Concert Reviews

Kraftwerk Has the Most Visually Compelling Show in Popular Music

Last night in Denver, using the modern methods of 3D video seen to great effect in recent movies like Mad Max: Fury Road and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Kraftwerk turned what were already interesting visuals perfectly suited to each song into something almost interactive and unlike anything any other popular band is doing. Figures seemed to reach out, to jut forward, to fly toward you. The UFO during “Spacelab” felt like it was landing among us.

At times, the screen seemed to sit in space with a physical presence. At other times, it visually sat back behind the band. Sometimes, it did both. The use of negative space as a visual effect gave the whole array of visuals a fascinatingly dynamic dimension.

Even if you took off the provided 3D glasses in the customer Kraftwerk paper sleeve, the visuals weren't lacking. No photograph of the show could possibly convey the environmental, engulfing feel of the visuals alongside the music heard on a concert P.A. The low end was so strong and present it felt like seeing some big electronic dance show in terms of the physical impact of the sound. 

The four members of the band looked like they walked off the set of the 1982 science fiction film Tron, with lines on their outfits that reflected the colored lights at any given point. 

Many of the visuals looked like what you might see on the Minimum Maximum DVD, but Kraftwerk had some customized specials in store for us. During “Spacelab” the satellite seen from the space lab displayed a geological map of the earth where a location icon sat on the location of Denver just east of the Rocky Mountains, and later, when the UFO landed on screen, it landed at the intersection of 14th Avenue and Curtis St.. Not long after during “Neon Lights” several neon signs drifted by including a green cross — not something you see in every state in the U.S.A..

Of course after the set proper ended, the robots came on for “The Robots,” but this time the robots danced in gestures of seeming supplication at first and then more animatedly. Each of the robots got some 3D screen time and seemed to reach out over the audience.

What was less expected, assuming you didn't check out information from previous shows on the tour, was the encore after “The Robots” with the actual band performing material from the later albums and proving how the newer songs showed the real growth of Kraftwerk beyond its classic songs and its embrace of new musical technologies and ideas while influencing the development of both. Was it meta? Isn't that what Kraftwerk has been trading in just a little bit, albeit playfully, all along? Either way, the show visually and musically stood a head above almost any other live show going.


1. “Numbers” / “Computer World”
2. “Computer Love”
3. “It's More Fun to Compute” / “Home Computer”
4. “Pocket Calculator”
5. “The Man Machine”
6. “Spacelab”
7. “The Model”
8. “Neon Lights”
9. “Autobahn”
10. “Airwaves”
11. “The Voice of Energy”
12. “Radioactivity”
13. “Tour De France”
14. “Trans Europa Express” / “Metal On Metal” / “Abzug”


15. “The Robots”

Encore 2

16. “Aéro Dynamik”
17. “Planet of Visions”
18. “Boing Boom Tschak” / “Techno Pop” / “Musique Non Stop