Grip & rip; the method of shooting rapidly to capture a fleeting moment. The theory is that the more frames you shoot in a single press of the shutter, the more chance there is of at least one of them being acceptably composed and sharp.
Last weekend can be dubbed as "Hip-hop Weekend" in Dubai. Artists performed live over the weekend were Flo Rida with Tyga and Wiz Khalifa. Nicki Minaj also performed a week before at the Autism Rock Arena, a new concert hub along Dubai-Al Ain Road.
Wiz Khalifa performed in Dubai International Stadium in Dubai Sports City last 31 March 2016. This was the first concert organized by the entertainment company Transcendence International. The gig was supported by DJ Bliss, SOS Music & Two Tone for the opening acts. Crowd were mostly teenagers spending their mid-spring break to witness the performance of the North Dakotan rapper.
SOS music, a Dubai based hip-hop quartet hailed in different parts of the world opened the show. The group was full of energy with their body popping moves, they have their dance routine with a considerate crowd interaction. Having that strenuous dance numbers will definitely be very hard for them to perform their tracks live. Shooting this guys were perfect for a warm up, their moves and gestures were very pleasing to shoot, very fast and full of emotion. Shooting wide and cranking up your shutter speed is necessary to freeze their fast moves. The group distributed their recorded songs in the crowd after their set.
DJ Bliss, a prominent Emirati radio personality, followed next to the scene. Credited as the first Emirati DJ who performed in an international tour, he just recently launched his first album, Made in Dubai, last February. His microphone talent awed a lot of concertgoers - singing and dancing to the beat of the record he played. His playlist includes massive R&B & Pop hits from Drake to Jay Z. The Front Pit was empty during the first act but surprisingly a surge of crowd immediately filled the area during his set.
Two Tone performed with DJ Alex Guerrero on the table. This was the second time I have covered this two artists, they also co-headlined last year's Dubai Music Week. DJ Alex Guerrero track lists started the crowd to get on their feet, his excitement and pure emotions were what I intended to capture, however having the cameraman around him during the whole set really rip some of my images off. The Moroccan hip-hop artist, Two Tone, performed few of his tracks including his hit "Senorita", he became famous worldwide with this hits and spent some time touring in different parts of the world. Crowd started to show their intense excitement even before the end of their set - the hint of the main act started to lingered inside the stadium. I was the unlucky one to be hit by a quarter filled soda bottle in the head thrown by one of the wild crowd, securities were alerted and tension started to rise specially in the front row.
Dj Bonic, the official DJ of "Black & Yellow" rapper opened the stage for the main act. He stalled the show for quite some time but his playlist warmed the venue and had the crowd's energy soaring. A blast of confetti welcomed Wiz Khalifa on stage, wearing a clear eyeglass with a white top and a ripped jeans. Wiz Khalifa performed with so much movement, running and dancing from every corner of the stage, shooting rapidly with a high shutter speed was my key to capture and freeze every single moment that I wanted to.
The crowd went berzerk as Wiz Khalifa started his set, they started to rap along with every words of the song. Being inside the press pit for the first three songs were just enough to take the images I was planning to get, the lights produced a well lit and neat effect on my images. The tension on the front row was severe that the barricade almost moved forward because of the crowd pushing from behind. The show were repeatedly stopped in every couple of songs to ask the crowd to loosen up and move back to give the front row a little bit of space. The show was filled with wide variety of effects that repeatedly displayed through out the show, from the confetti cannon & confetti streamer to the flame bars & the laser lights, the stadium may be not completely filled with crowd but their cheers of excitement and unending applause were totally enough to make the stadium felt like it was fully packed. Songs from his set list that I personally knew includes, "Black and Yellow", "Work Hard Play Hard", "We Dem Boyz", my personal favorite "Wild, Young & Free" and the melodramatic "When I See You Again". The echo of the crowd singing the chorus of the The Fast & The Furious 7 soundtrack was the main highlight of the event, the scene I witnessed from this particular part of the show still runs through my head repeatedly till now. I discovered an unfamiliar catchy song that I like, "No Social Media", he featured Snoop Dogg in this song, it sounds good.
One of the media friendly music event I have attended, the organizer provided an exclusive media parking pass similar to the VIPs. The designated parking was very accessible and convenient to come and go. A well presented media pass was also provided which was a great addition to my media badge collection. Free bottled water were distributed not only for the event staff but also for the crowd, it may not be for all but at least some crowd were happy to quenched their thirst.
Click here to see the full gallery of Wiz Khalifa.
Equipments used on this event:
- Nikon D800
- Nikon D810
- Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D
- Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
- Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED VR
- Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
- Think Tank Retrospective 30
- Manfrotto Self Standing Monopod 682b + Benro Head
- Black Rapid Strap - Sport
Related blog: Shooting at the Pit