Amid the flurry of Nikon D3 speculation, the rock don't stop. Veteran grunge rockers Alice in Chains performed to a sold out show on Saturday at the Pageant, taking a break from their supporting tour with Velvet Revolver. The Seattle band performed an acoustic set at the venue, one of only four such dates, which will provide material for an upcoming live album.
Touring for the first time in almost nine years, the band sounded tight and genuinely seemed to enjoy themselves onstage. The lack of heavy amplification didn't seem to lessen the enthusiasm of the packed venue, which was heavy with smoke and standing-room only for the majority of the first floor.
The lighting for the first three songs was relatively even and abundant, with few changes to the key lighting and only minor variation in the fill. All four musicians sat on stools in a tight cluster at the center of the stage, surrounded by warmly glowing lantern-style lamps, which contributed to the intimate feel of the set.
Positioned about four or five meters back from the front of the stage, the musicians benefited from the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR, which I used exclusively for the performance. The light, which could have been much lower for an acoustic set, was generally adequate for the zoom's f/2.8 aperture at ISO 1600.
Despite the trickle of impressive Nikon D3 samples beginning to circulate on the web, the D2x still delivered great results, with the modest aperture of f/2.8. Were the venue darker, the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 would have certainly come into play, though the fixed focal length cannot touch the versatility of the zoom.
After a little break from show coverage, there should be a handful of additional shows this month, with Block Party in two weeks confirmed and Rilo Kiley out for request. In the meantime, there's plenty of D3 news, as samples begin to break from sporting events and electronics expos.