Daft Punk at Vegoose

You can almost see their personality in this shot

Daft Punk at Vegoose

photographs by Timothy Norris

The only notation I have from the Daft Punk show last night is in this illegible scribble – we were all pretty much bouncing as one as I was trying to write it. It reads, “I am the Brainwasher.” That's it, a reminder to mention something about their song, “Brain Washer,” from Human After All. I can't remember what I'm supposed to tell you, though. For all the beauty of the Daft Punk experience, and it is one of the most inventive stage shows ever presented (they could take this baby to the Vegas strip, easily), it's hard to capture in words.

The first hint of meaning in Daft Punk's show comes with note number one, a G, from the “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” theme. All five notes play and those of us up on the plateau with the pyramid stare in wonder at the two chrome helmeted visitors just below the center eye. Daft Punk is playing at Vegoose, Vegoose. What will they deliver? The same, more or less, as in L.A. -- the nature of the programming interplay between light and sound makes improvisation difficult. I haven't really seen the show described very well, so I'll try here for the unfortunate souls who missed them this summer. This was the final American show of the year, though they're hitting Mexico City soon. Anyway ...

Daft Punk at Vegoose

A pyramid in the middle, with a grid of tube lights framing/mirroring the triangle in the middle. Behind, a massive rectangular LED lighting panel, like a huge piece of fabric but very pixillated. The three pieces – pyramid, grid and panel -- interact with each other. Colors on the grid complement the panel and the pyramid, move from reds to pinks to blues to blinding white. But the beautiful part of the presentation is the restraint -- if you can call it that -- the way the pyramid, the lighting system, the music, slowly unfold like a blossoming flower. At first, simplicity. Spotlights poking out from the darkness like saucers in the sky. Over the next two hours, the technology advances, whites and blues move to more vivid colors. Intricate light patterns on the grid move and transform. These patterns get more surreal and complex as the show progresses. It's like the pyramid has something to prove, like in Close Encounters when, after those initial five notes, the big spaceship starts rocking with deep, tuba-like tones, then improvises. The pyramid does the same thing. It flexes its muscle, displays Tron-like grids, freaks out, starts a rapid-fire slide show that races through photographs, images. By “Le Funk,” holy crap the pyramid was nuts.


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