Tag Archives: concert

PCCC Fundraising Concert Photos

A few months ago, I was asked to take some photos for a church fundraising concert.  It was great to see such a huge audience turnout for the concert, which unfortunately pushed me right to the backs and sides only.  However, there were many different acts so I was able to move around between items and get different angles.

The best part of the event was the last item where various ensembles all combined together!  It was wonderful to see the adult choir, childrens choir and orchestra all together.  Was it professional musical standard?  Of course not, these were all amateurs doing something for a good cause.  But what struck me was the gusto – the passion that they all had – well done to all!

Here are a few of my favourite shots from the day!

Miss 10’s first pop concert!

Wow!  This weekend marks a special occasion for our Little Miss 10.  She’s going to her very first pop concert – Wifey is taking her to see Justin Bieber at the Burswood Dome!  

I’m trying to rack my brain to remember what was my first concert – I think it was either INXS or John Farnham at the Perth Entertainment Centre, many eons ago. 

The cool thing for Miss 10 is that we got her a special ticket that came with some goodies – a Justin Bieber fan pack, that arrived in the mail yesterday.  Let the Bieber-Fever begin…

I wonder if I should get wifey some ear plugs…  I heard that the crowd screams have been reaching 110db in the last few concerts in the rest of Australia (http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/entertainment/music/justin-bieber-20110502-1e5bx.html).

Pekka in Perth

This one slipped under the radar.

Back in 2009, I blogged about an ACO concert I saw in Perth featuring the talented and fine violinist Pekka Kuusisto.

This year, I noticed that he’s back in Australia!  But I was disappointed that he seemed to performing only in Sydney for the Musica Viva Festival 2011 (http://www.musicaviva.com.au/whatson/musica-viva-festival).

But I did this – if you want to see Pekka play in Perth, then you can catch him playing jazz violin at the Perth Jazz Society on 2 May.   It should be a great gig!  More details here:  http://www.perthjazzsociety.com/programme/#1892  

If you’re in Albany, it looks like he’s playing there too.  Tickets available here:  http://www.bocsticketing.com.au/whats-on/414/pekka-kuusisto-and-iiro-rantala/

Henning plays the Sibelius with WASO

Wow!  My favourite violin concerto.  Henning, a young and talented violinist that I had the pleasure of seeing a masterclass of last week.  Good combination 🙂

Henning played it through effortlessly – letting his violin sing the passion that’s in the Sibelius, as well as hitting the technical work. 

I loved the attention he gave to the conductor and orchestra during the performance (and joining the string pizzicatos in the 3rd movement).  I was amazed at the way he hit the jumps to the high notes and fingered octaves in the first movement and arpeggios in the last movement with no problems.  But I was most surprised by the volume of sound Henning is able to produce from his violin.  I don’t think WASO played with a smaller orchestra for the concerto – it was the full thing.  But I heard Henning with no problems.  

How?  I’m guessing great bowing arm and wrist, full bow hair on the string, and playing next to the bridge but without scratchiness.  The only fault I can give was I wished there was a bit more space in between some of the phrases in the first movement – they nearly rushed into each other.  But the second movement was so soulful and well played it’s inspired me to get the notes back out and learn it.

The Perth audience applause was great, and Henning treated us to not one, but TWO encores!  The first encore was played by Henning leading the string section.  I believe this was “La Melancolie”, composed by Norwegian violinist Ole Bull (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ole_Bull), when Ole’s wife passed away.   Great to hear something not so passionate, and more subdued.   The second encore?  I don’t know – let me know if you know what it was – it was nearly sounding improvised at some bits.   I would have loved to have hear him play the Ysaye Ballade (like Vengerov and Vadim) but it was not to be.
Violin/piano score to La Melancolie here – https://urresearch.rochester.edu/institutionalPublicationPublicView.action?institutionalItemId=4056&versionNumber=1

U2 360 in Perth

WOW!

What a way to end an awesome weekend.   On Saturday we had family and friends over for a big swim, BBQ and Christmas carols party.

And then on Sunday, thanks to a friend on Facebook, we scored 2 cheap tickets to the U2 concert 🙂  Having not gone to many concerts this year, I HAD to go this one!!

