My Favorite Concert Photos of 2014

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2014 in Seattle was a banner year for me and my concert photography. I was invited to join Seattle Music Insider (SMI) and Guerrilla Candy, two music concert review and blog sites which cover shows throughout the Pacific Northwest. I’ve greatly enjoyed the friends, bands and fellow photographers that I’ve worked with and alongside this year and look forward to what lies ahead in 2015. In looking back over the past 12 months, I was fortunate to photograph 226 shows this year which consisted of several of my favorite artists of all time and I was exposed to many new acts who I’ve quickly become a fan of this year. Here are my favorite concert photos of 2014:

January 17, 2014: Justin Timberlake at Key Arena. Photo by John Lill

January 17, 2014: Justin Timberlake at Key Arena. Photo by John Lill

February 11, 2014: The X Ambassadors perform at Key Arena as opening support for Imagine Dragons. Photo by John Lill

February 11, 2014: The X Ambassadors perform at Key Arena as opening support for Imagine Dragons. Photo by John Lill

February 11, 2014: Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons, Seattle 2014. Photo by John Lill

February 11, 2014: Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons, Seattle 2014. Photo by John Lill

February 16, 2014: Miley Cyrus at the Tacoma Dome. Photo by John Lill

February 16, 2014: Miley Cyrus at the Tacoma Dome. Photo by John Lill

March 16, 2014: Joan Jett & the Blackhearts perform at Snoqualmie Casino in support the band's latest release, "Unvarnished." Photo by John Lill

March 16, 2014: Joan Jett & the Blackhearts perform at Snoqualmie Casino in support the band’s latest release, Unvarnished. Photo by John Lill

March 23, 2014: ZZ Top at the Paramount Theatre. Photo by John Lill

March 23, 2014: ZZ Top at the Moore Theatre. Photo by John Lill

March 28, 2014: Caleb Followill Kings of Leon performs at Key Arena in Seattle in support of their latest album, Mechanical Bull. Photo by John Lill

March 28, 2014: Caleb Followill Kings of Leon performs at Key Arena in Seattle in support of their latest album, Mechanical Bull. Photo by John Lill

April 9, 2014: Ayron Jones performs "Refugee" at the Showbox during Petty Fest 2014. Photo by John Lill.

April 9, 2014: Ayron Jones performs “Refugee” at the Showbox during Petty Fest 2014. Photo by John Lill.

April 18, 2014: Sevendust perform an acoustic concert at El Corazon in Seattle in support of their latest release Time Travelers and Bonfires. Photo by John Lill

April 18, 2014: Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust performs an acoustic concert at El Corazon in Seattle in support of their latest release Time Travelers and Bonfires. Photo by John Lill

April 20, 2014: Snoop Dogg performs at WaMu Pavillion on 4/20 in Seattle. Photo by John Lill.

April 20, 2014: Snoop Dogg performs at WaMu Pavillion on 4/20 in Seattle. Photo by John Lill.

May 16, 2014: Macklemore perfoms in disguise at the EMP for the kick-off of the VIVID Spectacle: The Music Video exhibition. Photo by John Lill

May 16, 2014: Macklemore perfoms in disguise at the EMP for the kick-off of the VIVID Spectacle: The Music Video exhibition. Photo by John Lill

June 24, 2014: Matt Nathanson performs at Marymoor park in Redmond, WA. Photo by John Lill

June 24, 2014: Matt Nathanson performs at Marymoor park in Redmond, WA. Photo by John Lill

June 24, 2014: Gavin DeGraw performs at Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA. Photo by John Lill

June 24, 2014: Gavin DeGraw performs at Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA. Photo by John Lill

July 1, 2014: Nancy Wilson of Heart performs at Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA. Photo by John Lill

July 1, 2014: Nancy Wilson of Heart performs at Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA. Photo by John Lill

July 8, 2014: Ms. Lauryn Hill performs at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, WA. Photo by John Lill

