This may have been an anniversary show ten-years in the making, but for me, I went back four years to July of 2006, when I first photographed the Dresden Dolls opening for Panic! At The Disco at the Pageant. Since that show, I had the honor of photographing them later the same year on their headlining tour, and then again in early 2008.
The Dresden Dolls are one of my favorite bands to photograph, and their January 6 concert of 2008 at the Pageant ranks among my very favorite shooting experiences. With great light, a full-set shooting privilege, and, needless to say, an epic performance by Brian Viglione and Amanda Palmer.
After a nearly three-year absence from the big stage of the Pageant, I jumped at the chance to cover their 10th anniversary tour on assignment.
Press received five songs shooting from the photo pit for this show – an upgrade from the standard three-song limit for most shows, but a cut from the completely open photo policy the band had in 2008 for credentialed photographers. Photo was allowed from anywhere else in the venue after those five songs in the photo pit, though I didn't shoot after leaving the front of the stage.
Lighting for this show was done mostly with the house lights, with levels that kept me around ISO 3200 with the Nikon D3 and D700.
For this show, I used the 70-200mmm f/2.8 as my primary lens, though I have to say that the Dresden Dolls were set up relatively close to the front of the stage – maybe even the closest I've seen them since they opened for Panic! in 2006.
The range of the telephoto was perfect for Amanda, while I did break ou the 24-70mm f/2.8 for Brian just a little more. Even though Brian's drum kit was pretty close to the edge of the stage, I like shooting him best over his drums from in front of him, so that mean a little longer travel down the stage.
I did use the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 for a few shots at the start, when Brian and Amanda came out together and played at the very front of the stage.
One thing to note is that the Dolls have a very open camera policy, so fans of the band lining the barricade came prepared. There were probably about half a dozen DSLRs in the front line of people that I saw – probably many more in the crowd that I didn't see. If I shot this show again, I'd be very tempted to trade my place in the photo pit for a piece of the barricade and no shooting limit.