Earlier this week, Drake and Future kicked off their 'Summer Sixteen' tour at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, TX. Following an opening set by Future, who was accompanied by none other than Metro Boomin onstage as he offered live versions of his numerous hits, Drake lit up the night with a series of fan favorites. The Toronto native entered the stage at 10:01 p.m., about 30 minutes after he was supposed to perform. The audience started a “We Want Drake” chant. 30 seconds later, the chant fizzled out, the curtain dropped and Drake ascended from under the stage onto a high platform, beginning the show with the title track for the tour, “Summer Sixteen,” as the word “Revenge” blazed behind him on a large curved screen. Drake won over the crowd very quickly, saying: “I go by the name Drake, I come from a place called Toronto, Canada, but Texas is one of the most important places in the world to me, so it’s a real honor to stand here,” he said before promising not to “talk your ear off.” He then kept his promise and treated the audience with a more than 50 songs.
Houston-based photographer, Greg Noire, witnessed the show in Austin, documenting the frenzy with a series of beautiful shots that he's sharing with us, for you, today. He also shares some details from the lens's perspective and tells us how he first started out in the game while also giving some advice when it comes to on-stage photography. Click through the galleries below.
You gathered a following on social media with your artist photography. How did you get started?
I got started shooting music festivals and concerts a little bit after I shot SXSW in 2014. I've shot SXSW every year since 2012 for a Houston hip-hop group called The Niceguys. They are great group of talented dudes, but one year for SXSW, I decided to go out on my own and shoot several events for a publication, which was in 2014. Before then I would just shoot and film the guys and party (a lot), but in '14, it was all work, zero play. I got it in. I photographed The Fader Fort, Woodie Awards & other key events. The photos that I took during that year at SXSW ended up being the best live music photographs that I've ever captured at that point and the feedback I was getting from my followers Instagram kind of confirmed it for me. I even had the President and Publisher of Fader Magazine, Andy Cohn, give me a shout out and a care package because he appreciated the work. Super flattering moment for me. I've been shooting since 2009-ish, but I didn't fully commit myself to shooting live music until that point because I began to understand how much I love it and how much enjoy sharing my photos for people to see.
When did you realize it was time to take photography seriously?
Well, I think I've always taken photography seriously. I never really viewed it as a hobby per-say because it's always been much more than a pastime for me. However, I recently decided to go full-time a bit more than a year ago after shooting Lollapalooza for the second time. I remember coming back to my cubicle, sitting down in my chair & spinning around a few rotations, then literally saying to myself aloud, "what the fuck am I doing here?" I had just gotten back from doing a job that I love in exchange for a job that I despised for the simple fact that it was not photography. a few weeks later, I put in my two weeks notice.
What is the biggest challenge while capturing a person on stage?
The biggest challenge for me while shooting live music is making sure that I'm able to convey the same emotion in my photographs as the artist is giving the fans while performing. I tend to shoot tighter to create what are essentially stage portraits so I can showcase more of the face. Doing this makes it easier for the viewer of the photograph to feel what the artist is emoting. I also love getting those moments in between songs where the performer drops the mic from their face and gives the crowd some type of look, which could be a smile, a glare or a smirk.
Out of all artists that you were able to meet as a photographer, who was the most down to earth, humble person?
There are a few, but I'd probably have to say Kehlani. She's the homie. I've shot her quite a few times and has always allowed me to capture a few portraits before and/or after her sets which I enjoy just as much as shooting her live show. She's sweet as hell with great energy and always seems genuinely appreciative.
How was the Drake and Future show?
This show was probably the best-produced show I've ever seen in my life. They went all out for stage setup, especially for Drake's production. Besides that, Drake and Future's energy was on another level, most likely because it was the first show of the tour. I loved it.
What was your favorite part of the show?
There was a moment where the stage became somewhat dark while the beginning part of hotline bling looped for a while. There were what looked like huge balloons on the ceiling of the arena that I figured would be used for a ball drop, but one single ballon lit up a hot pink color and dropped in a very slow and controlled manner. Drake extended his hand to catch it. He interacted with it for a while and let it retract back to the ceiling. The ballon, which is now basically a light, hit the ceiling at the exact point that the beat dropped for hotline bling and at this moment, the entire ceiling lit up the same color. All of the balloons then dropped to the stage and fluctuated up and down. One of the coolest things I've witnessed at a show.
Your favorite shot of the set? And why?
It has to be the shot of him holding the ballon light. This is one of my favorite shots of any set I've shot. It seems so intimate and you can feel the emotion in this photo. I also love how the only available light came from the fixture that he's holding.