–By Sean Derrick
Well, another year is in the books. And another year of looking back on what you have accomplished. Some items you may look on with regret, and some with fondness. Obviously, I am posting some of the shots I took this past year with fondness.
Yes, (cliché coming) These are my favorite 18 photos of 2018.
They may not be “the best” in some eyes, and that is fine. That is why I won’t call them the “Best of”, instead it is why I call this the “Editor’s Choice”. Why? Well, frankly because they are my choice as to my favorite and, um I am the editor. haha.
So, with that being said here are my favorite shots, in no particular order:
First up, the synchronized bull dancing, er, I mean bull riding that Keyshawn Whitehorse performed with this bull during the PBR Invitational series event in Saint Louis in February. Keyshawn liked this shot so much it is hanging in his house. That just solidified it as one of my favorite photos of the year.
Next up is from Cheap Trick’s performance at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in May. I love this shot so much because not only do I get to show Robin Zander performing from the stage point of view, but in this shot he is singing right to some friends of mine.
Christina Aquilera has turned heads while being a judge/coach on The Voice, but live she turns heads with a visually stunning performance that some may not like, but I find it amazing to photograph. Especially, this shot. I happened to catch it at the right moment and knew instantly this had to make it into my list,
Being a Cyndi Lauper fan my whole life I was super exited to be given the chance to finally photograph this awesome entertainer. I had missed out due to scheduling conflicts the handful of times prior she has made her way to the Gateway City. Her performance was amazing and loved the imagery I was able to get from her show, especially this shot of her singing while laying on a chest.
In one of the best shows of the year, David Byrne just blew the Stifel Theatre down with a poignant and powerful, yet simple show. The fact that Byrne had next to no props but could still speak volumes with the visuality (I know, it’s not a word. Don’t try to look it up) was super impressive. The choreography and positioning of the band/dancers was such that it was hard to look away.
I love this shot of Amy Lee performing with Evanescence in front of an orchestra. I love the contextual aspect of this shot.
If you have never seen Flogging Molly perform, well I feel sorry for you. I love this shot because it shows the intensity of lead singer Dave King gives for every show. Don’t believe me? Then go check them out at The Pageant this March 10. Then come tell me you disagree.
One of the best additions Mick Jones of Foreigner ever made was hiring bassist Jeff Pilson. The former Dokken bassist brings so much energy and talent to an already talented bunch that it is sick. But show after show Pilson leaves it all on the stage. Pound for pound one of the most consistently “into it” rockers I have ever witnessed. I have seen him live a couple dozen times and never seen him less than 1000% (OK, again I know you can’t give more than 100%, but you get the idea). I love this shot that it captures the essence of his performances.
Greta Van Fleet has taken the rock world by storm and watching their live show at The Pageant this August solidified why. They are one of the bands that are helping to bring back the vaunted guitar solo, a part of music that (this veteran music critic thinks, anyway) has been sorely lacking for far too long. I love this shot because it captures Jake Kiszka just shredding on the axe, tearing the roof of The Pageant.
Ahh, Lzzy Hale. The hard rock badass with the looks and the licks (guitar, you pervs) to appeal to just about any rock critic. Their performance at Stifel Theatre was a great example why they are a staple for any rock fan to see. I love this shot because I like how it captures her intensity in a live setting.
My advice for Flogging Molly works well here too: if you have never seen In This Moment then you are missing out on something special. Maria Brink’s visual performances night after night separates her from every other metalcore band out there. Couple that with kick ass songs with melodic bridges and intense structure and this is a band you can’t look away from as you are banging your head. I like this shot as it shows her deep performance in gloriously haunting way.
Randy Blythe getting some serious air during Lamb of God’s performance at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in August. Need I say more?
Pink flying high above the crowd at Enterprise Center (formerly Scottrade Center) in downtown Saint Louis in March. She always puts on a visually stunning show and I love this shot as it captured her fearless attitude during her shows.
Poison in the light. Poison’s bassist Bobby Dahl and guitarist C.C. DeVille from the stage point of view. I love how the spotlight envelops them as they play during their May show at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre.
While this may just look like a normal photograph of a band look closer and you catch the enthusiasm of Ringo Starr, the energy of Toto Guitarist Steve Lukather, as well as the versatile drummer Gregg Bissonette, and the perfection (not caring about showmanship) of Men At Work’s Colin Hay. This was shot during their performance at The Fabulous Fox Theatre in September.
What better way to be a baddass than the way Brent Smith is summoning the fire coming from behind Shinedown’s stage as drummer Barry Kerch screams encouragement.
Slayer is done touring and even though I have seen them nearly a dozen times dating back to the late 80’s it still was awesome to see their shows. I love this shot of Tom Araya during their final show at Hollywood casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis in August and feel it captures the “Reign in Blood” mentality of their performances.
Finally, also during the Slayer farewell show I captured this image of Scott Long, who helps keep us and the band and the fans safe at shows, standing guard in front of his doppelganger – Slayer guitarist Kerry King. Rock on Scott!
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this and everything we have brought you over the course of the year from not only me, but my wonderful staff of Keith Brake, Michael Pierce, Jen Cunningham, Ryan Ledesma, Greg Artime, Ashley Cox, Marie Taylor, Valerie Helton, and Jennifer Pinckney. Have a wonderful New Year and here’s to a fruitful and exciting 2019!