Welcome to the first installment of Anthems and Atleticos' Ticket Stub Tuesday. Every week, I'll pick out a stub from over a decade's worth of shows and events and share some stories. Special thanks to all of the friends and strangers who make these tickets come back to life when I think about them. Coachella announces their 2011 lineup today, so I figured it would be fitting to start off with the festival spirit...
October 27, 2007
Las Vegas, NV
One pyramid. Two robots. 20,000 costumed dancing machines. The now-defunct Vegoose festival served as the ridiculously memorable setting for one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Imagine your favorite music & arts festival. Got it locked in? OK, now take that festival from the desert or middle of Tennessee or wherever, and transport it to Las Vegas…on Halloween weekend. Add in your 5 best friends from college and a handcrafted lineup and you’ve got the makings of something epic.
We expected it to be a pretty surreal environment to see some shows. The festival grounds would be covered with people in some amazing Halloween costumes. (Special “where are they now” mention goes out to the whoopee cushion we befriended who affectionately referred to herself as “Fart Bag.” Classy that one.) After the last set of this huge costume party, we realized we’d come back to our hotel room on the Strip. No camping, no hippies, no water bottle exchange programs. After the show, we were going to change out of our own costumes (more on that later) and hit Vegas head on. It was almost too much to take in. And then you rundown the lineup you are about to see and it’s hard to figure out why they couldn’t keep this festival going.
The first piece of news that got my attention about Vegoose 2007 was that Rage Against the Machine had added it to their reunion-like festival circuit. They would headline Sunday night. I never thought a RATM show could become the afterthought of a weekend, but Saturday’s lineup was just bananas. We took in sets from M.I.A., The Shins, and the mighty Queens of the Stone Age. They were all great, but they all simply paled in comparison to Saturday night’s main event. I’ve never been so unexpectedly blown away by a live performance. I knew they’d be good, but I didn’t know that two French DJ’s who treated every day like Halloween would turn in the most vivid, visually stunning, all-out-fun show I’d see to this point in my concert going life. During a weekend tailor-made to create good times, it was Daft Punk that left the most indelible mark in all of our minds.
It was the last U.S. show of their now legendary Alive tour. You know, the one with the giant pyramid and insane light show. I’m used to festival shows and the crowds, and I can generally tolerate the claustrophobic surge and sway of hot, sweaty masses. No one really likes being in that mix though do they? This show was completely different. There were that many people packed around you sure, but instead of being hell bent on getting to the front, everyone just danced. It was a vibe unlike anything I’ve ever experienced at a show. I can barely sit through an instrumental song, but these guys kept everyone moving for nearly two hours of electro-pop madness. From the opening Human/Robot call and response of “Robot Rock” to the hard charging beats of “The Brainwasher”, they mixed and remixed their own greatest hits seamlessly into a nonstop party. Most acts save their biggest hits for the end, but Daft Punk actually took two of their most well known tracks in “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” and “Around the World” and mashed them together for a mid-set megaton bomb. You didn’t want them to end the show. When they finally did though, with their LED-adorned robot suits providing their last send off, we all just kind of shook our heads in disbelief. It was that good. Then we went out to celebrate in Vegas.
Super Annoying Guy(s) of the Show: I’m going to have to give this inaugural distinction to me and my friends actually. I mentioned costumes, and we certainly did our part. Our crew dressed as the cast of Caddyshack, complete with a full size gopher. God bless you Nicabood. I think our humor was probably lost on the server at our hotel’s 24 hour coffee shop, but at least one blackjack dealer got it.
Moral(s) of the Show: 1) If Daft Punk announces a tour within say, two states, proceed immediately to the ticket line. 2) Losing at the tables doesn’t hurt any less because you’re dressed like Carl Spackler.
*Note: The scratch & sniff feature on the ticket did actually work at some point. Now it just smells like the multitude of sad little ATM receipts that kept it company in my wallet that weekend.