As a concert photographer, I really have to smile at the fact that Julian Casablancas covered Bruce Springsteen's “Dancing in the Dark” at the Pageant, as that song's title is a haiku-worthy description for the singer's performance.
Photographing Julian Casablancas was rough. In doing research for this show, I saw that the sets seemed hit or miss, which generally indicates that house lights are used. And, as such, it's all up to the venue and their setup.
At the Pageant, which has a fantastic lighting setup, the one huge challenge is that the lighting rig is super high up in the ceiling – probably a good 30-feet above the stage. Following the inverse square law and lightfall off, light levels drop off very fast this far out. Hence, Julian Casablancas dancing in the dark.
I shot this set exclusively with f/1.4 primes, relying heavily on the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 for many of the tighter shots. Meanwhile, the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 was nice as a more midrange lens for full-length and waist-up shots (when in closer).
People often ask me which lens they should when starting out in concert photography, and I often say it's hard to go with a fast prime like the Nikon 50mm f/1.4. For all the arena tours and national club tours with their own lights, primes are rarely needed. But for shows like this with a very bare and decidedly dim aesthetic, nothing beats a fast prime.