Somehow, I’ve managed to live in Washington, DC for 7+ years and have never seen a Chuck Brown show. I finally remedied that situation last Saturday after being assigned to shoot him and R&B legend Charlie Wilson for the Washington Post. This was a big show at DAR Constitution Hall, where shooting conditions are either very good or terrible. DAR is a seated venue with no photo pit; some promoters allow photogs to shoot down front from the aisles, while others force us all the way up in the wings, shooting from a distance and way off to the side. Luckily, the former was true at this show. I was right in the thick of things, and thankfully since the audience was moving like no other DAR audience I’ve ever seen. All thanks to a 73-year-old man onstage!
There were some challenges (Chuck Brown’s stage setup was massively cluttered, and Charlie Wilson left his mic stand right smack in the middle of the stage even though he didn’t use it all that much), but the lighting was beautiful and the action onstage was nonstop. Wilson had four dancers with him, and I kept trying to get wide shots of him with the dancers surrounding him, only to be foiled by that damn mic stand. In retrospect I should have taken one song to move out of the center aisle and get a different angle - I just had that wide shot in my head and kept going for it til I got it, even though I took me most of three songs to do so. Actually, I got the shot I wanted somewhat early on, but with Wilson’s guitarist and not Wilson himself:
Eventually though, I did get the man himself framed the way I wanted. I still wish he hadn’t used that mic stand so much, but in retrospect, a 60-year-old man moving around as much as he was is pretty damn amazing.
Here’s the full set, with lots of good stuff.