To say 2022 was a great year for me as Concert Photography goes would be the understatement of the year! However I must add, I also had a season press pass for the New York Riptide; Long Island’s professional lacrosse league.
Please indulge me as I run through the list of stellar shows I had the opportunity & privilege to shoot: Susan Aquila/Joey Jem, YYNOT, Ace Frehley, Devon Allman with Samantha Fish & Eric Gales, Buddy Guy with Colin James, Sevendust with All Good Things & Plush, Primus, Gypsy – A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac, Get The Led Out, Kerry Kearney & Brandon “Taz” Neiderauer, Colin James (Solo), Gov’t Mule, Mickey Lyxx, Joe Bonamassa with Kenny Wayne Shepherd & Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening, Testament with Exodus & Death Angel, Brandon Gibbs & Joel Hoekstra, ZZ Top, Jeff Beck(Did Not Shoot), Judas Priest with Queensryche, Steve Vai, Lez Zeppelin, Blackmores Night and finally, John Petrucci!
As you can see, the shows have varied quite considerably but each and every one has been outstanding. From smaller venues like 89 North right on up to Nassau Coliseum AKA “The Barn”; Patchogue Theatre to Jones Beach, it would be impossible to rate such talent as to who would shine the most. But what I would like to point out is that some ratings would be affected by the surroundings and environment for example, as great as Queensryche and Judas Priest were, I ended up leaving soon after the first three songs of Priest!! You know the old saying, “If its too loud, you’re too old”? Well guess what, it was way too loud! However Rob Halford is still proving why he is the Heavy Metal God!
On the other side of the spectrum, Patchogue Theatre either hired a very qualified audio engineer or installed a new high end PA system. As talented as Richie Blackmore & Candice Night are, along with John Petrucci, their sound was amazing, matching their respective talent!
One thing that I did find that was unfortunately inconsistent, was the photographer protocol at The Paramount. As much as I wanted to stay for Primus after the three song limit was over, the place was a complete sell out which is obviously great for the venue, but was a bit too cramped for my style. In addition, the barricade that is typically used to separate the crowd from the stage and give room for security left me wondering why the barricade was even in place!! It was literally 18 inches from barricade to edge of stage with absolutely no room for photographers to move about in order to “get the shot”. There were other performers that preferred the photographers to shoot from the sound board or perhaps it was “house rules” for that particular night! I could understand having to shoot from the sound board for acts such as Jeff Beck, which I didnt shoot, and Steve Vai as the venue had theater seating, which meant there was no barricade. In my opinion, acts that insist on having a barricade when General Admission is the nights set up such as ZZ Top or Lez Zeppelin, then I believe we, as photographers, should be granted barricade access.
Speaking of barricades, I will never understand the “house rules” for Jones Beach! The barricade is approximately 8 feet from barricade to edge of stage, yet photographers are only granted to shoot from the Front of House, or Sound Board location! In my opinion, I believe the reason for this particular rule at Jones Beach is because the videographers dont want photographers in their way of “getting the shot” for the jumbotron on each side of the stage! Its only for the first three songs for 90% of the acts that grace their stage so I think they can be a bit more accomodating!
As we near the new year, I am keeping a keen eye out for the upcoming tours from more bands; bands that have either been on hiatus because of the pandemic or perhaps just didnt get a chance to get out there! For whatever reason, I am starting to see my calendar “wishfully” filling up!! I can only hope next year will be better. But then again, isnt that what we always wish for at the end of every December?
For highlights of this past year, I have created a larger than normal gallery posted below. And of course, feel free to visit my gallery website, where prints are available for purchase, of your favorite artists at www.robarmstrongphotos.com
See you next year!!