Every time I hear about a country singer coming to Madison, a few questions come running to my mind. First, who is it and am I diehard enough fan to spend the money to go see them? The second is always “I wonder if it’s a Star concert…can I shoot it?” I love when the answer to both of those questions can be yes.
Every concert that comes my way, it’s bigger than the last and I put myself through more and more torture every time. I don’t eat, but I eat too many Oreo’s in the week leading up to the show.
This last weekend Star Country and the Special Olympics put on a concert called The Class of 2015. This included John King, Kristian Bush, Chase Bryant, The Cadillac Three and Sam Hunt. I had shot a very small concert with Chase Bryant in the fall and was excited to see that he was coming around again. I had seen The Cadillac Three at the Rave with Jake Owen and they were awesome and was stoked to be able to see them again and be able to shoot them as well. And then there’s Sam Hunt. Almost everyone will agree that Sam Hunt is a good lookin’ piece of man. And he’s tall. And his voice is so soothing and calm. I have never been more excited in my life to be a photographer. If there was one person I’d want in my portfolio, it would have to be Sam Hunt.
I rolled up to the Barrymore and I walked inside and everyone knew right away that I was stressed and clearly I showed it. I must say, my friends who were at the show and those who weren’t are honestly the best and are able to calm me down and deal with my crazy all the time. But once I’m in the venue, and scoping it out and testing the lighting, all the nerves and anxiety almost disappear and when the show starts, its nowhere to be found. It just takes me a second to get into my groove and once I’m there, I’m set. I try to be as ninja like as possible.
The way the concert was laid out is that they came out one by one, had a little interview with Abby and Jess and then played a song and the next artist followed. After they all did the one song and interview, they continued to play 3 more rounds of songs; all acoustic, some covers, their own songs and a whole lot of good time.
I ran into John King right as I got there and was getting the low down of the venue and all the secrets to navigate efficiently around the building. I was talking to Chelsie and out of nowhere he just came up and hugged us and it totally caught me off guard. It was an incredibly nice gesture, I’m just not used to it in anyway here in Madison. He apologized sweetly and said he’s from the south and in the south they hug. I had never heard of him until I heard Tonight, Tonight on the radio, the weekend of a very important weekend. It fit the Friday night so well that I started to listen to it on repeat all day Saturday. He sang a cover of Dust on the Bottle along with his single Tonight, Tonight. He made sure to utilize the entire stage and get the fans involved and up on their feet. He also has a really adorable hairflip as well.
When I met Chase earlier in the fall at his smaller concert, I had the chance to have a decent conversation with him, although I can’t remember fully what it was about, but i do know that it involved an extensive informational lesson on cheese curds. Chase Bryant is always great. He’s a guy full of lots of humor and a good time. His accent is so original and lovely and soothing and his booming voice follows right behind it. He’s so lively on stage but yet holds this classy appeal and look to him. I can’t wait to see what the next couple of years brings for him. His single Take It On Back was his closing one of the night. He is honestly one of the best acoustic singers I’ve seen.
People that I knew who were going to this concert kept asking me who Kristian Bush was. Kristian Bush is part of the duo Sugarland. Most people probably don’t realize that – and I can tell you I didn’t until Abby Rhodes told me. I’m not sure why he decided to branch off and do his own thing since Sugarland is so successful. He’s a very nice guy and had plenty to say when talking to Abby and Jess. He opened with his current single, Trailer Hitch. He snuck in a Sugarland song and also played a song that no one knew, and made the other artists play with him, all on a whim.
The Cadillac Three. I have always enjoyed their music, but I fell more in love with them Friday night. They are the chillest dudes and full of sarcasm and inappropriate funny comments. Jaren was being all sassy with Abby and it was honestly one of the greatest things. They’re so gnarly looking, but they are the most down to earth people I think you could ever meet. I got close enough to get a good look at their hair and it’s borderline dreads. It’s pretty sweet actually. They are the original writers of Days of Gold, so they played that to start the evening off as well as their hit single, The South after being harassed on why they don’t write a song about us northern ladies.
Last but not least, my boy Sam Hunt. The cheers for him were louder than the other four put together. His smile and voice can just light up a room. He opened with his hit single, Leave The Night on, played Break Up In A Small Town and ended with Take Your Time. I don’t think that words can be said to contain my excitement to see him play, and be able to photograph him and be able to use it in my portfolio. He’s already had a killer year and it’s only January. I CANNOT wait to see what the rest of 2015 goes for him. I’m already waiting for him to release another album.
I love shooting concerts for Star. Not only is it a great time, it’s an incredible experience and I cannot express how thankful I am for these opportunities. I also get to work with the chillest people and always have a great time running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off.
Check out the rest of the photos I shot: http://www.963starcountry.com/photos/concerts/class-of-2015-show-414676/#/0/23604733
The one thing I love about country singers is that southern hospitality that they bring with them wherever they go. After all the panicking that the week gave me, I survived and had over 1500 pictures to go through. (Definitely the most I’ve ever taken at one event, that’s for sure.)