I had heard about the giant spider like stage structure that was built to dwarf all the stadiums it was put in, but walking into Subi Oval and seeing taking up a third of the oval was just mind boggling.  The stage .. was..  just HUGE!  I wonder how they got it in there – there were initial rumours that the stage would not even fit (http://u2.interference.com/f304/360-stage-not-able-to-fit-in-subiaco-oval-perth-208863.html).

The stage looked even more spectacular as the night grew on, with the lighting rig and the huge circular screens wrapping the entire structure lighting up the venue.  I loved the mirror ball right on top of the central spire – later in the evening it was reflecting dots of light all over the oval!     And when the whole screen thing expanded – ultra cool – and the geek in me was thinking, “what a cool engineering feat” 🙂

But one thing struck me and Wifey throughout the U2 set..   this was “just” 4 musos on stage.  I can’t believe the sound they put out.  I’m sure there must be some backing tracks/layers in there, but still..   VERY impressed.    I was following The Edge and had that young dream of being a guitarist with your awesome sound amplified to a large stadium…

U2 in concert... sorry about the quality - no cameras with detachable lenses allowed!

Wifey and I haven’t kept up to date with U2’s latest albums, so I was extremely excited to hear older stuff.  Big thumbs up for “All I Want Is You”, “Desire”, “Where The Streets Have No Name”, “With Or Without You”, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”.  Interestingly, since U2 have been around for so long, the crowd was quite mixed with not many teens.   The full setlist is here:  http://www.u2gigs.com/article806.html

As for sound – I’m so glad this gig was at the Subi Oval (I should stop calling this..  it’s now Paterson’s Stadium) and not Burswood Dome.  The sound was MUCH better, and there was so much space that we still had some personal space around us 🙂  And we didn’t all have to squeeze through a handful of airlock doors to get out!

Definitely recommend fans to go to this concert – I think the next stop is Johannesburg!

Warmup act was Jay-Z.  Strange combination, but he and his band were good 🙂  Even though the forecast said chance of a shower, there was some light drizzle during the concert which was actually quite refreshing (although it did make the metal floor quite slippery).   So glad the weather held out until about midnight when it actually did rain more heavily!

Then it was all over…  a great way to end the weekend, and 2010.  The last date night for 2010?   I’m hoping we can squeeze in another date before the end of the year!

Jazz and Lindyhop at Hale photos

A few weeks ago, I attended a jazz evening at a Perth school.  It was a really fun night, showcasing many of the school’s own talented jazz ensembles.   To help get the parents on the floor, Shane and Ruth from Swing It came to give a short introductory class of lindyhop. I was surprised and happy to see the dance floor totally crowded with enthusiastic parents, trying to do rock step triple steps 🙂

After the class, Shane and Ruth did a lindyhop performance for all.  I took quite a few shots – but it’s surprisingly hard to get a good dynamic lindyhop shot where the dancers and their faces are visible, whilst capturing the energy and motion of the dance.    

Swing It Performance

 

I took along my Nikon 85mm 1.8 and did not regret it at all – it takes such amazing shots in low light.

Sax solo

 

To end the night, the school’s soul band took to the stage.  I snuck right up in between the stage and the dancers and tried to capture the raw energy of the crowd.

Soul Band

James Flynn at the Ellington

James Flynn at the Ellington

After a delicious and indulgent date night dinner with Wifey on Friday, we decided to pop into the Ellington. If you’re into Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Michael Buble or like Paul Anka’s Rock Swings album, you should catch James Flynn, Perth’s very own one man Rat Pack!  He was backed by a “mini” big band made up of many experienced professionals. 

Although it’s not quite my thing anymore (lindyhopping has focussed my jazz tastes on late 1920-1940s jazz), the crowd there on Friday really appreciated the swinging hits, even with some dancing breaking out!  I like how relaxed James is on stage and how he interacted with the audience making an entertaining night. 

James Flynn at the Ellington

I couldn’t resist snapping a few shots at the gig. As usual, the dim lighting at the Ellington really tests the performance of my Nikon D80 at ISO 1600. The shots look OK at this resolution, but if I were to blow them up large, I don’t think they’ll look that great. I tried a few shots at ISO 1250 too, but I really need to upgrade to a newer body with better low noise performance. New D3, D700, D700x?

