Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blondie / Pat Benatar @ Dodge Theatre

This was set to be a pretty packed full show, the Donnas were supposed to open, but had to cancel due to a bout of laryngitis. That aside, this was a fun show to be at. The near capacity crowd was a pretty mixed bag of ages and sexes, all wanting a piece of some classic pop rock. Getting two female pop icons for the price of one, bargain!

Pat Benatar went on first. She opened very strong... and fairly surprisingly, (to me at least) her voice seemed essentially unchanged by time. I didn't notice any strain as she belted out the classics; "We belong", "Heartbreaker", "Hit me with your best shot", and of course "Love is a battlefield".

FOUR time Grammy winner Benatar played a great high energy set, and kept the night rolling. After our 3 song nugget of shooting time, we photogs were escorted to our holding area. At the Dodge, this means basically that we are just sitting in the hall outside of the main room... so the music was very clear as I sat there editing my photos. Editing Pat Benatar photos while Pat Benatar was performing a few hundred feet away was an interesting experience.

There is an hour and a half break between when we were escorted out for Pat Benatar and when Blondie took the stage. Funny enough, no one announced that she was starting... we just heard the opening lick from "Call me" start up. We all looked at each other and thought, 'is this a cd?' We grabbed our gear and ran for the stage.

Deborah "Blondie" Harry was clad in a sort of odd 80's tattered shirt held together with buttons and skirt sort of outfit with gold converses, RayBans, and a ball cap that said "Blondie NYC". This was an interesting look for a pop diva. :) During the middle chorus of "Call me" I thought I heard Harry straining a little to hit the notes. As I kept listening, it sounded more like she had trouble hearing the monitor monitor issue rather than a performance issue. She actually rocked the house pretty solid.

Of course I didn't get to watch the whole show, but I can imagine she played all the big hits. While I was there however, Harry and the rest of Blonie seemed very "on". I could have maybe asked for a little more production on both Blondie and Benatar's side. It sort of felt like they just showed up and used what was here. Blondie did at least have a large banner at the rear of the stage with "Blondie" tagged on it. We weren't allowed to shoot Blondie from the center, so it was hard to make the photos any sort of interesting by including some of the banner in the rear of the shots.

Camera/photog wise... the lights weren't great. They were ON, but that was about it. A spot at the front and center of the stage... basically to drown everything else out. The colored lights just weren't bright enough to compete, just not enough of them... and no smoke or anything for them to reflect on. I primarily stuck to my 5D MkII for most of the night. I kept the ISO around 3200 - 4000 and was able to have a little play with the shutter speed. Since there was no barricade at this show, we were about 10 rows back from the stage, so the 100-400mm just stayed on the MkII. It performed very well.

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