Kraftwerk @ the Rave
I’m still picking up pieces of my brain off the ground from the Kraftwerk show. Luckily I have photos of the first two minutes: people waiting around got their first vision of Kraftwerk through the curtain. These giant shadows of human beings against a red light, for “Man Machine.” And the wall behind them said it too: Human. Being. Then, DING!!! They turned into German maschines and I dont know what went on after that.
Hah. Okay, I keed, I keed. People complain about the Rave all the time (I paid $20 for parking!), but the Eagles Ballroom was a great venue for Kraftwerk. Their sound filled up the gigantic room, and there was tons of space to move around and dance, even though not a lot of people did. But maybe the audience was more into watching four dudes fiddle with their computer knobs than letting loose. Which was still fine, because I pretty much danced my ass off.
Not that people DIDN’T enjoy the show — everyone’s mouth was hanging open during the performance, which was a light show unlike any other. (Well, maybe just three others — the only other shows Kraftwerk scheduled on this U.S. tour were in Minneapolis, Denver and Coachella.)
The projection behind the four men just standing over their computers (‘oh my god, a Microsoft convention,” said a friend of mine, upon seeing pictures) turned into a meta-modern spectacle through visual projections and realistic sound.
Here’s bits and pieces of what I DO remember after Man-Machine: “Autobahn,” introduced by the sound of cars roaring, made me feel like I was going to get run over. While performing “Vitamin,” a projection of hundreds of gigantic pills, floating down the stage, freaked out most people celebrating 420 in the audience. During “Tour De France,” there were bicycles everywhere.
Kraftwerk performed most of their de rigeur classics, such as “The Model” and “Radioactivity” and “Numbers.”
But it was “Trans Europe Express” and “Computer Love” (which Coldplay sampled for their hit “Talk”) that proved just how contemporary the band is, almost 30 years after they started synthesizing sound into danceable pop music. I may be wrong, but I also think that last night’s version of “Computer Love” re-integrated Chris Martin & Co.’s interpretation of the song into it.
The quartet played for an hour and a half before the curtain first closed. After the ballroom reverberated with applause, loud cheers and stomping, “Robots” blared out of the speakers…and instead of four men, robots were standing above Kraftwerk’s consoles.
After the song, the group came back on stage in glow-in-the-dark, electronic body suits. Everything else on stage was lit purple — it was like a neo-Mod Willy Wonka show. They finished their set with “Music Non Stop.” I’m still not over it — I’m hearing bleeps and beats in my head while typing right now.