July 29, 2007
Better Than: Everything.
There's really only two words to describe last night's Daft Punk performance at the WaMu>"/>
July 29, 2007
Better Than: Everything.
There's really only two words to describe last night's Daft Punk performance at the WaMu Theater: HOLY FUUUUUUUCK! To elaborate, slightly ... it was the best show I've seen in my five years in Seattle, and easily in my Top 10 shows of all time. It was the first time I've been to the WaMu Theater, and despite hearing that the sound there is horrible, Daft Punk sounded phenomenal. And their light show and stage set was out of this world -- it was like a Broadway or Las Vegas production of Battlestar Galactica, but even cooler than that sounds. I'll have a longer rundown (and lotsa cool photos I shot) tomorrow, including a bit about my post-show chat with a guy who hitchhiked and train-hopped from New York City for three weeks to make the show (and got arrested twice in the process).
Okay, so I'm a little more rested now, thinking back to last night's show ... and I still stand by my immediate post-gig euphoria: Was definitely, definitely a fantastic, dazzling experience, both musically and visually. As far as a live electro-rock show goes, I'd say Daft Punk outshined past performances I've seen by the Chemical Brothers and the Prodigy -- two other acts known for their stadium-sized spectacles.
The sold-out all-ages crowd at the cavernous WaMu Theater, which I'm told can hold up to 7,000 fans, was primed for the show -- plenty of glowing, shiny rave gear, plus countless people dressed up in their own homemade robot-slash-spaceman-slash-freakazoid get-ups for the occasion. A fair amount of jock/frat/sorority types as well, but everyone seemed to get along -- didn't notice too much shoving or fighting, though a lot of people were succumbing to the heat of the dance pit (and/or accompanying substances); it felt like a much larger version of the frenzied LCD Soundsystem show earlier this summer at the Showbox.
The lights went black at 9:45 p.m. and as the theme music to Close Encounters of the Third Kind poured from the speakers, blending with the anticipatory roar of the crowd, the curtains gave way to a giant pyramid covered in LCD screens, flanked by metal latticework. As smoke poured out into the audience and lights of all sorts began to flash, the duo of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo -- decked out in their usual identity-obscuring, robot-slash-spaceman-slash-freakazoid get-ups -- were perched inside the pyramid, just under its peak, at the controls like electro-pilots setting the controls for the heart of the beat. Goddamn it looked cool. All sorts of colors and patterns and shapes and images flashing across the screens of the pyramid, the latticework lighting up in various designs, just a total feast for the eyes.
And for the next hour and a half, Daft Punk played everything you could have hoped for. All the hits -- "Da Funk," "Around the World," "One More Time," "Robot Rock" -- and loads of other tracks culled from their three studio albums. The sound was excellent -- so amazing to hear those songs loud and live, the beats and grooves pulsing through the air and slamming into, around, and through your body -- and the duo adroitly fashioned musical peaks and valleys, hypnotizing with steady, propulsive throbs and then kicking things into overdrive (and inspiring much singing along and manic dancing) with their jubilant disco-funk. Couldn't have asked for a better time -- it was one of those shows where afterward, you could see the huge throngs milling around the streets outside in an ecstatic daze, just wishing it never had to end.
Personal Bias: I've been into Daft Punk since virtually the beginning; I was actually one of the first U.S. journalists to do a sit-down interview with them -- it was at the tail-end of 1996, when I worked for a syndicated radio network that's since been swallowed up by Premiere Radio Networks.
Random Detail: After the show, I chatted for a bit with this guy named Benjamin who'd hitchhiked and train-hopped all the way from New York City -- took him three weeks, he said -- just to see the show. He explained to me that he's been a Daft Punk fan since he was 10 years old, and seeing them live was a total dream come true. He said that there had originally been 20 people who set out on the Daft Punk odyssey with him, but only two actually made it to the show -- the rest got arrested along the way for various reasons; he said he got arrested twice for riding the trains. Good thing they let him go in time to make the show, and I hope he makes it back home stress-free.