July 8, 2014: Ms. Lauryn Hill performs at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, WA. Photo by John Lill

July 18, 2014: OK Go perform at Neumos in Seattle. Photo by John Lill

July 18, 2014: OK Go perform at Neumos in Seattle. Photo by John Lill

July 19, 2014: Chris Daughtry performs at Chateau St. Michelle. Photo by John Lill

July 19, 2014: Chris Daughtry performs at Chateau St. Michelle. Photo by John Lill

August 14, 2014: Sammy Hagar performs at Tulalip Casino with Michael Anthony, Jason Bonham and Vic Johnson. Photo by John Lill

August 14, 2014: Jason Bonham performs with Sammy Hagar at Tulip Casino. Photo by John Lill

August 14, 2014: Sammy Hagar performs at Tulalip Casino with Michael Anthony, Jason Bonham and Vic Johnson. Photo by John Lill

August 14, 2014: Sammy Hagar performs at Tulalip Casino with Michael Anthony, Jason Bonham and Vic Johnson. Photo by John Lill

August 14, 2014: Sammy Hagar performs at Tulalip Casino with Michael Anthony, Jason Bonham and Vic Johnson. Photo by John Lill

August 14, 2014: Vic Johnson of Sammy Hagar’s band at Tulip Casino. Photo by John Lill

August 15, 2014: Steve Winwood performs as opening support for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Gorge. Photo by John Lill

August 15, 2014: Steve Winwood performs as opening support for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Gorge. Photo by John Lill

Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Gorge. Photo by John Lill

August 15, 2014: Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Gorge. Photo by John Lill

August 15, 2014: Eye contact and a smile from Tom Petty at a sold out show at the Gorge. Photo by John Lill

August 15, 2014: Eye contact and a smile from Tom Petty at a sold out show at the Gorge. Photo by John Lill

August 24, 2014: Blues legend Buddy Guy performs at Chateau St. Michelle winery. Photo by John Lill

August 24, 2014: Blues legend Buddy Guy performs at Chateau St. Michelle winery. Photo by John Lill

August 24, 2014: Peter Frampton performs at Chateau St Michelle during his Frampton's Guitar Circus tour. Photo by John Lill

August 24, 2014: Peter Frampton performs at Chateau St Michelle during his Frampton’s Guitar Circus tour. Photo by John Lill

August 25, 2014: The Eagles perform at the Tacoma Dome in support of their "History of the Eagles tour." Photo by John Lill

August 25, 2014: The Eagles perform at the Tacoma Dome in support of their “History of the Eagles tour.” Photo by John Lill

August 27, 2014: Matt Shultz of Cage the Elephant at Showbox SODO in Seattle. Photo by John Lill

August 27, 2014: Matt Shultz of Cage the Elephant at Showbox SODO in Seattle. Photo by John Lill

August 29, 2014: Elvis Costello performs during Bumbershoot at Seattle Center. Photo by John Lill

August 29, 2014: Elvis Costello performs during Bumbershoot at Seattle Center. Photo by John Lill

August 30, 2014: Legendary funk bassist Bootsy Collins performs at Bumbershoot. Photo by John Lill

August 30, 2014: Legendary funk bassist Bootsy Collins performs at Bumbershoot. Photo by John Lill

September 1, 2014: Neon Trees perform at Bumbershoot. Photo by John Lill

September 1, 2014: Neon Trees perform at Bumbershoot. Photo by John Lill

September 1, 2014: Reverend Horton Heat performs at Bumbershoot. Photo by John Lill

September 1, 2014: Reverend Horton Heat performs at Bumbershoot. Photo by John Lill

September 4, 2014: Pharrell Williams performs at Century Link Field to celebrate the kickoff of the 2014 NFL season. Photo by John Lill

September 4, 2014: Pharrell Williams performs at Century Link Field to celebrate the kickoff of the 2014 NFL season. Photo by John Lill

