Got some much needed rest and thought about the show the night before and whether to REALLY man up and head out to McCarren Park in Brooklyn for another serving...this time beneath the stars. Considered it, but sans ticket and with stormy weather on the horizon, settled into the couch and let the thought drift away. But the supreme being decided that this magical summer wasn't ending this way through a combination of text messages and late afternoon sun streaming through my blinds. Whether you believe in stuff or not, i believe that fate can play a role, lend its hand, and leave the decision up to you. Decision made, friend arrangements made, shower taken, melon Bacardi in a dr pepper bottle mixed, and I’m off to the train for Brooklyn.
A long and deflating process, but I was determined, got a hold of a friend named Mikey Smilez after the train failed and we got in a very interesting and long cab ride through queens and Brooklyn. But planes, trains, and automobiles wasn't standing in the way of fate which Mike had to remind me of (repeatedly) and we arrived at McCarren Park on a now gorgeous night as the opening haunting refrain of "There's No Path to Follow" bellowed from the fast approaching park. We made our way in, find Ruben and Illicia, and Round 2 is officially on. And I mean on because we are immediately drawn into the set from a distance as the visuals begin anew in a much similar but differently executed set. People may have their questions as what/whatnot is pre-produced in a Daft Punk show, but after seeing the Chems two nights in a row, I highly doubt anybody could make that same mistake.
Why? Because Saturday night was a rave!!! The Chemical Brothers got dirty....Burst Generator started the proceedings and crashed into Galvanize head on and steamed into the mix of Do It Again which sampled the track Get Yourself High (beats and vocals) halfway through. The visuals were the same, but much more impactful in such an open air setting from a distance. Huge kaleidoscope dancers, evil clowns, lasers shooting off the buildings and sky, it was like being at a rave. And like any good rave, we broke it down. Nonstop dancing from the time we got there until 3/4 through the show. And my crew could dance which added a real sexy element to the party. The Brothers (no relation) especially got dirty with the intro to Out of Control which would have sounded at home in a Lee Burridge set and the surprisingly brilliant performance of Believe with the vocal wails of Bloc Party's Kele Okereke screaming "I Need You To Believe" over a circus of acid house beats and filters.
From there, they brought it down again with Saturate, the beautiful Star Guitar and Surface To Air as the audience got tranced into the amazing visuals of Japanese Toy Robots falling in a row, spinning around to show their mechanical insides, a Star Wars Death Star journey through architectural blueprints, and a psychedelic visual vortex of colors and lights that looked like something pulled out of the film Contact or the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was truly amazing.
Then they dropped Block Rockin Beats and Chemical Beats off their 1st album Exit Planet Dust to show us their acid funk roots, Das Spiegel and All Rights Reserved off the new album to bring it back to the melodic present, and encored again with Leave Home and The Sunshine Underground as the one brother Ed Simons (the bespeckled one) crouched on their decks high above the whole setup holding a synthesizer with one hand and playing the final acid tinged notes of The Sunshine Underground for all the crowd to see. A final reminder to all in involved in this magical musical and final NYC summer weekend of electronic madness that the Chemical Brothers are alive and well, armed with a litany of hits and talent, and truly able to drop it, mix it, build it, explode it, rock it, and work it out.
Reviewed by Greg Lustberg
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