Sunday, September 14, 2008

Through the looking glass

Over at SundayArts, I wrote about what happened when I went to see Reid Farrington's The Passion Project at PS 122. Basically, a college student was taking notes on a PDA, inches away from the performer. Seriously: What the hell?!?

Then on Friday night, the woman sitting right in front of me at Goldfrapp watched the entire show not directly but through her phone's viewfinder, while recording. We were not far from the action and yet never did she look straight at the stage—it was always through the phone. I don't know why she didn't just stay at home and watch Goldfrapp footage on YouTube. But okay, fine, she can have the once-removed experience if she chooses to; what bugged me is that she'd hold the phone in front of me so the gadget was smack in the middle of my line of vision. I don't mind the taking of some photos, I guess, just so I can link to this visual evidence, but recording the entire show on your fricking phone is ridiculous. What the hell is wrong with people that they seem unable to enjoy a live performance for what it is? To me the ephemeral aspect of it is the best part but clearly others don't feel that.

Okay, deep breath.

The show itself was pretty grand, even if live I prefer the more rocking material to Seventh Tree's hippy-pagan fantasias. (The last time I saw Goldfrapp was at Nokia, when they were touring the super-glammy Supernature.) At Radio City the best connection between sound, visuals and venue was during "Strict Machine": the heavy stage curtain was lit in such a way that it made for a fantastically theatrical framing device. Radio City has a huuuuge orchestra so the balconies are set way in the back, making it difficult for a band to take control of the room instead of being overwhelmed by it. Goldfrapp was on top the whole way through.

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