Nearly 25-years after the passing of Bob Marley, the legendary Wailers band delivered an impassioned set of classic material and new work alike at the Pageant.
Fronting the Wailers, Elan Atias honored Marley's music with a delivery that not only remained faithful to the originals, but which also filled the songs with a living spirit that was enthusiastically received by the band's fans.
Longtime members Aston “Familyman” Barrett and Al Anderson, on bass and guitar, respectively, helped anchored the Wailer's core sound.
Throughout the night, the Wailers dug deep into the classic reggae material popularized in their time with Marley, all of which kept fans grooving on the floor and in their seats alike. Atias also performed a few of his own original songs as well, from his 2006 release Together as One.
The trifecta of the night, however, came at the end of the full set, when the band launched into a three-song run of some of Bob Marley & The Wailer's most famous tunes: “One Love,” “Woman No, No Cry,” and “Jamming.”
The Wailers followed up with an encore that included the title track from Atias's debut album followed by an enthusiastically received performance of the classic “Redemption Songs.”
This was a very straight forward shoot with no real surprises. Arriving at the venue, I check in with production about any special considerations. When the band's management saw I was already good to go with a pass, they said anything was cool as long as I didn't use flash.
With that go-ahead, I shot from the pit for the first five songs. It was great to have such nice access with a band like this.
Overall, the most challenging aspect of this shoot was probably singer Elan Atias, who was a moving target throughout the set. The singer was quite literally bouncing all over stage and one of his hands was seemingly in constant motion, gesturing to the crowd.
The lighting for this set was pretty basic, with nothing too tricky. As per the modus operandi for the Pageant, the house lights in front bathed the stage in warm white light from high in the rafters, while a rainbow of light came in from the back. During the first few songs, blue, magenta, and pale white schemes dominated.
While the high lighting on Atias in front could have been problematic with his short-brimmed cap, the charismatic singer generally lifted his head while singing for just enough to eliminate any potential problem.
I shot at ISO 6400 and f/2.8 for the entirety of this set, with shutter speeds lumped around 1/200.
On the low end, I dipped to 1/100 for the wide shot of Al Anderson (second image after the jump), which is just one example of where I'll spin the dial on the fly to use a lower shutter speed below 30mm. I find myself doing this most often when guitarists come to the edge of the stage, where the front-lighting drops off considerably.
Lenses & Gear:
I shot this set with the Nikon D3, trading off between the Nikon 24-70mmm f/2.8 and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8. I tried the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 for a few shots, but the ultra-wide lens just didn't fit the gig.
Though I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this gig, I was pleasantly surprised: this was a really fun show to photograph. If I had to narrow it down to reasons, I'd say it was Elan Atias and Al Anderson at the front of the stage that did it.
While Atias was in constant motion throughout the set, there was a real dedication and passion that came through in his singing that ultimately translated into some nice moments to photograph.