September 4, 2014: Soundgarden performs at Century Link Field to celebrate the kickoff of the 2014 NFL season. Photo by John Lill

September 4, 2014: Soundgarden performs at Century Link Field to celebrate the kickoff of the 2014 NFL season. Photo by John Lill

September 9, 2014: Coheed and Cambria perform at the Paramount Theatre. Photo by John Lill

September 9, 2014: Coheed and Cambria perform at the Paramount Theatre. Photo by John Lill

September 12, 2014: Pop Evil perform at White River Amphitheater during Pain in the Grass. Photo by John Lill

September 12, 2014: Pop Evil perform at White River Amphitheater during Pain in the Grass. Photo by John Lill

September 12, 2014: Buckcherry perform at White River Amphitheater during Pain in the Grass. Photo by John Lill

September 12, 2014: Buckcherry perform at White River Amphitheater during Pain in the Grass. Photo by John Lill

September 12, 2014: Godsmack perform at White River Amphitheater during Pain in the Grass. Photo by John Lill

September 12, 2014: Godsmack perform at White River Amphitheater during Pain in the Grass. Photo by John Lill

September 12, 2014: Rob Zombie performs at White River Amphitheater during the Pain in the Grass music festival. Photo by John Lill

September 12, 2014: Rob Zombie performs at White River Amphitheater during the Pain in the Grass music festival. Photo by John Lill

September 13, 2014: AFI at the Gorge. Photo by John Lill

September 13, 2014: AFI at the Gorge. Photo by John Lill

September 13, 2014: Chester Bennigton of Linking Park at the Gorge. Photo by John Lill

September 13, 2014: Chester Bennigton of Linkin Park at the Gorge. Photo by John Lill

September 25, 2014: Sam Smith performs at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle. Photo by John Lill

September 25, 2014: Sam Smith performs at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle. Photo by John Lill

Oct 4, 2014: Lilly Allen performs at the Paramount. Photo by John Lill

Oct 4, 2014: Lily Allen performs at the Paramount. Photo by John Lill

Oct 6, 2014: The Dropkick Murphys from Bosoton perform at Showbox SODO. Photo by John Lill

Oct 6, 2014: The Dropkick Murphys from Bosoton perform at Showbox SODO. Photo by John Lill

October 21, 2014: James Bay performs at the Showbox in Seattle. Photo by John Lill

October 21, 2014: James Bay performs at the Showbox in Seattle. Photo by John Lill

November 20, 2014: Fleetwood Mac performs at the Tacoma Dome. Photo by John Lill

November 20, 2014: Fleetwood Mac performs at the Tacoma Dome. Photo by John Lill

November 22, 2014: Steel Panther at the Tacoma Dome. Photo by John Lill

November 22, 2014: Steel Panther at the Tacoma Dome. Photo by John Lill

November 22, 2014: Satchel of Steel Panther at the Tacoma Dome. Photo by John Lill

November 22, 2014: Satchel of Steel Panther at the Tacoma Dome. Photo by John Lill

November 22, 2014: Judas Priest at the Tacoma Dome. Photo by John Lill

November 22, 2014: Judas Priest at the Tacoma Dome. Photo by John Lill

November 26, 2014: Usher performs at Key Arena. Photo by John Lill

November 26, 2014: Usher performs at Key Arena. Photo by John Lill

Monophonics perform at the Nectar Lounge in Freemont. Photo by John Lill

December 2, 2014: Monophonics perform at the Nectar Lounge. Photo by John Lill

 

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Joan Jett & The Blackhearts Rock Snoqualmie Casino

 

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When people think of women of rock their minds immediately go to Joan Jett. Jett, now 55 years old, is aware of this and continues to uphold her title as the one of the most influential female musicians of all time. Twice, she and the Blackhearts have been nominees for the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and how she has yet to be selected for induction is shocking. Nobody before or after her arrival in the mid-70’s with The Runaways has carried the punk rock torch that Jett still does to this day.

