Sunday, August 19, 2007

Daft Punk Concert in LA

I like LA. People complain about the traffic and such but the sun and freeway and palm trees make me happy. The sun was setting as we pulled into the stadium parking lot and we were walking towards the south entrance (which was for floor tickets only) and hearing the speakers outside saying 'we hope you enjoy Daft Punk tonight'. I don't think they had to hope too hard. That's like staying underwater for 6 minutes and just when you're about to break through the surface for a gasp of fresh air, you'd think 'I hope I enjoy breathing'.

After getting patted down and entering, I secured my wristband and headed downstairs where the dark lighting and concrete walls and floor created a sense of exclusivness. The show wasn't going to start in about 20 minutes so I got a burrito and a drink but I was too excited (this was my first concert) to eat it all so I shared it.

Then we went onto the floor of the stadium and saw how massive it is from the bottom up. There was a mass of people already at the front so me and my friend Kyle started to make our way towards the stage through the people. We waited around for 5 minutes. Then Kavinsky and Sebastian started their set which was a good warm up and loosened me up a bit.
While everyone around us were moving and enjoying the music, there were 3 people in front of us that were stone still and not smiling and I just felt like saying, "Why are you here if you're not into this?" and they kind of spoiled it for me so after the first set we moved over a bit and found a better spot with more enthusiastic music fans.
I should also mention that not even 30 seconds after Kavinsky and Sebastian started a huge cloud of pot smoke emenated from the crowd and people were lighting up all around us and having a good time.

Then when Kavinsky and Sebastian's set was over, I thought we'd get like a 10 minute break but the next set by this group called Ratatat (which I'd only very recently checked out) started right away.
During Kavinsky and Sebastian's set the stadium lights were on and it kind of took away from the little light show they had going on but they turned the lights off for Ratatat and it was way better.
When I looked up Ratatat I thought of them as kind of a hip-hop group but the show they put on was like more of a rock concert with hip-hop beats driving it and it wasn't at all pretentious or anything. It was kind of funny because after every song they did the whole stadium cheered and applauded and the guitarist would say into the microphone, "Wow, thanks. Really, thanks. Wow." I have a feeling that that was probably the biggest show they've ever done.

When they were done the lights came back on so the crowd was a little upset but Kavinsky and Sebastian came back on and started their second set and it was really good. I was much looser and was jumping around more and so was everyone else.
By this time the crowd was very steamy. It was like I was back in Samoa it was so humid. The fog machine had been making fog for a long while so it gave the stadium a very muggy and thick atmosphere which wasn't a bad thing.

Then their set ended and I thought that the main attraction was next but a few songs that I didn't know were played for maybe 10 minutes and then it faded out and silence preceded booming audience trauma screams as the lights turned off and the clever notes from Close Encounters of the Third Kind rang true through the crowd. The curtains opened and there stood the magnificence of the pyramid and all it's glory. There stood the robots who were clearer than any picture or video who then initiated the intro to Robot Rock.
When the main riff and beat started the whole crowd jumped up and down in unison. It was amazingly precise, the air was hot, everyone was screaming and my ear drums were peaking out because the sound was so loud from the crowd and the speakers but I didn't care; it's Daft Punk!

Robot Rock led into Technologic. This was when the pulsing white lights gave way to the hypnotizing red background flashing the words of the song. This was when one of my favorite parts of the concert happened. They flashed the word 'FUCK' over and over as the voice was saying, "Fuck it fuck it fuck it fuck it fuck it fuck fuck fuck fuck," and the crowd went crazy.

Next up was Television Rules the Nation mixed with the ever popular Around the World proclaiming, "Television, rules the nation around the world," and repeating this until 'around the world' repeats over and over and the simplistic yet ingenious riff to Television Rules the Nation vibrates as the beat kicks in and the crowd practically blows up as rainbow lights outline the pyramid while the background displays TV static.
A small interlude with Crescendolls builds up the audience for another round of sound and screaming and jumping.

A highlight was Face to Face which, I'll be honest, I wasn't too crazy about watching on my computer but when you're there, you're there man and it was great. The main color scheme for this was green. And the pyramid was showing square green lines continually forming and moving back and conitnually forming.

Next highlight was Short Circuit because the background was showing what looked like stars in a series of circles encompassing the pyramid which were moving slowly and that really gave me a short time to catch my breath and take in the visual ecstacy.

I'll skip to another highlight. The pyramid darkens, the stadium's only light is the flash and glow of cameras and cell phones. Then we hear the bells toll. I knew what was coming. My friend Kyle thought that Aerodynamic was up next but I knew that it was the dance anthem of all time that was up next. Then, out of the darkness, the start of One More Time coincided with the pyramid instantly flashing moving rainbows across it and the crowd again screamed and I almost died yelling as hard as I could. Even then, I couldn't hear my voice because the sound was literally deafening.
The main beat hadn't even kicked in and everyone was jumping up and down. But when it did, oh, it did. It did. And when it did, behind the pyramid was like you're going through a purplish blue galaxy and stars are flashing by. I'm not going to waste my time trying to describe the indescribable besides saying, better than pure bliss, if that makes any sense.

There are so many highlights that I won't describe them all so I'll skip to the end.

During Human After All, the last song of the set, the pyramid would first flash pictures of nature and the universe but then when it got to the 'Human. Human. Human. Human. Human. Human. Human. After all' part it would flash faces of people from all around the world and it was amazing. Then the set finished and the crowd was, again, deafening (my poor eardrums ).
So it was finally over. Or
was it...?

After insistant cheering from the crowd, "Daft Punk! Daft Punk!" they came back on and initiated an encore that was, again, indescribable. So here I go trying to describe it:
They mixed Human After All and One More Time and others songs probably but it was so loud, I couldn't quite tell. All I knew was that I was soaked with sweat, I was jumping along with everyone around me and the whole stadium was screaming at the top of their lungs, "One More Time." The pyramid was showing what looked like a CATscan going through a human body and it was red and awesome.
For the first part of the encore, the robots were not illuminated by light as they previously were during the set. And it soon became apparent why.
Their suits turned on to reveal their helmets and bodies to be outlined with a neon red lines of light. Deafening crowd explosion followed and my ears gargled and peaked out but I didn't care, this was amazing.
Their suits made them look like holograms. It was so very cool and the music was amazing and the lights and the crowd and the suits and the music and the suits... and the suits!

And when it all came winding down, the pyramid's lights faded and left only the robots with their red outlines to be seen. They turned around and on their backs was the Daft Punk logo outlined in neon red, glowing triumphantly and proudly as they slowly walked off stage and the crowd, well, you get it.

The stadium lights turned back on and, me still standing their dumbfounded, stumbled off very slowly, hot, sweaty, tired, deaf, eyes wide open, and nothing to say, I looked around and everyone else, thousands of people, had the same look and movements.

Kyle and I walked out and went home. I'm still a little hard of hearing this morning but it's getting better. One thing both of us agreed on was that dying would not be unwelcome because after yesterday, there's nothing more to life that needs to be seen or heard or felt or experienced because Daft Punk is the crowning achievement of our lives and probably the world over.

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