As he bounds through the aisle of the Fabulous Fox Theatre, whipping the venue's 4200 audience members into a frenzy, it's clear that Raheem DeVaughn knows what the ladies like. And that's dancing.
Ladies love dancing.
The Grammy-nominated singer, with band in tow, was happy to provide the jams that had people spilling out of their seats and onto the carpeted aisles. DeVaughn is currently touring in support of his 2008 release, Love Behind the Melody (Jive), which features singles “Woman” and “Customer.”
This was a relatively easy shoot, though it was made a little more complicated by the layout of the venue itself. The Fox Theatre makes a fantastic live music venue, but it's actually much more suited to musicals. With guest seating set up in the orchestra section, right up to the stage, access to the front was limited to three aisles. For most of the set, I shot from either these aisles or the gap between the orchestra seating and the start of the regular seating, about five meters back from the stage.
I had two songs for this shoot, and no restrictions to positioning other than those imposed by the physical layout of the seating and the venue. The shoot was definitely a little different than shooting at the Pageant, but the grand scale of Fox is always adds a nice luxe element to the shoot.
One interesting aspect of DeVaughn's set was the use of title cards, which he changed throughout his set to correspond with his song choice, and the use of a sign language interpreter, the duties of which were handled by spoken word artist Malik Yousef.
Lighting-wise, this gig was a breeze to shoot, as a big bright spot from far in the front of the house lit up DeVaughn and tracked his every movement. The precise color temperature of the spot flickered minutely, changing casts during the two-song shoot, while accent lighting touched on blue, purple, and red hues.
I was pleased that the backdrop curtain included a sprinkling of LED lights, which shifted in color and added a little interest to the background of a few shots.
Exposure & Metering:
Thanks to the spotlight, the amount of light for this gig was plenty. After evaluating the exposure, I decided on f/3.2 and 1/320 at ISO 1600.
Lenses & Gear:
I shot this set with the Nikon D3 and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8. The range of the telephoto was perfect due to the very limited shooting positions, and worked well for tracking the singer as he moved across the length of the stage.
Compared to the other two R&B performances I photographed this month, those of J. Holiday and Trey Songz, Raheem DeVaughn provided an interesting contrast in approach, not to mention venue. While the two Pageant shows provided very close positioning, this performance at the Fox Theatre allowed for a slightly more relaxed shoot. While the alloted shooting time was only two songs instead of the full-sets of the previous shows, I was pleased that DeVaughn's set still provided plenty of variety in pose and expression.