Wow. Daft Punk played in New York last night, and I've been having a hard time thinking of a show in recent years to even compare it to. It's like they made good on the promise that Kraftwerk put into play on their last tour. Or like they saw Basement Jaxx's raise and proved how primal dance music can be without gorillas and with robots instead. Or like they just felt like showing up pretty much every other live act caught going through the motions from town to town. It's interesting how those "motions" continue to be valorized. It's that old saw: How can you watch two guys just twiddling knobs? It's boring. This of course presumes that there's something inherently interesting about two guys likewise strumming guitars. Certainly there can be–I like a rousing rock show as much as anyone–but I've never quite understood why watching a show figures so prominently into the way that shows get evaluated. Isn't fixating on the visual a case of missing the point? Last night it wasn't. All it takes is a couple of guys in helmets standing inside a pyramid that flashes and zaps like something from a planet a lot more stable and interesting than this one. It didn't hurt that the music was so refined and convulsive, too. I've never seen so many vendors and bouncers and security dudes just stop doing their jobs and start dancing instead. They couldn't help but hear what was going on.

Advertisement