Despite not going to Austin for SXSW, March was a busy month for me. The last of the 13 shows I covered this month took me to a venue I had never been to before. The Music Hall at Strathmore is located up in Bethesda and despite fearing the worst, we had an easy trip up there. I was bracing for an hour and a half but it took less than 30 minutes. Bonus.
Wilco, of course, were the headliners of the night. In fact, they were the only band on the bill. Having Wilco play the greater-D.C. area is nothing new, they seem to come around here every 6 months or so, but that never stops people from lining up to see them.
This was my third time seeing and shooting Wilco, but the first non-festival show of theirs that I’ve covered. The lighting was a bit frustrating, mostly washes in the back and those hot spotlights that lighting directors seem to love these days in the front. It wasn’t as bad as The xx at 6th & I, but it was close. So I was pleasantly surprised when I came home and found quite a few usable frames once I loaded everything on to my computer. I spent much of our three song allotment focusing of Jeff Tweedy because I wanted to make sure I got at least one great shot of him. The rest of the band stayed in the wings toward the back of the stage, and also out of the light. I managed to grab a few frames of guitarist Nels Cline just before the third song ended.
I shot this gig my my 24-70/2.8 mounted on my D3 and my 70-200/2.8 VR I mounted on my D700. I switched that lens out for my 50/1.4 after the second song when it was clear the light wouldn’t get any better. Since we were shooting in front of the front row, there really was no need for a long lens.
Thanks to a tip from my friend Chris, I snapped a few frames of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who was tucked away in Row L, trying to be incognito.
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