When the curtains rose and the spotlights came on, my long-lens Nikon was fixed right in the middle of the stage to catch Cher as she stepped out in all of her splendor at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville. Only she was lowered down from the ceiling on a rope instead. Fortunately, I, Kim Reed, photographer at EU Jacksonville, managed to change tack and capture her glittery descent in all its glory.
The music scene in NE Florida includes such intimate spaces as The Blue Jay Listening Room and ranges through venues such as the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, the Thrasher-Horne Center and larger venues like Daily’s Place, Florida Theatre, the St. Augustine Amphitheatre and VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Photographing national artists onstage in these varied performance spaces is completely different every night, depending on where we are allowed to shoot, the stage lighting, movement of the artists, and the length of time we are allowed. Sometimes photographers are allowed only one song, and other times we are invited to shoot the entire show from any vantage point in the venue.
2019 was a year of shooting favorites such as Bonnie Raitt, Santana, and Willie Nelson, but it was also laden with some relative newcomers on the scene such as Vanessa Collier and The Allman Betts Band. Below are some that grabbed my camera’s attention for one reason or another.
– Kim Reed kimreedphotos.com
The Rolling Stones at TIAA Bank Field
The pinnacle of my photography career was shooting The Rolling Stones in concert that hot Jacksonville night in July at TIAA Bank Field. A capacity crowd in this stadium, where the energy was high and the band in great form. Mick and the boys still have it.
Mary J. Blige at Daily’s Place
Dazzling bling, copious amounts of attitude, and a powerful band backing her up.
Cher at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena
A thrill and privilege to shoot the show of this legendary performer.
Howie Mandel at Thrasher-Horne Performing Arts Center
The Thrasher-Horne Center in Orange Park hosted a whole slew of performances in this grand theater during 2019, including The Beach Boys, Black Jacket Symphony, and The Landscape of Guitar. The comedic timing and irreverence of talented comic Howie Mandel and the spot-on performances during The Memphis Tribute were probably two of my favorite shows and photos.
Greta Van Fleet at Daily’s Place
An engaging mix of Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith, this band of brothers from Michigan did rock ‘n’ roll proud with their rollicking performance. These guys know how to engage an audience!
Springing the Blues Festival at Jax Beach
This year’s featured artists included “Kingfish” Ingram, Popa Chubby and Vanessa Collier. You can’t beat free blues on the beach!
Kelsey Ballerini at The Amp
Country singer on the rise at this outdoor amphitheater in a tropical setting with not a bad seat in the house.
Sweetheart of the Rodeo Tour at Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the classic album Sweetheart of the Rodeo, Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman, Marty Stuart, et al. played the entire record, as well as some Byrds chestnuts to an adoring audience.
Blackfoot Gypsies at The Amp
These Nashville boys love to channel the energy of Steven Tyler as they impressed the amphitheater with their own brand of rollicking rock ‘n’ roll.
Tash Sultana at The Amp
Multi-instrumentalist Tash Sultana dazzled us with her talents and her ability to weave such wonderfully original tunes and her positive message and vibe.
The Royal Affair (Asia, Yes, Crazy Arthur Brown, Carl Palmer of ELP and John Lodge of Moody Blues) at The Amp
Super tour featuring some of England’s top veteran rockers. Have been wanting to catch “Crazy” Arthur Brown since I bought his album featuring ‘Fire’ many moons ago. I covet his headgear, though it has been known to literally catch on fire.
Carrie Underwood with Runaway June at Vystar Memorial Arena
Underwood and her openers Runaway June turned a massive venue into a more intimate affair with winding runways centered in the middle of the arena. Energy was high as these country ladies took over the stage for the night.