There are a ton of Van Halen tribute bands out there… some good some not so good. The best one that I have seen and have done photographer for is Fan Halen from Southern California. The band has been around for 16 years and continue to rock Van Halen fans around the United States.
I have been a Van Halen fan since the 70’s and have seen them many times. I even saw them on their first reunion tour. Since I am fan, I believe the hardest person to “tribute” in the band is David Lee Roth. Not only does Ernie Berru (featured in photo to the right) sound like David, he nails his attitude and swagger which is very important (to me)!
Derek Fuller also nails the portrayal of Eddie Van Halen! Plays like him and even smiles a lot like Eddie does.
If you haven’t seen Fan Halen they are performing at the House of Blues this Friday at 7pm. I will be doing photography for the band and I hope to see you there.
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.
I 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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Below is a photo I took of Michael Wilton of Queensryche on November 18th, 2016 at the House of Blues in San Diego. I chose this photo to be the picture of the week since it was liked and re-posted many times by fans and Queensryche. Michael even posted it on Thanksgiving when he wished all of his fans a happy holiday.