More details: http://www.jamesflynn.com.au/

Antal Szalai

Want to have a memorable night out?  I haven’t seen them, but Antal Szalai and his Hungarian Gypsy Band is sure bet.

One of my fondest memories of our trip to Florence, Italy, was standing in one of the piazzas watching a Gypsy band busking.  The gypsy music was so contagious and vibrant, the violinist was going off, the cimbalom guy was crazy.   I think we were there for a couple of hours before our stomachs said it was time to eat.

I’m hoping that Antal and his band can kick up the same atmosphere and excitement.  It seems that Antal Szalai has quite a few dates lined up around Australia, many in smaller venues.

More information here:  http://www.lionelmidfordpublicity.com/profile_gypsy.html

By the way, it seems that he is NOT the same person as Antal Szalai, the classical violinist – http://www.antalszalai.net/

Photos at The Ellington

Jamie Oehlers

Jamie Oehlers

Victoria Newton

Victoria Newton

Victoria Newton 

 A few months ago, we went to see Victoria Newton at The Ellington, Perth’s new Jazz club.   It was yet another great night there! 

I decided to bring along my camera as I love taking concert photography, even though it means having withdrawing myself from just relaxing and enjoying the music for a while.

I snapped a few shots with my D80 and 17-55 f2.8, but boy was it dark in there.  Darker than I expected!  I had to bump ISO up to 1600 and beyond, which unfortunately is really grainy on the D80.  I managed to use ISO 1600 and take some usable shots during “still” moments, but I wish I had brought my 50 f1.8 or could afford a D700 with much better low light performance.

These photos have been sitting around on my hard drive for a while, so I took some spare, but frustrating, hours last night to do them up.  Frustrating, because my only computer at home to do photo editing is an old Dell laptop with a Pentium M 1.7GHz CPU and only 1GB RAM!   Photoshop was swapping to disk like anything!  Need to upgrade my computer.

I also realised last night that I really need to make up a signature brush that I can use on my photos.  Should I just go with scanning in my signature?

Beethoven Violin Concerto with Kyoko Takezawa

When I was young (and still living at home obviously!), my Dad used to take me to violin concerts.  I think I didn’t know any better at the time, but we did see some great concerts.  I do remember actually sitting on the Perth Concert Hall stage watching Yehudi Menuhin play!

Last night, I had another date with my Dad.  We went to see WASO, primarily to see, really listen, to the Beethoven Violin Concerto.  The soloist last night was Kyoko Takezawa.  I must admit, I hadn’t heard of her before, but her resume is quite impressive.

And so she came on stage, quite small, but polite and smiley.  WASO started with a reduced orchestra, maybe too reduced as I was missing that really warm string section sound.  When Kyoko started playing, you could see the emotion she was drilling into her violin.  From where we were sitting, very crystal clear playing and spot on intonation, and even though she played really well, it wasn’t doing anything for me yet.

And then the cadenza for for the First Movement came.  And suddenly there was magic.  I was totally captivated, hanging off every note.  And I think the whole of the packed Perth Concert Hall was too.  It was like we were all hypnotised, mesmorised by her solo violin, singing out the multiple rising voice lines.   The end of the cadenza was most beautiful, and I think she must have inspired or lifted wASO up a notch because they came to the party too.

The audience applauded after the First Movement, but she deserved it.  Magic.

That’s one of the reasons why I love classical music.  When the feelings and emotions are poured out by the soloist, and connected directly with audience.  It’s more than just “listening” to music, or your eardrums picking up vibrating air particles.  Sometimes a connection is made, dare I say, at the soul level that can move you to tears.

It’s put me in a quandry now – she’s inspired me.  Should I return to the Beethoven Violin Concerto?  It’s one I started learning towards the “last” years of my violin days in my youth, but never finished.  But I know from when I tackled it, it “seems” easy to play – mostly scales and arpeggios (except the candenza!).  But it’s SO very hard to play it beautifully and maturely, to sing the legato lines.

The rest of the program featured the full, really full WA Symphony Orchestra.  There’s something wonderful about getting that many good musicians together and really playing it out – the SOUND of a full symphony orchestra is uplifting!

If you can’t make it to the Perth Concert Hall tonight, iiNet will be streaming the WASO concert live here – http://media.iinet.net.au/index.cgi?id=waso, at 7.30PM Perth Time (GMT+8).