Howy Condiff, Curt Holden and I went to see the Rush tribute band Exit Stage Right at Jerseys Bar & Grill in Inver Grove Heights, MN. They were warming up for Fool Fighters; obviously a Foo Fighters tribute group. The music of Rush and Foo Fighters; you can’t go wrong!
Except for the shooting conditions, that is. Once again, a very difficult shoot, as the lighting was very poor. I used an ISO of 6400 for most of these, and even at that, I was barely at the minimum hand-held shutter speed of 1/60 of a second. I tried a few flash shots but didn’t care for the tone of that light, so I was stuck with the stupid-high ISO setting. This is one situation where a high-end Full Frame camera (such as a Nikon D4 or Canon 5D Mark III) has a distinct advantage over my APS-C machines. Oh well, I did the best I could.
One thing I am very pleased about is none of these images were cropped. They are are presented as they were originally shot. Always a feather in your cap when that occurs.
The music for this page is appropriately enough “Fly by Night” by Rush. This early effort (1975) has plenty of quality songs. The title track was recently used in a Volkswagon commercial. Over the years,“In the End” has emerged as my favorite.
Exit Stage Right, underway.
Bassist/vocalist/keyboardist Jonathan Thomas (Geddy Lee).
Guitarist Rob Wright (Alex Lifeson).
Drummer Peter Gaard (Neil Peart; which by the way, is pronounced Pea-art, not Pert).
The band playing the initial stages of La Villa Strangiato. Rob nailed the guitar parts…awesome. You can see his right foot just coming off the Wah pedal.
Time for some monochrome. Rob with his trusty Ernie Ball Music Man Axis in hand. Rob says the Axis gives him the light weight and flexibility of a Fender Strat (note the Floyd/Rose tremolo), with the humbucker sound of a Gibson Les Paul. I wonder if the Axis has that same sweet, vanilla smell of the Gibson finish? Those familiar with Gibson guitars know what I mean. By the way, if this appears dirty to you, it’s not. It’s just the metal flakes in the finish.
Peter doing his thing. With the poor lighting, it’s very difficult to freeze any action, so you go for shots like this instead. The VC of the Tamron did wonderfully, even at these low shutter speeds.
Jonathan at the keyboard. Pretty darned talented to be able to handle all those duties. By the way, you will see plenty of smiles and laughs onstage when ESR plays.
Difficult shot, as there is a substantial difference in lighting between the two players. Such is life when you’re doing a band photo shoot.
Jonathan with his Fender bass. Geddy Lee bass lines are not easy but if Jonathan messed any up, I sure didn’t hear it. Simply put; the guy can play (they all can).
Before going on-stage, Peter told me he had been working on the YYZ drum solo from “Exit Stage Left” (a live CD from Rush circa 1981). I didn’t realize he would be performing it that night! What a treat, and a real crowd pleaser!
Jonathan with his hands full. His vocals are unique, to be sure, but so are Geddy Lee’s (which are almost impossible to duplicate). I have come to enjoy Jonathan’s singing, but the sound board had his vocals too low for this performance.
Rob with total focus. The guitar work of Alex Lifeson requires it often.
Jonathan and Peter in monochrome. The digital noise so apparent in ISO 6400 images from an APS-C camera is reduced nicely by removing the color. Plus, monochrome looks cool.
Rob and Jonathan towards the end of their performance. Although they did extend their set, I wish they would have played longer.
Peter grabs some Zildjian; in monochrome, no-less. I didn’t go looking for shots to do in monochrome; it all happens in post-processing.
Despite the lighting difficulties, this was a fun shoot. How could it NOT be? We have 3 very talented (and very friendly and personable) players who are ripping away at songs from my favorite band. If you’re in the Twin Cities, and are a fan of Rush, you really should go see Exit Stage Right.
Fool Fighters were now on deck, and you don’t want to miss those shots. You can access that page by clicking HERE.
all images © Scott Woelm – August 2013