One of the toughest parts about writing posts is trying to put into words how outrageously awesome a show was. It's Daft Punk in New York for crying out loud. It's one of those, "I can't believe this is finally happening" type events. After playing every important festival in world, the robots from France brought their pyramid scheme to New York. It was sooooo worth the wait and anticipation. For someone who introduced Daft Punk to the rock kids in my senior year of college, this was a major deal for me .. and I'm sure anyone within driving distant made it the place to be on the East Coast.
- Encore: Everything Remixed
There really is no need to go into excruciating detail on the show. With hundreds of YouTube clips from crappy camera phones and point and shoots, you probably already know what the show is like. Even though I knew what the whole stage production would be like, it was still unreal. By far, the best light show at a concert I've ever seen. I actually thought the stage set-up would be taller, but once the contraption was turned out, it became overwhelming.
There's two ways to look at the show, as a visual mind-fuck or an audio assault. I'll probably remember all of the stage production. As you know, Thomas and Guy-Manual DJ from on top of a pyramid. As first, I thought the thing was broken because it didn't do anything, but it was just a tease as it came to life half-way through. I wanted to say, "Ummm, excuse me. You're pyramid is not functioning." Once that thing came to life, it was one elaborate, old school laser animation after another. TRON would be proud. Towards the ending during "Human After All," the screen flashes pictures of human faces, this making the robot to human connection.
The one thing I'm curious about is how this stuff works. Where do you even begin on designing a light show? And what the heck are the two of them doing behind there? They could be checking their e-mail for all we know. More importantly, how they heck do you breathe with those robot helmets on?
The neat thing about Daft Punk is that there is an air of mystery about them. They rarely give interviews or appear as themselves in their press photos. Since Discovery, they have embraced their inner-robot and taken that as their stage persona. When they walked out on top of the pyramid, it was striking to see them. Sure, their are just wearing made-up motorbike helmets and leather jackets, but it's a powerful presence they have.
If you paid attention to the video feeds to the left and right of stage, the crew edited it in such a way that it appears that they are talking to each other through the music or singing along. One would look at the other and nod, while the other would nod in agreement. While they are not Kraftwerk in their stoicism, they nod along and encourage the crowd with every hardcore beat they produce. At the end, they gave a shout out to Kanye West (still an idiot) and applauded the crowd. I told you the French are nice people if you give them a chance.
For their encore, they changed costumes and tapped into that TRON look again. Tron Guy would be jealous. With the outline of light, It looked like it was animation come to life. That was trippy beyond imagination.
I knew going in that the whole 90 minute extravaganzas would be a big mash-up of the whole Daft Punk catalog. "One More Time" would be mixed with "Around the World," "Robot Rock" would bleed seamlessly into "Technologic." So while you let loose yourself with your favorite Daft Punk song, you can get something different with their mixing and cutting and pasting. Hey, I was dancing my ass off the whole time, my neck will be sore for a while.
Their retro-80s disco sound may seem sort of kitchy for those of who remember that sound when it was starting out, but their spin is their rock sensibilities they added. You can say that they are one of the most influential bands of modern music. A good chunk of their music is obscure samples, but lay in a heavy beat and you got the Daft Punk movement.
Mix the sound and the visuals, and you can say that they are the Stanley Kubrick of music. They are 3 albums in 10 years and they never explain what their music is about. With their success, they have complete control over their career and willing to take risks. A whole animated movie, sure, why not? A feature film called Electroma, do it! A Gap ad, sounds like fun.
The reason the show was so successful is that it was at a large stadium, where you can choose to be packed in as I was up front or hang on the sides and get your dance on. Believe it or not, the best place to stand was the back and middle so you can grasp the whole symmetry of the stage and the scope. Also, your ears won't ring for days. People, if you're up front and you have no ear protection, you deserve to go deaf. You only have yourself to blame.
Anyway, amazing New York crowd. I'd never seen so many glow sticks thrown towards the stage. All the good-looking people came out to dance their ass off. By the end of the show, people look wasted. Luckily, it didn't rain and it was a beautiful night with no humidity. The only complaint about the night -- could Keyspan Park make it easier for everyone to get out. Took me 20 minutes to leave the field.
I drove in and out. Getting in was a nightmare, driving out was easy, took the back way out of the parking lot. How was the train out of Coney Island? Any stories, friends?
I could go on and on about the greatness, so I'm ending it now. I choose not to get a photo pass, because I just wanted to dance, mama. With the band giving full permission to everyone to record the thing, every aspect should be photographed and filmmed, so no need to haul out my goods.
My battery went dead on my point and shoot, so enjoy the crappy pictures.