memory card. I honestly don’t know what I would have done otherwise. I didn’t want to have to delete anything from earlier in the night, but I also didn’t want to run out of space during the biggest bands of the show.
Getting to watch Muse from up close was an absolute dream. They have been on my bucket list since I started shooting shows and I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to finally photograph them. I am hoping to get photo to the NYC date of their 2019 world tour, as nothing beats a true Muse headline show. Their stage production usually includes amazing visual effects, confetti and even drones. After the show ended I headed home buzzing with the excitement of seeing and photographing such an incredible lineup. I spent an entire day editing photos and am really excited to finally add Muse to my portfolio.
My show review and photos from 92.3 Not So Silent Night can be seen on The Pop Break: https://thepopbreak.com/2018/12/11/muse-florence-the-machine-bring-down-the-house-at-alt-92-3s-not-so-silent-night/?fbclid=IwAR3k2JfKPoX8vJduwp836Ff2oWEarG2oaXeHrEVBeisle6aZ_-34RaCsXn4