Angels & Airwaves @ the Pageant — 2008.02.28

Angels & Airwaves @ the Pageant -- 2008.02.28

In the moments before Angels and Airwaves take the stage, the pit is packed to capacity, and even the few people who are pulled over the barricade at the front due to heat exhaustion do little to alleviate cramped quarters.

The people are the front are begging roadies for water, one girl has bruises in the making on her forearms from being jammed against the barricade, and there are male friends who look conspicuously uncomfortable about the physical arrangement and proximity in which they now find themselves.

And yet, as the familiar synth lines from “Call To Arms” fluttered in over the house sound system and Tom DeLonge takes the stage, the pit lights up with a hungry cheer and the sardine-tight situation is the last thing on its member's minds.

Touring in support of their late 2007 release I-Empire, Angels & Airwaves threw down a mix that drew heavily from that sophomore album while still including fan-favorites from their debut, We Don't Need to Whisper. Highlight tracks from the new album included the lead-off “Call to Arms,” “Sirens,” and “Secret Crowds.”

Angels & Airwaves @ the Pageant -- 2008.02.28

Angels & Airwaves @ the Pageant -- 2008.02.28

Angels & Airwaves @ the Pageant -- 2008.02.28

Angels & Airwaves @ the Pageant -- 2008.02.28

Angels & Airwaves @ the Pageant -- 2008.02.28

Angels & Airwaves @ the Pageant -- 2008.02.28

Angels & Airwaves @ the Pageant -- 2008.02.28

Angels & Airwaves @ the Pageant -- 2008.02.28

Angels & Airwaves @ the Pageant -- 2008.02.28

Angels & Airwaves @ the Pageant -- 2008.02.28

Angels & Airwaves @ the Pageant -- 2008.02.28

Angels & Airwaves @ the Pageant -- 2008.02.28

Angels & Airwaves @ the Pageant -- 2008.02.28

Shooting Notes:

As is par for the course, I had the first three songs up front in the pit, which flew by with the anthemic rock of Angels & Airwaves. After disappointing lighting for the openers, I wasn't sure what to expect for this set other than quickly changing lighting schemes and plenty of epic, stadium-ready rock moves from Tom DeLonge.

The biggest challenge for this set was DeLonge's constant motion as he hit his poses, which made composition an interesting challenge. Frame the shot too tightly and one cuts off the arms. Stay too wide waiting for DeLonge to go big, and the frame can be a too loose for any intermediate shot.

Still, I found that perseverance was a necessary approach to this set that did pay off for all the key shots.

Due to the difficulty of photographing DeLonge, I made the executive decision to concentrate on the former-Blink 182 frontman, at the expense of the supergroup's other members.

Lighting:

The first song started out with flashes of white light that eventually gave way to warm backlighting, with plenty of strobes thrown into the mix. The second and third songs were graced with magenta lighting from the sides, alternating with a little turquoise added for contrast.

Overall, as expected, the changes were very fast, and what light there was came punctuated with complete darkness.

Lenses & Equipment:

I shot with the Nikon D3 and Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 almost exclusively for this set. I pulled out the 70-200mm f/2.8 for a few shots, but the midrange zoom was easily the best choice for this set.

Exposure:

The first song started off relatively dark and put me at 1/200 and f/2.8 at ISO 5000. The second and third songs were a little brighter, and I dialed down to around 1/200 at f/2.8 and ISO 3200.

End Notes:

For anyone shooting this show, to paraphrase M. J. Fox, watch for the changes and try to keep up.

Here's the set list from the night:

Angels & Airwaves @ the Pageant -- 2008.02.28

My Camera DSLR and Lenses for Concert Photography

Nikon D850:
I use two Nikon D850 for my live music photography. A true do-it-all DSLR with amazing AF, fast response, and no shortage of resolution.
nikon-24-70mm-f28-lens-squareNikon 24-70mm f/2.8:
For most gigs, the 24-70mm is my go-to lens. Exceptional image quality at wide apertures and super-functional range.
Nikon-70-200-squareNikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR:
A perfect pair to the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, I can basically shoot any job with the midrange and this lens. Superb image quality.
nikon-14-24mm-f28-lens-squareNikon 14-24mm f/2.8:
Ultra-wide perspective, ridiculously sharp even wide open at f/2.8. I love using this lens up-close and personal, where it excels.
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