On Sunday June 17, 2018 three iconic bands from the 70’s & 80’s took the stage at MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater in Tampa, Florida. Styx tours yearly and always has an incredible line up of stars with them. This year was the band Tesla and Joan Jett & the Black Hearts.
Tesla opened their eight song set with a rocking start as lead singer Jeff Keith belted out I Wanna Live then went right into Hang Tough. Vocally Jeff was strong as he worked his way across the stage, giving the audience a show of his still youthful moves and kicks. Mid set they performed the iconic Signs cover from Five Man Electrical Band. It was an incredible fifty minute set. Dave Rude (the only “new” member) is fun to watch on stage, he plays to the audience with flair. Overall they were tight and the audience was into the experience.
Next up was Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. I saw Joan Jett last year and wasn’t really impressed with her vocals, however this year she was on the money. Her Vocals were strong and remained so throughout her sixteen song set. She began her set with Bad Reputation and continued with several of her own songs and quite a few covers such as Cherry Bomb from her former band The Runaways, The Arrows I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll and Tommy & the Shondells Crimson and Clover. She also performed I Hate Myself For Loving You and Fake Friends. Overall her set was solid and she performed well. Unfortunately there are no photographs as no one was approved for Joan.
Last up was STYX, iconic and strong and one of this writer’s favorite 70’s & 80’s bands. This band does not disappoint. Lawerence Gowan (1999) is not just a great vocalist, but he’s an incredible showman and fits right in with James “J.Y.” Young (founding member 1970), Tommy Shaw (1975), Ricky Phillips (2003) and Todd Sucherman (1996). STYX opened their set with Overture which showcased each member as they entered the stage and opened with Gone, Gone, Gone followed by Blue Collar Man and The Grand Illusion. The set continued with them doing all of their best hits such as the rock ballad Lady and Too Much Time on My Hands. We were waiting on founding member Chuck Panozzo to make an appearance; as he normally does and I heard he did in Oklahoma. However, it did not happen in this show.
The only cover was Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody performed by Lawrence Gowan. STYX closed their set with Come Sail Away and encored with Mr Roboto; yes, you read that correctly. Renegade was their final number for the evening.
Over all this entire tour was fantastic and delivered all that was expected.
Music is my first true love. As far back as I can remember I loved to sing and to perform music and I even took a turn at teaching music. I don’t get to sing anymore, but I now photograph musical artists as part of another passion; photography.
Music is a universal language, every culture has music and it brings people together in celebrations no matter what the reason. I have learned something significant in being able to photograph concerts; people are happy when they are listening to music. I photograph everything from Country to Hip Hop and I have found that people of all colors can come together, love each other and enjoy being in the same place with each other. Last night was proof that multi-cultures can work together and treat each other like humans are supposed to. It was refreshing to be away from the political crap of division and to just be happy humans; A rainbow of humans out enjoying music.
“I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I’d like to hold it in my arms
And keep it company
I’d like to see the world for once
All standing hand in hand
And hear them echo through the hills
For peace through out the land
(That’s the song I hear)”
April – what can I say? It’s been one of those months and we are just halfway through. My weekends are here and gone before I realize it, yet I’m invigorated by the bustle of it all. I have had something every single weekend and will have until mid May. I’m still booking portraits and other shoots on top of this during the week so my time to sit and write has been limited, but I wanted to share with you my audience what I’ve been about the past few weeks.
The highlight has been Stars on Ice. If you are not familiar it is the Ice dancing show with our Olympic Champions. It’s so exciting to mingle with these young people who are so passionate and excited about their sport, many fresh off the plane from PyeongChang at the 2018 Winter Olympics. This was my second year being hired by Stars and it was even better than last year, the show was incredible! The skaters so kind and friendly and fresh faced. Adam Rippon (Silver medalist PyeongChangcame) up to me and introduced himself , Charlie White (Gold medalist with his partner Meryl Davis, Sochi winter Olympics) remembered me from last year and did something quite special for me……I still get chills thinking about it (you’ll see it in the photo).
I take nothing for granted, I know how special this is and I look forward to doing it again next year!
Okay it’s time to stop overthinking and get back to work of being a blogger.
On Thursday I worked our local arena for the Florida Gulf Coast University’s NestFest (they are the FGCU Eagles). You may be familiar with FGCU because a couple of years ago they were in the Sweet 16 basketball playoffs as complete unknowns and became “Dunk City”
First I stopped to get myself and the Channa the young woman whom I report to, a healthy bite to eat; it’s going to be a long night!
NestFest is a yearly spring hiphop concert event put on by FGCU for the students as their college year winds down. On this year’s stage is A Boogie wit da Hoodie & Hoodie Allen
A Boogie wit Da Hoodie & Hoodie Allen
If the names are not intriguing enough, you have to meet the players of the bands. Interesting to say the least. Please enjoy as I bring you Hoodie Allen and Boogie Wit Da Hoodie!
There are times when life slows down to a snail’s pace and other times I feel as if I can’t catch my breath. This month was one of those times.
I was supposed to have gone to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens with my photo group, but because I had such a late night the Friday before with the Garden Bros. Circus, I woke and decided not to push it. We have a horrible flu epidemic going around and the first thing I don’t want to do is lower my immune system and come down with the flu because I’m stressed and making myself over tired. I also had a large metal concert, RoxStock and I needed to be on my A-game while mentoring a young lady and wanted to give her my best self.