While most women her age are preoccupied with their mid-life crises or wondering when they are finally going to be grandmothers, Jett is still rocking the power chords and singing about sex, love and hate with an unwillingness to accept her age as a determining factor of what she should be doing at this point in her life.  This Pennsylvania native turned New York rocker continues to rock.  She still tours with The Blackhearts which are made up of life long producer and songwriting partner Kenny Laguna on keyboard, Acey Slade on bass guitar, Dougie Needles on lead guitar, and Thommy Price on drums.

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Bringing her Unvarnished tour to Snoqualmie Casino on a rainy Sunday night to a sold out crowd, Jett entered the stage to Sandy Nelson’s “Let their Be Drums.”  She and the band kicked the night into gear with the song “T.M.I.” off of her latest release, Unvarnished. She then launched into a selection of classic crowd pleasers including “Cherry Bomb”, “Do You Wanna Touch” and “Bad Reputation” all with the audience joining in singing the choruses.

Jett delivered the hits over the course of a rapid 80-minute, 18-song set. Much of her set was devoted to new tunes from her last few albums that only the most dedicated of Jett fans have heard. The preponderance of non-classics is a credit to Jett and the fact she’s still writing aggressive, catchy anthems of the love you/hate you/screw you variety. Some of the new tunes “Hard to Grow Up,” “Reality Mentality,” and “TMI” worked really well and compliment the classic tracks of Jett’s music catalog.

If you hadn’t known her age, you would have never guessed Jett to be in her 50’s. Her voice hasn’t aged a day and her physique hasn’t changed a bit in the last three decades! There were a plethora of sexual innuendos in her performance along with the occasional grin, tongue whip and wink. Many of today’s top female artists from Miley to Katy to P!nk are obviously influenced by Jett’s trailblazing music and performance.

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The show was definitely too short, but what the fans got was a strong performance. Looking around the crowd, it was clear all aspects of Jett’s fan base were on hand. There were both hipsters and punks who recognize Jett for the pioneering force she is – a woman who started her own label, Blackheart Records, after being rejected by all the majors after pursuing a solo career post-Runaways. There was a large contingent of lesbian fans who recognize her as an icon in their community, and there were a whole lot of classic rock fans who just wanted to hear some of the tastiest American straightforward rock produced by a truly unique voice.

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts perform at Snoqualmie Casino in support the band's latest release, Unvarnished. Photo by John Lill

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts perform at Snoqualmie Casino in support the band’s latest release, Unvarnished. Photo by John Lill

 

Set List:

TMI

Cherry Bomb

Do You Wanna Touch

Bad Reputation

Soulmates to Strangers

Make it Back

You Drive Me Wild

Fragile

Love is Pain

Hard to Grow Up

French Song

Any Weather

I Love Rock N Roll

Crimson and Clover

I Hate Myself For Loving You

 

Encore:

Reality Mentality

A.C.D.C.

Everyday People

Looking Back: The Best of 2013 Seattle Concert Photos

2013 has been a banner year for my concert photography. I moved to Seattle after three years in San Diego and was determined to make the most of living in one of the greatest music scenes in America. I’ve managed to shoot in almost every venue over the past seven months and have been fortunate enough to shoot some of the most amazing artists including many on my bucket list such as Paul McCartney, Black Sabbath and local favorites, Pearl Jam. Below are my personal favorites from 2013.

