Jill Scott didn't bring her three Grammies, but you could hear every one of them in the electrifying performance the virtuoso singer delivered at the Fabulous Fox Theatre.
Scott treated the sold-out crowd of 4200 to a rich set list, starting off with “Let It Be” from her 2007 release, The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3, followed by that album's title track.
After her performance of “The Real Thing,” Scott paused between songs to reiterate the song's second verse for the uninitiated.
I ’m more than a toy for your satisfaction
I’m a pay-per-view on the TV screen
Your main attraction
By the end of the night, there was no doubt about the veracity of these lyrics. Fact: the woman's got pipes.
Just as with shooting Raheem DeVaughn‘s opening performance, photographing Jill Scott's set proved an interesting challenge given the setup of the Fox Theatre. Without a dedicated security/photo pit, I shot crouching down in the aisles of the venue and generally tried to stay as out of the way as possible. This approach, combined with the layout, restricted composition to a degree, but the spectacular production won out in the end.
I shoot for the first two songs, and was glad that I brought my casual kicks instead of my dress shoes. While the latter would have been perfectly at home in the posh theatre and among the well-dressed crowd, flexible and comfortable shoes were an absolute must for this gig.
Unlike the high stage of the Pageant, the Fox Theatre's stage is only about four feet, which would have made standing all too conspicuous.
The production opened with a loose grid of shifting lights behind Scott, which created a fantastic backdrop of color and texture with the surprising amount of smoke being generated on stage. During the first song, this curtain of lights rose to reveal the full band and backup singers, along with a variety of more environmental lights. During the first and second songs, this mix included reds, greens, yellows, purples, and blues.
Light on Scott herself was warm, thin light from high above – no such luck with a spotlight for the first two. While the front lighting was weak, there was generally more than enough action in the background to keep things interesting.
Since much of the lighting occurred at the back of the stage, I shot primarily from fairly acute angles to keep the background as lively as possible. Shooting from the sides produced the best mic separation, but simply didn't do justice to the lighting production.
Exposure & Metering:
Since the light on Scott was relatively constant, I shot within a fairly narrow range – around f/3.2 and 1/250 at ISO 2500, give or take a third-stop in any direction.
Lenses & Gear:
I shot with the Nikon D3 and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 for almost the entire set. Given the moderate distance from the performer, the range of the telephoto was most welcome. I did switch to the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 for just one shot of the full stage, knowing I'd be remiss if I missed capturing the full setup.
Below are two snaps of the Fabulous Fox Theatre itself, in between sets. You can see that despite the size of the venue, there is actually a good deal of haze in the place, which was put to good use during Jill Scott's performance. The Fox is a wonderful venue.