Queensrÿche at Sycuan Casino

Queensrÿche
Queensrÿche at Sycuan Casino

On September 21st, Queensrÿche performed at Sycan Casino in San Diego, California for their new and long time fans at a near sold out show! Queensrÿche just came off opening on the Scorpions tour. The band never disappoints and this show was no different.

After all these years, the band is tighter than ever. Their sound and their performance is always top notch. At a few points during the show, singer Todd La Torre was belting out the high notes so hard that I saw many people putting their fingers in their ears! Lucky I always have (good) ear plugs with me when I do photography for bands.

Concert 2018I can’t write a review without talking about Queensrÿche fans. The band still has a lot of fans, some even fanatic. They scream, yell, sing-a-long with the songs and go crazy when their favorite plays. Queensrÿche knows this and does a lot to include the fans not only in the show but also give fans opportunities to meet the band with (paid) VIP passes (if you aren’t on the guest list).

I can’t wait for their new music to be released at the beginning of 2019 and hopefully another tour! To purchase photos from the show, please click here.

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Aether X at the House of Blues

On September 1st, 2018 the San Diego band Aether X performed at the House of Blues in San Diego Ca. Aether X is a new progressive/hard rock trio that features James Brady on guitar and Jeff Smith on drums. I’ve known Jeff for a long time since he is, like me, a software engineer. This show was the EP release show for the band and they put on a great show!

Concert 2018

To purchase photos, please click here.

Geoff Tate at The Canyon Club

On August 18th, 2019, Geoff Tate (the original lead singer of Queensryche) came to southern California, at The Canyon Club for the 30th anniversary of the Queensryche album Operation: Mindcrime.  Personally, this is still one of my favorite concept albums and love the story behind it. Around 2006 Geoff and Queensryche made a “part 2” of the story which featured the main character getting out of prison.

For this show, Geoff and his band did the entire first album which then was followed up with about 30 minutes of Queensryche hits.  One of Geoff’s daughters even opened the show with her band.

Concert 2018

I had a great time at the show taking pictures and even made some new friends. The show was so good that towards the end I thought to myself if this is the last concert I ever see I can die a happy rocker! It was that good!

To purchase any of the photos, click here.

Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas at the Soda Bar

On August 11th, 2018, Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas performed at the Soda Bar in San Diego, CA. I first saw her perform in Austin, TX in 2014 and was blown away! Since then, she got married, moved to California from Detroit, Michigan and turned 30 years old. The band is in the American soul/pop band category… I just think they are very talented and different. Different is good in this land of manufactured pop bands.

Concert 2018

I had a nice conversation with her before the show and she is very down to earth. If she is performing in your area, don’t miss them! You can purchase photos by clicking here.

Eric Johnson at the House of Blues

On January 27th, I was proud to do photography at the Eric Johnson show at the House of Blues in San Diego, CA. Eric has always been in my top three guitarists list since I fist saw him on his tour to support his first album in the 1980’s. So, I was very excited to shoot this show!

Eric is a “guitarists guitarist”. Like at the show in the 80’s, I would estimate that 90% of the guys there are guitarists or want to be. The only women at the show were the few that those guitarists convinced to come, including the woman sitting next to me. She ending up loving the show that included guitarist Arielle from Austin, TX opening and playing a few tunes with Eric.

Eric still seems pretty shy and rarely looks at the audience, which is fine with me. We aren’t there to look at him… okay, maybe his hands (which I call “alien hands” since they do things I’ve never seen a human hand do). We are there to listen to him.

Observations

Here are some observations that I made during the shoot and the show. First, Eric hardly looks different from the 80’s.  At age 63, the only thing different was his hair color and maybe a few wrinkles. Being a guitarist, the biggest thing I noticed was his pedal board (see below). It looked to me that he has not upgraded from the first time I saw him (or cleaned). Only his amps looked newer. Previously he played through 3 amps but I saw 5 at least. He is pretty busy with the right foot switches to switch between the amps. It also looks like he is also using his original tape delay machines (I’m sure there aren’t many of those left in the world).

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With the ever-changing world of guitar pedals and effects, Eric stays true to his roots and to his tone.

I’d like to thank the House of Blues and LiveNation for allowing me to shoot this show. Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, you are next on my list to photograph, since you are the other two in my favorite three guitarists list.

A Perfect Circle @ SDSU Open Air Theatre

Tonight, A Perfect Circle rolled into San Diego featuring Maynard James Keenan from the band Tool. This was just a short summer tour across the US consisting of thirty shows. The future of A Perfect Circle seems unclear due to another band Maynard is in called Puscifer is soon releasing a new CD. The band was not touring to support a new CD nor is there any indication there is any new music coming from the band.

The band, backed by a concert set that looked like the inside of a ammunitions bunker, started the show with two slower cover songs from Crucifix and John Lennon. The show included six more cover songs from their third effort eMOTIVe, ten songs from their first two CD’s and one new song featuring Billy Howerdel (founder and lead guitarist) on vocals. The set as a whole seemed to be more surrealistic sounding from other tours and most of the songs had different arrangements, which I really enjoy. There does not seem much of a point to going to a concert where the band plays the music exactly like the recorded version. At that point, you are paying for the light show and other gimmicks like pyrotechnics.

Maynard was featured in the next to last song that is a Joni Mitchell cover titled Fiddle and the Drum. Most of us stood there in amazement listening to the power and conviction from his voice that came through during this song accompanied only by a piano. As usual, he stood on a platform which no direct light on him. I could barely make out that he was wearing a camouflage shirt, pants and boots.

For some unknown reason the band prohibited any pictures being taken including cell phones. Not sure why since cell phones would never take good pictures in the subdued lighting that they used. I almost was kicked out of the show just for taking a picture of the opening band. Really guys?

Set List

  1. Annihilation (Crucifix cover)
  2. Imagine (John Lennon cover)
  3. Weak and Powerless
  4. The Hollow
  5. What’s Going On (Marvin Gaye cover)
  6. People Are People (Depeche Mode cover)
  7. The Outsider
  8. Rose
  9. (What’s So Funny ’bout) Peace, Love and Understanding? (Brinsley Schwarz cover)
  10. When the Levee Breaks (Led Zeppelin cover)
  11. The Noose
  12. 3 Libras (All Main Courses Mix)
  13. The Package
  14. Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie (Black Flag cover)
  15. Magdalena
  16. Passive
  17. Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums
  18. Fiddle and the Drum (Joni Mitchell cover)
  19. By and Down [new song]

The Iron Maidens @ Brick by Brick

What do you get when you mix hard-hitting Iron Maiden tunes, excellent musicianship and estrogen? You get the Iron Maidens! This all female tribute band started 10 years ago and features Kirsten “Bruce Chickinson” Rosenberg on vocals, Linda “Nikki McBURRain” McDonald on drums, Courtney “Adriana Smith” Cox and Nita “Mega Murray” Strauss on guitars, and Wanda “Steph Harris” Ortiz on bass. When these five women hit the stage at Brick by Brick with such veracity and energy that those of use that never saw them before stood in amazement!

The band played note by note the most popular Iron Maiden songs from the 80’s and it felt like we were back there again. I am not going out on a limb to say that this band is more energetic and into the music then the original band. It was so fun to watch when a seven foot tall Eddie monster came out on stage. Their visual show included CO2 blasts, synchronized video that included a drum and guitar cam and more.

They have played in many countries including Venezuela in front of 40,000 fans. They are a band not to miss the next time they are in town.