Home Live Review Best of the Year: Top 10 Favorite Photos of 2022 by Mark

Best of the Year: Top 10 Favorite Photos of 2022 by Mark

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Jeff

This photo of Jeff “Skunk” Baxter ranked within Mark Caicedo’s Top 10 pictures of the year. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the emotional impact of live music: both on the artist and audience. As music photographers, our job is to capture those moments and preserve them in time, so that those fleeting moments are not lost. A tall order, indeed.

So, I went back through some of the images I’ve made this year to see if anything I’ve done even comes close to capturing any of those moments. Here are 10 examples, and a few impressions those artists and their music had on me. I present these Top 10 photos of 2022 in chronological order.

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  1. Rachael and Vilray @ The Miracle Theatre — 1/23/22

The year started off (just as it’s finishing) in chilly fashion. Rachel and Vilray’s “new” American songbook standards wrapped the enthusiastic and appreciative audience at DC’s Miracle Theatre in the warmth of their undeniable personal chemistry. Simply put, a beautiful evening of wonderful music.

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  1. Mike Campbell @ The Birchmere — 3/28/22

Mike Campbell, well known lead guitarist for Tom Petty’s (RIP) Heartbreakers, brought his attitude and unerring sense of melody and rhythm to the Birchmere for a long Covid delayed show. Watching and hearing him play several of Tom’s songs was an exercise in sadness, and joy but there wasn’t a dry eye in the house after the heartbreaking performance of “Refugee.”

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  1. River Whyless @ Union Stage — 4/11/22

I’ve followed and loved River Whyless’s music for close to a decade. In fact, much of the reason I pursued live music photography over the last 10 years is due to their support and encouragement. Although each band member has gone through momentous personal changes, onstage they remain totally focused and committed to their craft.

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  1. Jeff “Skunk” Baxter @ The Birchmere — 5/4/22

Of the many guitar “heroes” I’ve seen (and wish I’d seen), Baxter ranks near the very top of that list. His seemingly effortless ability to construct a solo that first grabs one’s ear, then captures the heart, is borne out again and again on his records with Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers. This night at the Birchmere, Skunk showed me over and over why, in his hands, the guitar sings.

Fav10
  1. Laurie Anderson @ Hirshhorn Museum — 6/3/22

Watching Laurie Anderson perform for nearly 4 hours (with only a short break to practice Tai Chi) was a privilege beyond measure. Although known for her avantgarde and unique artistic takes in photography, painting, sketch, music, among other mediums, her interpretation of Lou Reed’s guitar drones was delightfully mesmerizing and for many of us, totally captivating.

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  1. Zeina Azzam (Portside Music Festival) @ Waterfront Park (Alexandria, VA) — 6/18/22

When Zeina recited her beautiful poem inspired by local jazz legend Duke Ellington and his synesthesia, I was reminded that artistic expression transcends mediums. Alexandria’s Portside Music Festival featured music (of many genres), dance, poetry, and the culinary arts all blended together. Synesthesia, the notion that sound can be experienced as color wasn’t a requirement for the thousands who gathered on a picture-perfect June afternoon, leaving senses filled to the brim with laughter, food and drink, and a renewed love for the arts.

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  1. Near Northeast @ Songbyrd Music House — 7/1/22

This show was difficult to cover. The lighting was fine, the music unique and beautifully performed, the crowd appreciative, the band totally in sync but we were all challenged holding our emotions in check as this would prove to be Near Northeast’s final performance for a long time, maybe forever. As its 4 members scatter to different parts of the globe to pursue different musical interests, we bid farewell to one of DC’s most unique and innovative bands. For those last few minutes onstage, however, Avy and Kelly were totally in the moment.

Fav10
  1. Darlingside @ Mt. Baker Theatre — 10/21/22

I moved to the Pacific Northwest this year (Bellingham, Washington specifically) and the first show I attended was vocal Americana group Darlingside at the Mt. Baker Theatre. The group recently underwent a personnel change and as a result expanded its touring line-up. Ben Burns did a wonderfully subtle, but no less passionate, job on drums filling out Darlingside’s already expansive sound.

Fav10
  1. Ghost Light @ Wild Buffalo House of Music — 12/8/22

All the members of Ghost Light approach their music with passion, creativity, and virtuosity; the songs somehow morphing into excursions of inventiveness with surprising twists and turns. But it was Raina Mullin at the center of it all, singing, swaying, and utterly consumed by the music that captured my attention.

Fav10
  1. Samantha Fish @ The Birchmere — 12/12/22

I’d photographed Samantha twice before and, of course, she’s always impressive; her playing, her command of the stage, her singing. But this last time, I was struck by just how intense (and marvelous) were her vocals and ability to completely embrace the emotional impact of a song and, as a result, pull the audience into her world. As I wrote when I reviewed the show, “Samantha has that uncanny ability to summon that connection, night after night, singing about the broad range of human emotion.” Though the lady may sing the blues, she always manages to make the audience feel so good.

And isn’t that the only thing that matters?

All photos courtesy and copyright Mark Caicedo.

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