That Sunday found me doing a class on portraiture (always want to add some training to my time behind the camera) and then Sunday afternoon another event Clam Jam. So I cleaned house and just relaxed to some great Mozart instead of going to the gardens.
I had decided a few weeks ago to take the following Monday off because I was offered a behind the scenes tour at Calusa Nature Center with a fairly new photographer friend. It was a wonderful way to end the long weekend. The rest of February was pretty much a blur with concerts and side shoots throughout. I enjoy being busy and I see no let up in March, so keep a look out as I’m trying to also do more writing and sharing with my followers.
I hope you enjoy sharing my adventures as much as I enjoy sharing them. Until next time, get out there and shoot something!
This past weekend found me camping and photographing a concert in the swamp; The 1st Annual The Everglades Roots Festival with headlining band Grass is Dead. It was a weekend for stepping back to a simpler life for a few days, to unwind and prepare for a busy rest of the month and Trail Lakes Campground is the perfect spot. Sunday found me back to civilization with the iconic The Moody Blues. Their music takes me back to my teen years in the seventies and a time I often wish I could return.
Not only did I photograph them on stage, but also was hired to shoot their meet & greet! I really do GET to do this! I am really blessed, to be able to photograph the bands I grew up with and love.
This weekend I will be out with a local radio station and enjoying many bacon influenced dishes. bring on 94.5 The Arrow’s Bacon Jam!
Please enjoy a few of my photos from this weekend.
Little Green Heron
Crawfish taken by Tommy Owen
Grass is Dead
Fire in the swamp
The Moody Blues
The Moody Blues
The Moody Blues
The Moody Blues
The Moody Blues
Most of the time I enjoy looking back on my year. However, this year I slacked, a lot, and I have to make some changes. I just didn’t get out as much as I normally do. Even during camping season it seemed it was always interrupted with something I “had” to do. I wasn’t as intentional as I had been the past few years. I didn’t create good content for my Facebook page and actually neglected it. I had something happen that set me off into the “not good enough” thought process, which in turn caused me to purge a lot of unneeded stress in my social media life. But I would go out and take photos and think, “these are not good, what am I doing trying to create good photos when I can’t do it?” I really had to shake that mindset; I am my own worst critic.
Life was disrupted with a move in the middle part of the year and it was during a very stressful time. I’m still trying to adjust. Then, in September we were hit by one of the largest hurricane’s in recent history. Irma totally upset my world, but I came out a whole lot better than many of my friends did and I can tell you I am most grateful for that blessing. Yet, the stress was still there and even guilt that so many lost so much and I didn’t. I can’t explain why it was that way, but it was; again I am so grateful to not have had any damage.
Sometimes life gives you those old lemons and it’s not always easy to make the lemonade. In fact, I have thrown a lot of lemons away because I just could not bring myself to make them work. Ever feel like that?
I’m looking forward to a clean start with 2018, I won’t make promises I can’t keep, but I will put a lot more effort into making it an incredible year personally and professionally.
Here’s a look back on what I did accomplish photographically:
A cute Super Hero
Four homes down from me.
Rod Stewart & Cyndi Lauper
Stars on Ice
The Late Chris Cornell, two weeks prior to his death
A wedding profile
I recently photographed Ted Nugent. I know, I know his name rings controversy with many who don’t like his politics or his passion for hunting and guns and those who think he leans too far to the right for their taste. This is not for me to decide, we each have our own beliefs which might be just as biased in the opposite direction, he’s entitled to his beliefs just like every other American. Regardless, he’s a self-taught artist who has has a successful career in music and continues to literally rock the stage and has done so for many years. I’m not interested in anyone’s opinion on his politics or beliefs, my job is to capture the artist and his artistry, it’s what I do.
Not many artists begin their set with the Star Spangled Banner….Ted did and the room stood in respect, it was a great Patriotic entrance.
You can see in his face, he truly loves his craft. Please enjoy the photos
A few years ago I had the opportunity to see Sir Rod Stewart in concert, I purchased a really good ticket and was excited to drive to the east coast to see him. A couple of days prior to the concert I had gotten the flu and was terribly ill, however I was hoping to feel better and attend the concert in Sunrise. Day of the concert get’s here and I am still not feeling 100%, but I kept thinking by the time I need to leave I will feel better. NOPE, the time came to leave and I tried to go, but it wasn’t going to happen. I was really bummed and I kept the ticket to remind myself how close I got.
Rod Stewart was returning in concert again, and I decided this time to put in for credentials to photograph him along with Cyndi Lauper. As the time approached I had not received word so I had given up and made other plans for the day. An email came at 10:59pm on Friday night, but I didn’t open my email until mid morning Saturday, I was ecstatic to learn that I had been approved to photograph he and Cyndi Lauper at Amalie Arena in Tampa Florida and quickly printed out the parking pass and the release form, got my gear together and headed out the door.
Cyndi Lauper came out strong and was incredible. Rod came on stage with the flair he’s known for, he was a bucket list artist for me and what an honor to photograph him, he was fabulous! The extra treat was a last minute change in number of songs I could shoot, as they added a song with he and Cyndi singing together!
What a great experience in a place I had never photographed before. And even though I have been doing this sort of photography for quite some time, I did learn a few things; bring your ID, they need it for you to get through security, I didn’t have it on me, but they let me in anyway, and bring a small step stool, I actually have one, but it’s heavy and I have already looked at some online which I will be purchasing soon, it will come in handy.
I think this concert was what I needed to relieve me of the funk and writer’s block I have been having. Please enjoy….until next time from the pit.
Rod Stewart & Cyndi Lauper