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals at the Moore Theatre in Seattle. Photo by John Lill

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals at the Moore Theatre in Seattle. Photo by John Lill

Queensryche with Geoff Tate at the Moore theater in Seattle, WA. during a 25th Anniversary performance of Operation Mindcrime. Photo by John Lill

Queensryche with Geoff Tate at the Moore theater in Seattle, WA. during a 25th Anniversary performance of Operation Mindcrime. Photo by John Lill

Paul McCartney is joined by Dave Grohl as he performs "Cut Me Some Slack" at Safeco Field in Seattle during his "Out There"  2013 tour of North America. Photo by John Lill

Paul McCartney is joined by Dave Grohl as he performs “Cut Me Some Slack” at Safeco Field in Seattle during his “Out There” 2013 tour of North America. Photo by John Lill

Gavin Degraw performs at White River Amphitheater in Auburn, WA. Photo by John Lill

Gavin Degraw performs at White River Amphitheater in Auburn, WA. Photo by John Lill

"The Script" perform at White River Amphitheater in Auburn, WA. Photo by John Lill

“The Script” perform at White River Amphitheater in Auburn, WA. Photo by John Lill

Train at White River Amphitheatre during their Mermaids of Alcatraz Tour. Photo by John Lill

Train at White River Amphitheatre during their Mermaids of Alcatraz Tour. Photo by John Lill

Sammy Hagar performs at Tulalip Resort and Casino on the opening night of his Four Decades of Rock tour. Photo by John Lill

Sammy Hagar performs at Tulalip Resort and Casino on the opening night of his Four Decades of Rock tour. Photo by John Lill

Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath performs at the Gorge in Quincy, WA in support of the bands latest release, "13." Photo by John Lill

Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath performs at the Gorge in Quincy, WA in support of the bands latest release, “13.” Photo by John Lill

Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath performs at the Gorge in Quincy, WA in support of the bands latest release, "13." Photo by John Lill

Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath performs at the Gorge in Quincy, WA in support of the bands latest release, “13.” Photo by John Lill

Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience performs at Key Arena in Seattle during Bumbershoot 2013. Bumbershoot is an annual three day music festival in Seattle. Photo by John Lill.

Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience performs at Key Arena in Seattle during Bumbershoot 2013. Bumbershoot is an annual three day music festival in Seattle. Photo by John Lill.

Patrick Simmons of the Doobie Bros performs at Tulalip Amphitheater. Photo by John Lill

Patrick Simmons of the Doobie Bros performs at Tulalip Amphitheater. Photo by John Lill

Kelly Hansen of Foreigner performs at Tulalip Amphitheater in Marysville, WA. Photo by John Lill

Kelly Hansen of Foreigner performs at Tulalip Amphitheater in Marysville, WA. Photo by John Lill

Wesley Schultz of the Lumineers performs at Marymoor Park in Redmond, Wa. Photo by John Lill

Wesley Schultz of the Lumineers performs at Marymoor Park in Redmond, Wa. Photo by John Lill

Vintage Trouble perform at Bumbershoot 2013 in Seattle. Bumbershoot is an annual three day music festival. Photo by John Lill

Vintage Trouble perform at Bumbershoot 2013 in Seattle. Bumbershoot is an annual three day music festival. Photo by John Lill

Ricky Phillips of Styx performs at Snoqualmie Casino during their 2013 North American tour. Photo by John Lill

Ricky Phillips of Styx performs at Snoqualmie Casino during their 2013 North American tour. Photo by John Lill

Jack Johnson performs at the Paramount theater in Seattle. Photo by John Lill

Jack Johnson performs at the Paramount theater in Seattle. Photo by John Lill

Nancy Wilson of Heart performs at Key Arena during Bumbershoot 2013.

