REVIEW: Daft Punk – July 31st – Red Rocks, Morrison, CO

Note: All images and video contained in this review were shot by Tim Dwenger

The Scene: The crowd at this show was a pretty energetic group, largely under 40 and ready to party. There were a large contingent of young raver kids mixed evenly throughout the crowd dancing next to the 35 year old couple who had left the kids at home for a night out they would never forget, and next to the frat boys who got dragged to the show by friends.

By the time The Rapture finished their set there was an extreme party vibe in the air and everyone was in Saturday night form on a Tuesday. During the show if you looked around everyone was dancing, and I mean everyone. There wasn’t a butt on a seat all night long and there were smiles everywhere. It was one of the best crowds I have been a part of in a long time.

Openers: Sebastian and Kavinsky & The Rapture. The party started nearly an hour before the show time listed on the ticket with a DJ set from the middle of the 20th row by electro phenoms Sebastian and Kavinsky with a little help from the new guy on the tour, Busy P. Old school jams from the likes of C&C Music Factory got the crowd on their feet and they didn’t sit down all night. As the sun dipped behind the mountains The Rapture took the stage and cranked the energy up just a little bit higher with their post-punk electro-rock.

Towards the end of their crowd pleasing set, Rapture frontman Matt Saber paid homage to the headliners by saying: “This is going to be the best show you’ve ever seen. Better than sex. Better than your birthday. Better than your wedding.” Could it be true?

As soon as the last note faded away, the crew quickly cleared The Rapture’s gear from the stage and a flurry of activity began behind a giant black curtain as the final preparations were made for Daft Punk to bring the house down. In a successful attempt to distract the crowd from the technical happenings on the main stage, Sebastian, Kavinsky, and Busy P, returned to the DJ stage for a 45 minute set that fed on the energy of the ravenous crowd. As they spun records and twiddled knobs, the DJs gave the crowd a little taste of the thumping beats and climatic moments that were about to transport us all to another dimension.

As the moment of truth approach, SebastiAn dropped the needle on his remix of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing In the Name Of” and the party really kicked into high gear.

Daft Punk: As “Killing In the Name Of” came to an end, the lights went down and the first sound that was audible over the deafening roar of the crowd was the five familiar tones from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. Suddenly, the massive curtain dropped, sharp beams of light erupted from around a giant pyramid and a robotic voice spoke the words “Robot. Human. Robot. Human. Robot. Human” in perfect psych with a giant bank of LEDs that spelled out the words the voice was repeating in an increasingly faster rhythm. The speed of the words increased to a climax that morphed into the thunderous beginning of “Robot Rock.” The entire audience went bezerk when Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter appeared atop the pyramid clad in their infamous robot suits.

This epic entrance was only the beginning of a night that saw the majesty of Red Rocks dwarfed by two French robot men and their massive display of sound and light. “Robot Rock” led into “Technologic” and as the 90 minute set raged the frenzied crowd churned and gyrated to “One More Time,” “Harder. Better. Faster. Stronger,” and many of the other tracks that have helped to make Daft Punk the iconic figures of electronic music that they are.

However, as impressive as the pulverizing beats were that throbbed from the stage all night, it was the visual element of the show that left each and every ticket holder simply awestruck. As the set progressed the duo unleashed visual effect after visual effect, each more impressive than the last, until people were literally clutching their skulls in sheer awe of what was going on below them.

At first the LED screen was the stunning spectacle, then it was the triangle shaped grid that flanked the Pyramid and then, just when you thought they had done it all, the pyramid lit up and eventually became a hi-res video screen. With the stunning synchronization of all these aural and visual elements the robots had effortlessly taken control of all our senses.

Someone, someday will come up with something that will top this sensory orgy that Daft Punk is touring across the globe right now, but until then these two men hold the concert industry in the palm of their hands. They are so far ahead of the curve that until the rest of their competition can pick their jaws up off the floor and go back to the drawing board, they will continue to set the bar with regard to the performance of electronic music. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take them another 10 years to come back to our side of The Pond.

For more photos click here.

For a further taste of what this experience was like,
play the video below.

Energy: A+
Sound: A+
Musicianship: A
Stage Presence: A+
Set/Light Show: A+

Overall: A+


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Who Is Timothy Dwenger

Music has always been a part of my life. It probably all started listening to old Grateful Dead, Peter Paul & Mary, and Simon & Garfunkel records that my parents had, but it wasn't long before they were taking me to concerts like Starship, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Huey Lewis & The News. I got the bug to write about music after reviewing an Eric Clapton concert for a creative writing project in high school but didn't really take it up seriously until 2002. Since then I have published countless articles in The Marquee Magazine and done some work for Jambase.com, SPIN Magazine, and various other outlets. I started Listen Up Denver! as a way to share the music information that is constantly spilling out of my head with people who care. Please enjoy!