STFU & STFD: Kraftwerk at The Met, Philadelphia
by John Diliberto 6/18/2022
Kraftwerk plugged their retro electronic show into The Met Philadelphia. Now in their 53rd year, the veteran electronic band hasn’t recorded new compositions since 2003’s Tour De France. Instead, they’ve been hitting the road with their Kraftwerk 3-D show. If you want to know what it sounded and looked like, read my review from their 2015 performance at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. It was pretty much the exact same show. And it’s beginning to seem quaint as they use images from 1980s technology and 1950s Soviet-style graphics. This 3-D show was mostly created in 2009 and not much has changed.
What I’d like to talk about is the audience. One reason I went to this concert, even though I already knew it would be the same as the 2015 show, was that instead of being vacuum packed in the SRO Electric Factory, this time I would have my ass in the comfortable theater seat of the renovated Met, whose earlier name was the Metropolitan Opera House. Instead of jostling and peering around heads, I’d have direct sight lines and could let the experience wash over me. How naïve.
As soon as Kraftwerk came on stage, the audience leapt to their feet and pretty much stayed there. I could almost understand that at a show with more dance-oriented music, even a rock ‘n’ roll show, but this is Kraftwerk. And despite their influence on Detroit Techno, Chicago house and EDM in general, you can’t really dance to Kraftwerk. There is literally no reason to stand, forcing everyone behind you to stand as well. Would these audience members stand in a movie theater? A Kraftwerk concert is pretty much a movie these days with live action figures in the foreground. How do you know if they got a standing ovation if everyone is already standing? It’s always interesting that it’s the audience members in the front rows who initiate this. Another example of privelege. So if you see a band now, you might as well by the cheaper general admission tickets for the mosh-pit, which in this case, didn’t mosh.
So I will add this to another admonition mantra: STFU and STFD. Shut the Fuck Up and Sit the Fuck Down.
Hear out Kraftwerk Documentary.