My Favorite Sixteen Concert Photos of 2016

This year was a great year seeing live music for me. We didn’t get out to as many concerts as we probably would have liked, but with our schedules and the kids we really saw more than I would expect. Highlights of the year included the Eaux Claries and the Austin City Limits Festival. The only concert that I was in the pit for in this countdown as the Lettuce show at the Lafayette Theater. Everything else is just a matter of me documenting the fun from my seat. With no real ins for the concert business that is where I sit. The light is so good though that I really can’t help myself during the show.

16. One fun thing that I found this year was the concerts at the Mallow Run Winery. They put on a good show, and of course you have the wine as well. This is a fun time that allows me to spend a little time with my brother as well which is always a good thing.

15. I had so much fun at the Austin City Limits Festival this year that on the final day I was already started to miss the festival. As the sun set on the final day I turned my phone into the sun to document it. I was using the new iPhone 7 Plus and testing out some of the features during the weekend. It really did a great job for a phone, and gave me some lasting images from the weekend.

14. This past summer I wanted to photograph the band Lettuce when they came to Lafayette because they looked like a very interesting band. Of course during the three songs the band was never front lit, and the singer never came out front. With that in mind I moved to the back of the room to make the image above. I liked the way the light was moving around the room, and it was my favorite image from the night. 

13. One really unexpected concert this year was seeing Local Natives in Boston. The first reason is that we were in Boston for such a short time. In Austin we did not see the Local Natives because we were seeing another act at the time. My wife really wanted to see them though so we made it happen in Boston. This is another iPhone 7 shot as the concert was ending.

12. If you read this blog then you probably know by now that my wife is a huge fan of the Grateful Dead. When Dead and Company came to Indy we made our way down there to see them this past summer. As the sun was going down I made this photo of the crowd and the band. I liked the old school film look of it right away.

11. The main draw in going to the Eaux Claires Festival was seeing selections from the Grateful Dead tribute album performed live. Here was one of the highlights as members from many groups deliver a haunting version of Brokedown Palace. It was amazing, and gave me goosebumps as they were singing it.

10. Of course at music festivals you cannot have professional cameras. They don’t want everyone making images. That is why I loved seeing this old Yashica at the festival. I liked the idea of using the new iPhone to make a photo of an old standby camera. The fading light of the day added to my enjoyment of this photo.

9. One thing that I was playing around with at the ACL Festival was the objects with the festival name on them. I made this photo on day one before I had portrait mode on my camera. This would have been cool with the background blurred out, but here you get everything that makes ACL what it is. The blue skies here make this a nice image for me.

8. Three years, three Jimmy Buffett shows, three different states. Each year we go and see Jimmy Buffett to help celebrate my sister in laws birthday. This year we saw the show much later than normal, and in another new state. This was my first time at Alpine Valley, and it lived up to its name. The hill here made this photo work a bit as the light came onto the audience.

7. As the days were moving along at Austin City Limits I was having more and more fun with my new iPhone. I was seeking out images in a way I do not normally do during a festival. This sunset selfie was one of those shots. I did not know anyone in the image, but the best part about a near silhouette is that I still do not know them.

6. One of the surprises for me at the Eaux Claires was Jenny Lewis. My wife said it was one to see, and it was. She did a great job, and I can’t wait to see her again. What made the show fun to photograph was the colorful background and her amazing outfit. They both just looked good on camera.

5. I picked this photo to lead off the top five because in one photo you can see some of the spirit that the Eaux Claires Festival had. It was not the typical festival where each act comes in on a cart to perform, and then leaves after their set. At the Eaux Claires acts could be found in the crowd watching other acts. In some cases they would go onto the stage to share the stage with another performer. It was this sense of community that made it a great festival, and it is the reason that we are going back again next year.

4. Austin City Limits was a great festival. There were so many visual elements as well as the acts on the stage. In some instances like this sunset they came together. As Cage the Elephant was performing the sun was going down behind them. I thought that the blue of the screen played very nice with the orange in the sky. This was one time where I wished that I had more than my phone to make the photo with. Just a little gear is all that I would need. I made the most out of what my phone would do here. It still is my favorite photo from ACL.

3. At ACL I made a discovery. Once again my wife made a suggestion of a band that was a good one. She has the music taste in the family, and I just sit around and listen to Metallica all of the time. From the moment they took the stage you could tell that Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats would be a force all night long. This was the moment Nathaniel himself came out. He was showing off the new band jackets that they had, but it was a cool moment for me. I have seen Nathaniel since, but this near front row experience was a great one for us. It was a great way to end the Eaux Claires.

2. As I have said before my wife loves the Grateful Dead. I never was able to see them play in person. The closest that I could get was the Dead and Company shows that featured a few members of the band. I have always liked this photo because of the way the light is streaming through it. The gesture by the band members is another reason. This was one instance where everything seemed to come together for me.

  1. Speaking of light coming together. This was one instance where a lot of things came together for me. One thing about being at a festival is that before the band starts you get to see the run through of the light rig. I saw this pattern form a couple of times, and wondered when it would be put into place. Of course it started right at the beginning of the show, and so when all of the lights moved onto Justin Vernon of Bon Iver I was ready for it. This photo was made with a little 12mp point and shoot camera, but it will be one of my favorite concert images for some time I will guess. I love the way the light looks here. This is the light every performer must dream of playing in at some point.
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About Pinola Photo

I am a sports and lifestyle photographer based in West Lafayette, IN home of Purdue University. I cover sports for Big Ten teams as well as other colleges. You can follow me on twitter @pinolaphoto. You can also view my website at www.davewegielphoto.net

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