To say I was excited to see Tyler The Creator and Kendrick was an understatement. Tyler for me had really hit his stride dropping one of the best three album runs in recent history, of any artist and genre. I talked about Tyler’s set at length (click here) and thought it was an unbelievable performance.
One thing I do want to mention was I was standing next to a dad and his son (maybe 11 years old). Their father-son relationship was something special with each of them hyping each other up through Tyler’s set. I love when music can bring families together and the crowd at this event was full of cool moments like this.
In between Kendrick closing out the night, Clipse comprised of Pusha T & No Malice slayed the Gnaw stage. I’ve always wanted to see Pusha T and to see him perform as Clipse was a really special event. This spot wasn’t super crowded since so many were lined up for Kendrick and I was able to get right up to the front of the stage to capture images.
This was easily one of my favorite performances from the entire festival.
After shooting the first half of their set I made the hike back to Camp to take photos of Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem. This was the FIRST performance ever where the duo performed as The Hillbillies - rather than just Keem and Kendrick.
For this set, I was so far back - I knew there was no shot I was going to be close especially with no other conflicting sets. I'm pretty tall IRL so it’s not hard for me to see over everyone and was comfortable towards the back.
The reason the Hillbillies is a different performance than Kendrick and Keem is due to the song remixes in the performance. They play the same tracks - with rock / funk infused beats, changing progressions, and unique interludes presenting a new take on their usual act.
I was holding a 600mm lens during the walkout when I heard the start to, ‘family ties,’ I immediately put away my camera and started jumping/screaming with the crowd. I’ve never been in such a hype setting at a concert, vibing with what had to be 15,000 people (minimum) is something that everyone should experience.
For this set the opportunity for photos was quite limited, and I never force an image to happen, if it can’t. Most of my time was spent enjoying the concert and reflecting my journey as a concert photographer that got me to this point. In the same way shooting images of The Weeknd last year changed my professional life, I knew this was going to do the same.
I tried to leave a bit early (10 mins or so) to beat the crowds but kept getting pulled back with hits like Money Trees. After leaving the festival grounds, a bit of an adventure started because I couldn’t call an Uber and people were struggling to get out of the festival.
I knew I was going to be there for literally hours unless I found another way out. Walking through downtown LA with thousands of dollars of camera gear on me didn’t seem fun. I found a group of people who I thought would help me out while I was walking out of the grounds.
They were from California and parked two miles from the venue at a train station. I walked and talked with them as I went through Chinatown. The guys were even nice enough to wait with me while my Uber got there. It took me roughly two and a half hours to get home that night.
Shoutout to the legends who walked with me - I appreciate you all!