Best Concert Photos of 2012

I’m a bit late on this post because I was shooting assignments right up until the end of the year and I also moved apartments in the middle of December. I’m still not fully unpacked but I’m getting there. 2012 was a great year for me. I had photos in Rolling Stone and SPIN along with a ton of other online placements. I also got the chance to shoot many of my favorite artists like Noel Gallagher, Radiohead, My Morning Jacket along with legends like Springsteen and Madonna. Here’s to more in 2013! In the meantime, here are my 10 favorite concert photos from 2012.

WASHINGTON, DC - August 26th, 2012 - R&B heavyweight Mary J. Blige performs at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.  (Photo by Kyle Gustafson) (Kyle Gustafson)

1) Mary J. Blige at the Verizon Center¬†- It seems like Mary J. plays D.C. every year and I always try and shoot her if I can because she is THE TRUTH in concert. So, so good. This shot came late in her set and as soon as I caught this moment in my viewfinder I couldn’t wait to get home and see it on my computer screen.

Ben Bridwell's daughter runs onstage while Band of Horses performs at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson/www.kylegustafson.com) (Kyle Gustafson/Photo by Kyle Gustafson)

2) Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses and his daughter at Merriweather Post Pavilion – As a concert photographer, I have come to grips that most of the cool things that happen during a performance are going to come after the first three songs, but I was gifted with this amazing scene two songs into Band of Horses set at Merriweather as Ben Bridwell’s daughter ran onstage to talk to her Dad during the middle of the song. It was an amazing scene and I was glad I was there to capture it.

WASHINGTON, DC - March 29th, 2012 - Former Oasis lead guitarist/songwriter Noel Gallagher performs at the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C. with his new act, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds.  Gallagher played a career-spanning, 20 song set featuring new songs  and old favorites from Oasis.(Photo by Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

3) Noel Gallagher at the Warner Theater – I can’t tell you how happy I was to get this shot. I shot Oasis once before they broke up and I didn’t really get any Noel shots I was happy with so I was overjoyed when his solo tour finally came to D.C. Technically I was supposed to shoot Noel from the soundboard during this gig, but I managed to sneak down front and get this shot before the tour manager came out and moved me to the back of the venue.

WASHINGTON, DC - September 23rd, 2012 - Music icon Madonna performs at the Verizon Center as part of the MDNA Tour. The tour, which began in May in Tel Aviv, Israel, has come under fire for it's violent imagery, fake gunplay and use of swastikas in an image collage. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

4) Madonna at the Verizon Center – Oh Madonna. I finally get the chance to shoot you in concert and you wear a cheerleader’s outfit during our three song window. Oh well. You might have seen this photo on Vanityfair.com or a few other places besides the Post.

WASHINGTON, DC - July 9th, 2012 - Chris Martin of Coldplay performs as confetti cannons spray at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The band's 2011 album, Mylo Xyloto, reached number one in thirty countries. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

5) Coldplay at the Verizon Center – Another (rare) case of capturing a scene that is generally saved until the end of the show. Coldplay let the confetti fly during their second song, “In My Place” and it was a blast to shoot. I wish more bands did stuff like that.

WASHINGTON, DC - February 23rd, 2012 - Rick Ross, recently named "The Hottest MC In The Game" for 2011 by MTV, performs at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

6) Rick Ross at DAR Constitution Hall – Anytime The Bawse comes over to you and gives you a pose like this, it makes the Top 10. Obvs.

COLUMBIA, MD- April 28, 2012 - Jack Antonoff of fun. plays his guitar during soundcheck  before gates open at the 2012 Sweetgreen Festival at Merriweather Post pavilion in Columbia, MD(photo by Kyle Gustafson) (Kyle Gustafson/Photo by Kyle Gustafson)

7) Jack Antonoff of fun. at Merriweather Post Pavilion – I got to shoot some portraits of fun. before the 2012 Sweetlife Festival at Merriweather, and after we were done the band went right to soundcheck. I asked if I could stand on the back of the stage and shoot some photos of the band while they were warming up specifically so I could get a shot like this.

WASHINGTON, DC - July 28th - Pop superstar Jennifer Lopez performs at the Verizon Center as part of her "Dance Again" world tour. (photo by Kyle Gustafson) (Photo by Kyle Gustafson)

8) Jennifer Lopez at the Verizon Center – This is a great example of shooting until you are told to stop. This shot was the third to last frame I shot during Lopez’s performance and I got her as she was striking a pose and catching her breath after the third song was over. Lots of times photogs will start packing up before the third song ends, but sometimes it pays to stick with the artist until the very end.

WASHINGTON, DC - March 27th, 2012 - Alexis Krauss of indie-rock duo Sleigh Bells performs at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. The duo's second full length album, Reign of Terror, was released in February and debuted at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 200. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

9) Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells at the 9:30 Club – This is another example of a quick moment of downtime that yields a great image. I ended up shooting Sleigh Bells three times in 2012. Once at the 9:30 Club for their own show and then opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and then opening for Hot Chip. The 9:30 Club show ended up being my favorite and I got the best photos there.

WASHINGTON, DC - August 14th, 2012- Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band perform at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. (Kyle Gustafson)

10) Bruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt at Nationals Stadium – This show ended up being a complete clusterfuck logistically, but this was the shot I wanted when I got to Nats Park and I was happy to walk away with it.

I counted over 100 assignments this year (a vast majority of them concerts, but not all) proving once again that I like to stay busy. Be sure to check out my favorite photos from 2011 if you want more. I’m looking forward to a great 2013 (and it’s off to a great start, I got to shoot Morrissey this week!) and continuing to show you all what I see and capture through my viewfinder. Thanks for visiting! Here are the rest of my favorite shots of the year.


2012 Best Of – Images by Kyle Gustafson

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