01.29.09 – If the top ten album and three Grammy nominations aren’t proof enough that Kings of Leon have hit the big time, just ask one of the thousands of screaming fans at their sold-out show in Madison Square Garden. Performing in support of their Only By The Night release, the Followills brought a huge performance of Tennessee rock to Yankee country.
Update: Additional photos added to the post and the gallery!
Photographing a big show like Kings of Leon at a big venue like Madison Square Garden is an exercise in both in discipline and patience.
Essentially, you’re packed single-file into a photo pit that’s only two shoe boxes wide with 15 other professional photographers competing for shots in the same three songs. Add to this congenial sardine can a band whose live performance consists of large expanses of calm musicianship punctuated by fleeting moments of visceral rock and you’ve got yourself an assignment with zero room for frustration or laziness.
Though keen observation and position always matter, the absolute key to shooting a Kings of Leon show is to be in the right place at the right time with the right lens on your camera when one of the Followills breaks from the pack and starts rocking out.
Since my nose was pressed up against the lip of the 5 foot stage, I shot this set entirely with the 70-200mm on the D3. Though ISO 800 and even 400 came into play at the very beginning, my exposure fell in the range of ISO1600 at 1/350 and f/3.5 for the majority of the shoot. The lighting was abundant and simple. White light with red and green accents.
Notably absent from this set is a solo shot of drummer Nathan Followill who was obscured on my left by Matthew’s mic rig and on my right by a motion control video camera. Next time Nathan, next time.
I’d like to give a huge shout out to all of the awesome Kings of Leon fans at the front of the barrier and very special thank-yous to Chris at Big Hassle and Melissa at The Garden.