Nancy Wilson of Heart performs at Key Arena during Bumbershoot 2013. Photo by John Lill

The Eagles perform at Key Arena during their "History of the Eagles Tour." Photo by John Lill

The Eagles perform at Key Arena during their “History of the Eagles Tour.” Photo by John Lill

Gary Clark Jr performs at the Neptune in Seattle in support of his album "Blak and Blu" Photo by John Lill

Gary Clark Jr performs at the Neptune in Seattle in support of his album “Blak and Blu” Photo by John Lill

Warren Haynes of Gov't Mule performs at the Neptune Theater in Seattle in support of their latest album, "Shout." Photo by John Lill

Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule performs at the Neptune Theater in Seattle in support of their latest album, “Shout.” Photo by John Lill

Drake performs at the Tacoma Dome on Dec 4th in support of his album "Nothing Was the Same." Photo by John Lill

Drake performs at the Tacoma Dome on Dec 4th in support of his album “Nothing Was the Same.” Photo by John Lill

Josh Groban performs in the round at Key Arena in Seattle, WA. Photo by John Lill

Josh Groban performs in the round at Key Arena in Seattle, WA. Photo by John Lill

Lorde performs at Key Arena during 107.7 The End's "Deck the Halls Ball." Photo by John Lill

Lorde performs at Key Arena during 107.7 The End’s “Deck the Halls Ball.” Photo by John Lill

Danish rock band, the New Politics perform at Key Arena as opening support for Pink. Photo by John Lill

Danish rock band, the New Politics perform at Key Arena as opening support for Pink. Photo by John Lill

P!NK performs at Key Arena in Seattle during her "Truth About Love" tour. Photo by John Lill

P!NK performs at Key Arena in Seattle during her “Truth About Love” tour. Photo by John Lill

Slayer at WaMu Theater in Seattle. Photo by John Lill

Slayer at WaMu Theater in Seattle. Photo by John Lill
Joe Satriani at the Paramount Theatre. Photo by John Lill

Joe Satriani at the Paramount Theatre. Photo by John Lill

The Chain Gang of 1974 at Barboza in Seattle. Photo by John Lill

The Chain Gang of 1974 at Barboza in Seattle. Photo by John Lill

Vampire Weekend perform at Key Arena as headliner for 107.7 The End's "Deck the Halls Ball." Photo by John Lill

Vampire Weekend perform at Key Arena as headliner for 107.7 The End’s “Deck the Halls Ball.” Photo by John Lill

The Head and the Heart perform at Key Arena for The End 107.7's Deck the Halls Ball. Photo by John Lill

The Head and the Heart perform at Key Arena for The End 107.7’s Deck the Halls Ball. Photo by John Lill

Selena Gomez performs at 106.1 KISS FM's Jingle Ball Bash  at Comcast Arena in Everett, WA. Photo by John Lill

Selena Gomez performs at 106.1 KISS FM’s Jingle Ball Bash at Comcast Arena in Everett, WA. Photo by John Lill

Phoenix perform at Key Arena during 107.7 The End's "Deck the Halls Ball." Photo by John Lill

Phoenix perform at Key Arena during 107.7 The End’s “Deck the Halls Ball.” Photo by John Lill

Haley Williams of Paramore at 106.1 KISS FM's Jingle Ball Bash 2013 in Everett, WA. Photo by John Lill

Haley Williams of Paramore at 106.1 KISS FM’s Jingle Ball Bash 2013 in Everett, WA. Photo by John Lill

Miguel performs at the Tacoma Dome. Photo by John Lill

Miguel performs at the Tacoma Dome. Photo by John Lill

Michael Buble performs at Key Arena in Seattle during his "To Be Loved Tour." Photo by John Lill

Michael Buble performs at Key Arena in Seattle during his “To Be Loved Tour.” Photo by John Lill

Jason Aldean performs at the Tacoma Dome in support of his recent album "Night Train." Photo by John Lill

Jason Aldean performs at the Tacoma Dome in support of his recent album “Night Train.” Photo by John Lill

Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy performs at 106.1 KISS FM's Jingle Ball Bash at Comcast Arena in Everett, WA. Photo by John Lill

Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy performs at 106.1 KISS FM’s Jingle Ball Bash at Comcast Arena in Everett, WA. Photo by John Lill

John Legend performs at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle on his "Made to Love tour." Photo by John Lill

John Legend performs at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle on his “Made to Love tour.” Photo by John Lill

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis perform the first of three sold out nights at Key Arena in Seattle. Photo by John Lill.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis perform the first of three sold out nights at Key Arena in Seattle. Photo by John Lill.

