End of a tour...the beginning of a Year (Smith & Myers)

Brent Smith and Zach Myers

​Smith & Myers, January 6, 2018, The Forge, Joliet, IL

For diehard Shinedown fans, getting a ticket to an event like Smith & Myers is not an option, it's a must! The duo is half of the rock band Shinedown (additional members bassist, Eric Bass, and drummer Barry Kerch). 

Shinedown has had 23 consecutive #1 songs. Their most recent coming from their "Threat to Survival" Album, "How Did You, Love?" was the most played song on the Active Rock Charts (US).

So when they announce that Brent Smith and Zach Myers are heading back out on the road while Shinedown #6 (title yet to be released) is finishing up, super fans were emphatic about attending the duos acoustic show, Smith & Myers.

I am always excited to see what Brent and Zach will perform and enjoy the way they interact with each other...and I had a front row seat to the show...the photo pit. Brent and Zach, as well as there bandmates in Shinedown, have a unique bond that creates magic. No one in the band has a grandiose image of himself over the others. They are a team, perfectly balanced team. Yes, they refer to Brent as the Captain, but that doesn't mean he takes control and pushes his wants and desires. He knows each other members strengths balance any of his weaknesses.

Zach Myers, lead guitars is Memphis native. He brought along his side band members, JR Moore and Zack Mack, (which form the band Allen, Mack, Myers, & Moore (AMMM)) as the opening act. Where does the Allen come into this band? Chris Allen is the Allen in AMMM. He tours along with AMMM when his schedule allows. At this particular gig in Joliet, we were not blessed with Chris's presence. Someday, I hope to be able to witness the full band together live.
This show was a bit different for me. 

I was able to have Brent and Zach sign a metal print I had made of one of the images I captured in the photo pit at their Shinedown show in July 2017, at the Lafayette Theater, Lafayette, IN. I had anticipated this interaction for months as I had purchased tickets in the presale phase of ticket openings.

I had carefully contemplated which picture I wanted to be printed using an image that had both Brent and Zach together. But I also wanted an image that captured a moment in time and had expression. These two are no strangers to expression as nearly all the images I have of them show an immense amount of feeling and expression. Finally, I chose the one I wanted and felt that having it printed on metal would be an excellent way to preserve this moment.

It was fascinating when showing both Zach and Brent how they reacted to my image. They were hysterical when critiquing the way they looked in the picture. I was just happy for them to see my work up close and personal...and to sign it. Magical doesn't begin to describe the feeling I had watching them sign my work of them. They are my inspiration, my muses, and their music brings me out of places that I want to hide.

The show in and of itself was on point. Zack Mack and JR Moore opened with their melodic harmonizing southern music. Zack is brilliant on the harmonica of which I was able to capture images, and JR's voice is distinctly his own and easy on the ears.

When I am shooting in the pit, my brain is in two places at once. It's focused on the music, but it is substantially more focused on the photographic aspect that I am capturing. While I heard the music and even sang along, so of the show is absent in my mind. I battle between the photography and the music, but when I am shooting music, photography wins out.

Zach Myers joined Zack and JR to finish out their Mack, Myers, and Moore set. It was time for Brent and Zach to take the stage. This is it; this is go time. Time to be one point, quick and precise. You only get the first 3 songs of a show, so that 10-15 minutes is incredibly valuable. You must succinctly capture THE images, THE money shots, the ones that show the most interaction, emotion, and movement. I was confident I got those shots.

It's an indescribable feeling when you're shooting in the pit. It's an intense few minutes of capturing the energy and personalities on stage. It's like if you took all the energy in the world together in that one little space where you are standing. In the pit is where I feel alive. That is where my soul needs to be.

Brent and Zach star their set with a cover of "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden, followed by "Bully" from Shinedown's 4th studio album "Amaryllis." At some point in the evening, they played the title song from Amaryllis. I fought through the concert goers to get a close-up shot of Brent while singing Amaryliss.

Many of their songs have deep meaning to me, but Amaryliss and her lyrics are something I am relating to as of late. The phrase of lyrics "Ohhh I wish you'd open up for me, Cause I wanna know you
Amaryllis...Bloom!" describe how I feel about myself opening up and blooming in many different areas of life, more specifically music/concert photography.

I will bloom in 2018.

Smith & Myers Concert, The Forge, Joliet, IL
The moment!
The Forge, Joliet, IL
Can you take the Weight??