I was way beyond amped for this one: Kraftwerk @ MoMA with one of my best friends flying in to see the show! We dutifully got on line at 9:20 (my friend was sent an e-mail confirmation for the tickets, which he had to bring with him, along with the original credit card used to purchase the tickets along with photo ID) and the doors opened at exactly 9:30. No hard tickets; everyone got a wristband, along with a concert program & a pair of 3D glasses. We made our way up the stairs to the atrium. It’s a wide open space directly in front of a stage with a huge screen behind it. The capacity was about 200. Arriving early, we decided to get the lay of the land: downstairs was a bar that had (German) beer for $8, cocktails for $11. Certainly more than we paid at McCoys earlier in the evening, but hey, we were in a fancy art gallery! The MoMA bookstore was open & attempting to sell Kraftwerk stuff: CD’s were $20, T-shirts were $33. NO ONE was buying!
At exactly 10:00, the lights went down, the curtain went up, and the show started. All four Kraftwerk members were onstage wearing Tron-like black nylon form fitting body suits, standing in front of identical keyboard set ups. The screen was showing graphics, and when we put on our 3D glasses, the graphics came alive, shooting out into the audience. WOW! The band performed the album “Man Machine” in its entirety, in order. Each song had customized videos to go with it. The sound was crystal clear, and the further back you stood, the better the 3D graphics actually looked. After the last song from Man Machine was played, I wondered what they’d do next, as it was only 10:40. Then they started rolling out the hits: “Autobahn”, “Trans Europe Express”, “Numbers”, and just about everything you’d want to hear. A complete Kraftwerk album, plus the greatest hits!
My only complaint? Believe it or not, the show went on too long. Clocking in at an hour and 40 minutes, it was too long to be standing there wearing 3D glasses staring at a stage. The music was great, but not exactly rhythmic enough to be dancing to, so it all got a bit tiring (there were plenty of people milling around the back of the hall by the end).
The entire concept & execution was flawless, & brilliant. The band (well, Ralf Hutter & three other German guys) had taken the time to make each song come to life with amazing 3D videos, in an environment that was very unique. How they pulled this off to such a small crowd at such an affordable price ($25 a ticket) is commendable. This was a one-off series, though they certainly could have (& SHOULD have) taken this on the road to other major art galleries around the country.
How could Kraftwerk possibly top this event? We’ll wait & see……
Trans Europe Express
Tour de France
Boing Boom Tschak
Musique Non Stop
Check out Youtube: there are dozens of videos posted of songs recorded during the eight night run. The videos obviously don’t do justice to the 3D graphics though!