Mike McCready of Pearl Jam at Key Arena in Seattle on the final night of their "Lightning Bolt" tour. Photo by John Lill

Mike McCready of Pearl Jam at Key Arena in Seattle on the final night of their “Lightning Bolt” tour. Photo by John Lill

Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam at Key Arena in Seattle on the final night of their "Lightning Bolt" tour. Photo by John Lill

Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam at Key Arena in Seattle on the final night of their “Lightning Bolt” tour. Photo by John Lill

Austin Mahone performs at 106.1 KISS FM's Jingle Ball Bash 2013 at Comcast Arena in Everett, WA. Photo by John Lill

Austin Mahone performs at 106.1 KISS FM’s Jingle Ball Bash 2013 at Comcast Arena in Everett, WA. Photo by John Lill

Brian Setzer and his Orchestra perform at Snoqualmie Casino during his Christmas concert tour. Photo by John Lill

Brian Setzer and his Orchestra perform at Snoqualmie Casino during his Christmas concert tour. Photo by John Lill

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Ann Wilson of Heart performs at Benaroya Hall in Seattle for the group's Heart & Friends: Home for the Holidays show. Photo by John Lill

Ann Wilson of Heart performs at Benaroya Hall in Seattle for the group’s Heart & Friends: Home for the Holidays show. Photo by John Lill

Heart & Friends: Home for the Holidays Television Special

These past two weeks have kept me busy at night. 31 concert acts photographed in in just 12 days and now I’m ready for a glass of eggnog and a warm blanket. Back in September I covered Bumbershoot at Seattle Center. One of the groups performing was the legendary Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart. Heart has had a pretty awesome 12 months with their performance last December at the Kennedy Center Honors, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame  and a North American tour with Jason Bonham joining them to perform a tasty set of Led Zeppelin tunes. It seems much like the progressive rock trio Rush, they are gaining in popularity these days. One of the best things I did following that Bumbershoot show was reach out to them and send them my images. Lucky for me, they really liked them and used them on their web and social sites as highlight images of the tour. About a week later, they announced that they were going to do a holiday show in Seattle in December. I quickly contacted their publicist to let them know I was very interested in covering the show if they would have me.

Apparently no good deed goes unrewarded as I was informed that I was approved to cover the show earlier this week. Thursday evening, the day of the show, I received a phone call from the producer of the show to discuss my coverage as this was being filmed for television and more importantly, it was taking place at the symphony hall which doesn’t really cater to photographers. No photo pit, no soundboard and no side stage. Oh! Oh! After talking it through with the producer, I was also informed that the band didn’t authorize anyone else to cover this, so I was going to get exclusive coverage of the entire show. In the end, the band gave me a ticketed seat in the center orchestra just a few rows from the stage and as long as I stayed low and out of view of the video cameras, I could roam around the symphony hall at my own will all night.

“Heart & Friends: Home for the Holidays”  will air on AXS TV on Dec 25th!

The show began with a couple of cast members from the 5th Avenue Theater production of “Oliver” who moved around the crowded symphony hall.

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As the show progressed, Heart brought out a few friends to help perform some holiday selections.

Shawn Colvin joins Nancy Wilson on stage in Seattle as part of their "Heart & Friends Home for the Holidays" concert.

Shawn Colvin joins Nancy Wilson on stage in Seattle as part of their “Heart & Friends Home for the Holidays” concert.

"The Red Rocker" himself, Sammy Hagar!

“The Red Rocker” himself, Sammy Hagar!

Sammy Hagar joins Nancy Wilson on stage in Seattle.

Sammy Hagar joins Nancy Wilson on stage in Seattle.

Richard Marx joins Nancy Wilson on stage in Seattle.

