I am really lucky. I have photographed some of the biggest names in music over the years. I still get excited to shoot any concert, but there are some bands out there that are on my bucket list. I have been able to knock a few off my list in recent years; The Who, Rush, Roger Waters and now Pearl Jam. I have seen Pearl Jam in concert but never had the opportunity to photograph them until last night when they brought the Lightning Bolt tour to the Viejas Arena at SDSU.
It was not the easiest shoot I have ever had, but it really did end up being a good night. First off, there were 12 approved photographers and a few others either working with the band or working on assignment that gave them photo access. When you add in the video crew, security, press person and a “no shoot” zone in the middle of the pit, you end up with a very crowded photo pit and not a lot of room to move. So basically once you were in position, that was it, no moving from one side to the other or changing shooting position. This meant that all the photos would look basically the same and we were dependent on the band changing position….. which they didn’t.
The second issue I had, was the lighting. Yes it was mainly blue, and yes, it was pretty dark, but the real issue was that it seemed to be only on Eddie. The rest of the band was mostly in the dark. So most of the time the dark, blue light was on Eddie, meaning that most of the frames I got last night were of Eddie Vedder from the same position.
So dark blue LED lights, restrictive shooting positions, rude amateur photographers, 11 minutes of shooting time… pretty normal concert shoot.
In the end, being able to photograph Pearl Jam was well worth it. And I did get some photos that I really like.
All photos taken with a Nikon D4 and 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and a Nikon D700 with 24-70mm f/2.8 on Hoodman CompactFlash cards and Sony XQD cards.