Music Photography by Joe Papeo

2012 Year in Review – My Best Photos

Best photos of 2012

It’s that time of year for photographers to put out their “Best of” list for the previous year.  And then for every other photographer to say things like “Really?”…”That’s their best?”.  I have found that if you put 1,000 photos in front of the photographer who shot them and the same photos in front of a random person and tell them both to pick out the best 50, you will have about 10 of those photos that both people pick.  See, photographers have an emotional connection to the photos they take that makes them a bit biased towards their selections.

So instead, I will call this a year in review.  Might it be a “Best of”?  Sure.  But I am sure others will have opinions that differ.  So here is my year in review…of best of…or simply some of my favorite moments and highlights from 2012, in photos, in the order WordPress decides to upload them.

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One of my favorite photos of the year is Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers at Prudential Center

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This photo of Florence and the Machine at Radio City Music Hall was shortlisted for Nikon-NME Magazine’s Music Photography Contest and hung in the Getty Images Gallery in London

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This photo of The Gaslight Anthem made Rolling Stone’s “Hottest Live Photos”

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Rolling Stone ran this photo along with their review of Radiohead at Prudential Center

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This photo of fun. made Rolling Stone’s “Hottest Live Photos”

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June  started festival season.  The night before playing Metallica’s Orion Music + More Festival, The Gaslight Anthem co-headlined at House of Blues in Atlantic City with Cage the Elephant.

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And then 2 days of great bands at Orion Music + More starting with Cage the Elephant

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And Arctic Monkees

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Guitar phenom Gary Clark Jr.

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And, of course, Metallica

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I got to cover Roger Water’s amazing production of The Wall

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Roger brings children from the local Boys and Girls club to every show to join him on stage.  This time at Yankee Stadium.

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Then over to Warped Tour with New Found Glory

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Central Park Summer Stage has a busy summer with great acts.  This time it was Young the Giant.

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A few days later I was on assignment with Rolling Stone down at Firefly Festival.  My favorite weekend of the year with some amazing bands starting Friday with Walk the Moon.

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Jack White headlined in the rain on night one.

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A spent a little time with Grouplove

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And then Grouplove and Walk the Moon stormed the stage during Young the Giant’s finale, “My Body”.

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Firefly had Cake

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Hip Hop Superstar Lupe Fiasco

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I spent a lot of time with Wayne Coyne of Flaming Lips this year and even took a Hot Air Balloon ride with him.

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Firefly also had one of my favorite live bands on the planet, Fitz and the Tantrums

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Flaming Lips mapped out all their activity at Firefly

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And the Black Keys closed the weekend with an amazing set

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Mumford and Sons played in front of 15,000 people at Peir A in Hoboken

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The view was awesome that night.

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Slash proved he was the heart and soul of G n R at the Wellmont with Miles Kennedy and the Conspirators.

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I even shot a show on the Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum.  Santigold took the term flight deck literally.

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And Stephen Colbert even got into one of Wayne Coyne’s space bubbles.

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And so did Wayne, obviously.  Everyone wants a space bubble photo, and I have many.  I always wanted to drop down to the floor to shoot up into the bubble, but since there is a ramp in the photo pit, it makes it impossible.  I was in the crowd for the end of the show and had the chance to drop to my knees and get this shot.  One of my favorite of Wayne in a bubble.

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UK pop sensation Marina and the Diamonds started making her mark in the US.

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Alanis Morrisstte toured for the first time in some years.

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Train gave fans what they wanted.

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I then headed down to Made in America Festival in Philadelphia on assignment for Rolling Stone

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Made in America was headlined and curated by Jay Z

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The Hives showed why they are one of the best live bands on the planet.

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Run DMC reunited

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Drake also played

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Pearl Jam closed out Made in America festival

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It band Imagine Dragons headlined at Irving Plaza

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The Offspring brought their 90s sound to Terminal 5

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I then headed up to Massachusetts for kid-friendly Life is Good Festival.  Here is Allen Stone with a sign language interpreter.

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Allen Stone was nice enough to walk out to the middle of the festival with me so I could grab this shot.

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Michael Franti proposed to a woman on stage to close out day 1.

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The Fresh Beat Band headlined the kids stage.

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And my son got to spend time with them in the photo pit.

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Sharon Jones brought the soul.

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Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds closed out the festival.

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The Avett Brothers closed out Central Park Summer Stage for me.

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Gotye fit in very well at Radio City

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Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund put on their benefit show at the Beacon Theatre with acts like Jason Mraz.

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Cyndi played an emotional song with American Idol winner Adam Lambert

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Roberta Flack joined the fun

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And ‘Girls Just wanna Have Fun’ with Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells

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Band of Horses played a unique 2 shows in one night when they did both an acoustic show and electric show at Hammerstein Ballroom

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I had this photo of Black Taxi run in Spin’s Soundcheck

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I got my annual shot of Scott Ian getting air

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Van Halen reunited at Madison Square Garden

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Jane’s Addiction put on an amazing show at The Wellmont

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Jim James of My Morning Jacket joined forces for folk super group The New Multitudes at Webster Hall

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I even caught someone using their mouth when I shot Drew Grow an the Pastor’s Wives

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I got to cover Tribes at Mercury Lounge even though they are playing large clubs in the UK.

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The Joy Formidable

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Soul Rock legend Daryl Hall took his “Live from Daryl’s House” on the road

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Bands from my childhood like Squeeze got back together for a tour

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An John Lydon brought PiL on the road

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Morrissey came through NYC solo

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And New Order without Peter Hook came to Roseland Ballroom

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Aerosmith played the Today Show

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Indie Rock giant The Shins at Terminal 5

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Newly inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Rush played Prudential Center

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Grunge legends Soundgarden played an intimate record release party for ‘King Animal’ at Irving Plaza

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Blue Oyster Cult reunited with all 5 original members at Best Buy Theater

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I covered a little Alt Country when Zac Brown Band came to Izod Center

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The music of Tom Petty was celebrated at Webster Hall.  Caleb Followill of Kings of Leon joined in

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Even John McEnroe stopped by

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When Levon Helm passed away, his friends put together a benefit to save the barn.  Joe Walsh and Robert Randolph payed their respects.

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Roger Waters headlines an all star cast of musicians and friends

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Matt & Kim brought their energy to the Wellmont Theatre

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Dinosaur Jr got the band back for a show at Terminal 5

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Silversun Pickups played Terminal 5

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Overall, I am amazed to look back at 2012.  I shot so many amazing shows and amazing bands.  These photo make me smile, and I hope they do for you as well.  Maybe you were at one of the shows or just wanted to be and my photos took you there for a quick moment.  I can’t wait to see what 2013 brings.

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Feel free to share this post and leave a comment below.  Let me know if you were at a show or you have a favorite.  Or maybe I missed one you think belongs.

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