I remember when Madonna first made it big back in the 80’s and when she stared with “Wayne and Garth” during one of the better SNL skits, but I had never seen her in concert. Last night I got to see Madonna live (for 3 songs) and more importantly I got to photograph her in concert at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego where she closed out a leg of her Rebel Heart Tour.
I’ll start with the technical stuff. It was a soundboard shoot from the back of the arena floor. On the positive side, there was a small platform for us to shoot from at the rear of the soundboard which meant that we didn’t have to deal with the heads and arms of the crowd. More importantly we didn’t have to deal with the huge number of smart phone screens being held up while the sold out crowd seems more intent on trying to capture a photo or video clip than they did with actually watching the show. I shot with two camera and two lenses; the Nikon D750 with the 400mm f/2.8 and the Nikon D4 with the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. This was a first for me, as I usually use the D4 with the 400mm but I have been so happy with the image quality of the D750 that I figured this was a great time to use it as the primary camera body. I shot both cameras at ISO 1600 with shutter speeds of 1/250 sec and 1/320 sec at f/2.8
Madonna puts on a great show with show being the operable word. The production is HUGE with 20+ semi-trucks worth of gear, a giant stage and the longest ego ramp I have ever seen. The three songs that we got to shoot were a mix of large production numbers with religious overtones, a martial arts themed kick ass dance number, and Madonna alone in the middle of the stage with a flying V guitar.