“This is a new song I haven't recorded yet,” the singer said, introducing the next song, to which a member of the audience replied, “We like it anyway!” And so it was: the night Feist could do no wrong.
Fresh from her sweep of the Juno Awards last week, Canada's most charming cultural export of the new century played to a sold-out house in a powerhouse performance that not even a cold could diminish.
Sipping tea in between songs, Feist led her backing band through a soulful and thrilling set, bathed in a deep wash of blues, reds, and magentas throughout the night.
Highlights of the set included the expected “One Two Three Four,” “Brandy Alexander,” and the encore performance of “Sea Lion Woman,” whose blues-rock riffing came with an indulgent rawness that gave a new immediacy to the fan favorite.
Arriving at the venue, I did a quick survey and saw that the barricade was pushed out from the stage just enough to provide a little bit of a buffer, but not enough for any sort of proper pit. A quick check with the floor manager confirmed that there was no pit for the evening.
Thus, the options were this: kick back and snap from the seated area stage right where my friends were camped out, or pack in and grab a piece of rail.
Needless to say, I choose the latter. A man's gotta try, right?
Multiple computer-controlled spots were positioned around the stage, including the front, which did block sight-lines, and given the situation, I knew picking the right spot would be essential for the concert. I staked out a spot just stage left, and I think this was overall a good decision that provided the most unobstructed view of the right-handed singer.
Lighting for this show was almost 100% single-color washe, particularly on Feist herself. Red, blue, and magenta treatments dominated and changed with the songs.
The introduction of a little white backlighting created some tonal separation, but certainly was not a dominant accent for the performance.
From a non-photographic standpoint, the use of the mirrorball was used to fantastic effect and created some lovely compliments to the set list.
Due to the constancy of the color washes, I shot at a fairly regular range of exposure: f/2.8 and 1/250 at ISO 1600 did the trick in most cases. The most tricky aspect of the exposure was not blowing out any one color significantly, which, considering the monochromatic treatments, was no easy task.
Underexposure was essential in most instances to create tonal separation and preserve what gradations there were.
Lenses & Equipment:
I shot with the Nikon D3 and the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8. The range of the telephoto was generally perfect for this set, and I never itched for the 24-70mm or 14-24mm in that were also in my bag. Due to the limited sight lines, with monitors and lighting equipment on stage, a wider angle was never really an option for clean compositions.
This is not a photographer's show, per se, but there certainly opportunities present if you want your shot at (and of) Feist. If you're intent on shooting, get there early, bring your telephoto, and grab some rail/stage.
Otherwise, this show is not to be missed if you're a fan. Photo credentials or not, guestlist or not, this is one gig I'd pay to see.