With men in slick suits and woman decked out in fur and heels, you'd think the crowd passing into the Pageant was hitting the latest late-night hot spot rather than a music event. But that's exactly what the masses came for as they braved the cold for an evening of soulful heat from rising R&B star Trey Songz.
Before the show, concert-goers sipped martinis at the bar and settled around the tables spread throughout the club, which, while the lights were down, gave the place a feeling closer to a lounge than a 2,000-capacity concert venue.
Sporting a red vest over a gray long-sleeve shirt along with matching two-tone sneakers, Trey Songz swaggered into the spotlight for a 75-minute set that, one wardrobe change later, ended with a catfight on the floor for the singer's undershirt.
Inspired by R&B staples like Smokey Robinson and Aretha Franklin, Trey Songz laid down a smooth set that had the ladies screaming for more, and proved to be the perfect opener for headliner J. Holiday.
Hailed by Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegün as one of the most promising talents to sign with the label in all of its rich R&B history, Trey Songz did nothing to disprove the buzz and brought a charismatic performance to the stage of the Pageant.
The young singer, who signed to Atlantic Records 2004, is currently touring in support of his late 2007 release, Trey Day.
2008 Tour Dates with J. Holiday:
02.29.08 Baltimore, MD
03.02.08 New York, NY
03.04.08 Philadelphia, PA
03.06.08 Richmond, VA
03.07.08 Hampton, VA
03.09.08 Lake Buena Vista, FL
03.12.08 North Myrtle Beach, SC
03.13.08 Atlanta, GA
03.14.08 New Orleans, LA
03.15.08 Memphis, TN
03.16.08 Houston, TX
03.17.08 Dallas, TX
03.19.08 Las Vegas, NV
03.20.08 Anaheim, CA
03.21.08 West Hollywood, CA
03.22.08 Alpine, CA
03.23.08 San Francisco, CA
I set up credentials to this show without knowing what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised by a very tight performance by Trey Songz. There was no song limit for this show, so I shot for the entire hour and fifteen-minute set.
There was an ample pit (to keep back the screaming ladies, naturally), with plenty of room to move around, and this space was really necessary as I kept up with the singer, who was in constant motion on stage.
While I haven't photographed many R&B performers, I thought this set provided a refreshing change from the rock, especially with the welcome and persistent lighting.
This set was lit by two spotlights trained on Trey Songz from the balcony, which provided fairly constant lighting throughout the set.
White balancing this set was slightly challenging, as the spotlights flickered in temperature between 3000K and 6500K, with plenty of subtle tints in between.
The background lighting was just for accent, with a few light washes, but the spotlights dominated the stage by and large.
Lenses and Equipment:
I used the Nikon D3 with the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 and the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR for this set. I pretty evenly split my time between the two lenses, and found that the combination was perfect for photographing Trey Songz under these conditions.
Thanks to the very abundant spotlighting, I was able to shoot at a rare combination of settings for a very comfortable exposure.
For most of this set, I locked down to 1/500 and f/4 at ISO 1600, with a few rolling modifications along the way in response to the minutely changing light.
The biggest challenge for this set was effectively tracking Trey Songz as he made the rounds over the stage, working both ends of the stage and everything in between.
I found the best thing to do was play zone defense, rather than jogging after the singer with every move, and shift positions as necessary.
Thanks to Kelly at Atlantic Records for setting everything up on short notice!