Richard Marx joins Nancy Wilson on stage in Seattle.

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Pat Monahan from Train performs with Heart for a holiday concert at Benaroya Hall.

Pat Monahan from Train performs with Heart for a holiday concert at Benaroya Hall

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Following a brief intermission, Heart treated the crowd to a more traditional concert set performing many of their popular hits which included a couple of Led Zeppelin covers.

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Nancy Wilson gets crazy hair during "Crazy on You."

Nancy Wilson gets crazy hair during “Crazy on You.”

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Macklemore Can’t Be Held in Seattle

There is something electric about a hometown artist performing for the local crowd. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis brought “The Heist” tour to Seattle to cap off their North American tour Tuesday night. As I experienced with Pearl Jam a week earlier, the Emerald City loves their hometown artists. Macklemore is on fire and his ability to sell out three nights in row at Key Arena is proof of that success.

Fur coats, thrift shop clothes, and even Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson could be found in the packed Key Arena for the first of three nights.

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The Black Crowes: A Shoot that Proved to be Twice as Hard

Georgia rock/blues band, the Black Crowes came to Seattle to perform at the Paramount Theater this weekend and I was there to capture the show. Well, at least the first two songs. This shoot was a bit more difficult than the previous night’s Pearl Jam show as the photographers were told to stay out of the actual photo pit so we shot from the crowd in the corners. I managed to get to the center of the crowd for just one moment to get a head on shot of the band but for the most part, I stayed to the left of the stage with my trusty Nikon.

The band opened with a cover of Traffics “Feelin Alright” and followed it up with their 1990 debut single “Jealous Again.”  As with any Black Crowes concert, the smell of incense and marijuana filled the theater air but the band put on a heck of a show. Towards the end of the evening they performed a very electric version of “Hard to Handle” which evolved in Deep Purple’s  “Hush” and had the crowd going wild.

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The Black Crowes perform to a sold out crowd at the Paramount Theater in Seattle, WA. Photo by John Lill

The Black Crowes perform to a sold out crowd at the Paramount Theater in Seattle, WA. Photo by John Lill

Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes performs to a sold out crowd at the Paramount Theater in Seattle, WA. Photo by John Lill

Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes performs to a sold out crowd at the Paramount Theater in Seattle, WA. Photo by John Lill

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Pearl Jam: Capturing the Homecoming Show in Seattle

I’ve been very fortunate to photograph several amazing acts in my first six months living in Seattle, but to be approved to photograph Pearl Jam was the epitome of awesomeness! In the last 23 years I’ve always missed seeing these guys due to one thing or another, but I have been a huge fan since their debut album “Ten” in 1990. When the Cameron Crowe documentary “PJ 20” came out in 2011, I revisited my appreciation for this band and told myself that I had to see them next time they toured. Well, that opportunity presented itself this year for their “Lightning Bolt” tour. I saw the listed cities and noticed Seattle was the final night of the North American tour so I rolled the dice and submitted my request. Luckily, I had a publisher who wanted images and I found out 48 hours before the show that I was approved! Victory!

Well, maybe not….

Things I didn’t take into account were: how many photographers would apply for this gig, the limits imposed by the band, the shooting conditions and the lighting. We had 18 photographers approved, were told we could only shoot extreme left or extreme right of the stage, deal with security who wouldn’t move for the shot, and video camera dollies on tracks that would constantly move whenever something unique was occurring. To add to the fun, the entire first song of three that I had been approved to shoot was back lit with blue light so nobodies faces were visible. The good news, I had a fantastic spot to capture all of the band and my 6’2 frame allowed me to get an advantage overcome the other obstacles.

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Pearl Jam perform “Elderly Woman” at Key Arena in Seattle on the final night of their North American “Lightning Bolt” tour. Photo by John Lill

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One of many bottles of wine that Eddie Vedder would consume throughout the night. Photo by John Lill

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