Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ the Pageant

June 2, 2009 – Returning to the Pageant after a three year absence, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs came packing a powerhouse set, led by the indomitable Karen O.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ the Pageant

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ the Pageant

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ the Pageant

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ the Pageant

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ the Pageant

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ the Pageant

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ the Pageant

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ the Pageant

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ the Pageant

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ the Pageant

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ the Pageant

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ the Pageant

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ the Pageant

Photographer's Notes:

This was a tricky shoot due to very tough lighting. Not so much the lack of intensity, but simply strange color washes and casts to the stage lights during the first three songs. Of course, as I look back at the start of the fourth song, there's some beautiful white light. Naturally.

But there's really no reason to complain when photographing Karen O., as she's simply a phenomenal subject in any light. Truly, KO is one frontwoman who is doing something interesting just about 100% of the time.

As weird as the lights were, Karen made this shoot as easy as it could have been. So many great gestures in just three songs that one starts to lose count of all the finger wagging, pointing, waving, and so forth.

There was a small arc of speaker monitors at the front of the stage, partitioning off a small area that Karen O. stayed within during the time I photographed her. As a result, I stuck mostly to the Nikon 70-200mm for this show. I could have easily shot with only this lens and been quite happy. The Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 only came out for a few shots, but even then these were mostly past 50mm or so.

The pit was really tight for this gig, with no real reason. I can only assume that tour management wanted it that way for some reason, but it was tight enough that moving around wasn't too much of an option. I shot most of this set from the same three-foot slot.

End Notes:

Apologies to Nick Zinner and David Pajo. I know; You guys were on stage, too. But it's really hard to tear the lens away from Karen O. Brian Chase just lucked out because he was directly behind her at the back of the stage.

My Camera DSLR and Lenses for Concert Photography

Nikon D750:
I use two Nikon D750 for my live music photography. Amazing high ISO performance in a compact body with tons of pro features.
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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There are 26 comments

Add yours
    • Todd

      Hi Alonso, the lights aren’t too bad. It really depends on what shutter speeds you prefer to use; the intensity of the lights also varies between the blue and yellow accents. My ISO was all over the place, but under ISO 4000 for the whole set.

    • Todd

      Hey Peter,

      Thanks for the comment. You guys got white light and a low stage? I’m a little jealous. Last time the YYYs played here, they had spotlights for the third song (maybe the second), so that spoiled me a bit, too.

      Nice work.

  1. KennyW

    Nice job Todd… this might be one of the fastest full set turn arounds I’ve seen you post! The amps haven’t even cooled off yet on the bus :-) The colors in Karen’s outfit really pop against the various lighting hues. I like that you kept w/the 70-200, along with the gestures, you really captured K’s emotion and facial expressions, & intensity of her magic.

    • Todd

      Hi Kenny,

      Thanks for the comment. The last week or two has been a little slow, so I turned over the Decemberists set and this one same-night. Sometimes it just has to be done.

      I liked Karen’s outfit, especially the robe she had on at the start.

      The wedges were set back from the front of the stage by a foot or two, so Karen was actually relatively far away. I think this was ultimately a good thing, even with the Pageant’s high stage, because it meant compression of the angles and made for easier tracking with the 70-200mm. I would have loved the lower stage of the Fox Theatre – or even the shed – for this gig.

    • Todd

      Zinner was just sort of rocking out on the side, but happened to be bathed in only red light when I turned over to him. Pajo was on the far side of the stage, so it was a matter of weighing losing my preferred position for Karen to go pick him off. Karen won.

  2. Kris

    Hey Todd, what script or plug-in do you use for the little gallery of photos at the bottom of the set to have them pop-up larger?

    • Todd

      Hey Chris, thanks for the pick. I did like that pose and the look of glee that’s on Karen’s face – red light and all. And maybe the red is even fitting.

      For shots like that, exposure is key, as is an appropriate white balance. Cooling down the WB will help separate the red-orange-yellow tones more, at the cost of the punchiness one gets with a true deep red.

  3. diana

    THIS IS MY FAVORITE BAND, PARDON MY CAPSLOCK! I love this set, you perfectly captured Karen O’s energy and vivaciousness.

    As you pointed out in the end note, I’m bummed there are no Zinner and Pajo shots. They are both very very awesome. At least you captured Brian, even if it’s one shot. He tends to grin a lot during songs, so I’m glad you caught a faint curling of the mouth. If the lighting was that difficult for the first three songs, I imagine that the lighting on the periphery of the stage is particularly trying? But yeah, as you said, it’s hard to turn a lens away from Ms. O.

    Anyway, I’m so psyched for their tour but there is no NYC date because they’re doing All Points West. I might just have to shoot APW because I need to see them live again.

    Totally retweeting this!

    • Todd

      Hey Diana,

      First off, thanks for the comment and retweet!

      Glad you enjoyed the set. Apologies to the fans as well for the lack of Pajo and Zinner photos. The light on the edges of the stage was mostly washes. Karen O. was being hit by two geled spotlights at the sides of the stage, so at least she benefited from more light and some contrast there.

      There’s a slim chance I might be coming out for APW – I’d love to photograph them there. Hopefully with some day/dusklight in the lighting mix.

  4. Cary

    Alright – seeing your shots next to mine make me wanna quit. Amazing stuff as usual.

    I can’t quite figure out what went wrong, other than everything is far to soft and/or harsh overall

    If have a second or two, check my YYY shots out, look at the properties, and see if anything jumps out at you as a problem. All would be very helpful moving forward.

    http:[email protected]/sets/72157618971840872/

    Much thanks – Cary

  5. Chris

    Great shots, Todd. I stumbled upon your site, and was surprised to find this set (not knowing you were in Saint Louis)! I took my lady friend to see the YYYs at the Pageant week before last.

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