A Somewhat Irrational Conversation Re: Phoenix and Daft Punk at MSG (with Cellphone Photos)

October 21, 2010

In a rolling post that we will update throughout the day, The FADER's editor in chief Peter Macia and senior editor Sam Hockley-Smith recount the momentous Phoenix and Dirty Projectors and Wavves show at Madison Square Garden that ended with an unbelievable guest appearance by the real Daft Punk. Read on and watch videos (courtesy of this dude of the Phoenix-Daft Punk jam sesh after the jump and check back for updates throughout the day while we do other stuff.

Pete Macia: ready?

Sam Hockley-Smith: sure

Pete Macia: ok

Pete Macia: here we go

Pete: so last night you saw what i dream every night

Pete: eddie izzard dressed in pants and sitting with a model in madison square garden

Pete: just kidding, phoenix and daft punk!

Sam: also Sofia Coppola for like two seconds

Sam: I'm assuming she's in your dreams too in a not creepy way

Pete: she directs my dreams with a light touch

Pete: i don't even know she's there

Pete: but yeah, she seems cool from 50 feet

Sam: does she go to all their shows?

Sam: or just the ones where daft punk play a giant keyboard in the back

Pete: she goes to all the ones i go to

Pete: which is most of them


Pete: wavves just tweeted: I played with daft punk at Madison square garden. I can die happy.

Sam: how many Phoenix shows have you been to since you did that cover story

Sam: including the one at the Apple store for like 40 people

Pete: let's count: music hall, apple store, h'wood bowl, msg

Pete: only 4

Pete: i haven't been to 4 other shows in that time though

Sam: where did last night rank in terms of Peter Macia's Favorite Phoenix Shows

Pete: with all due respect to daft punk, i'm gonna put it at tied for 2nd

Pete: no wait

Pete: solid 2nd

Pete: no wait

Pete: shit

Pete: they're all tied for 1st

Pete: and here's why

Pete: phoenix, despite being french and of immeasurable coolness, really go the extra distance to make every show unique and memorable. hollywood bowl, they did all the stuff they did last night--dropping the white curtain, acoustic encore in the audience, thomas climbing out in the cheap seats during 2nd encore, plus all the great lighting and messing with the songs. BUT at the end they brought everyone on stage because the venue is conducive. MSG is conducive to bringing daft punk on stage, so they did that

Pete: not many bands really make that kind of effort for the fans these days

Sam: that's true

Sam: actually rivers cuomo did something similar when I saw Weezer at the beginning of September

Sam: but it felt cheap

Sam: like he did it not because he wanted to do it but because he felt like he had to and knew what reaction he would get

Sam: and I think the reason that Phoenix are as popular as they are without really going through the traditional channels of becoming A POPULAR ROCK BAND is because they are genuine

Pete: TOPIC #1: Is Phoenix what Weezer could have been if they didn't go off the deep end after 'Pinkerton'?

Pete: please do not answer that

Sam: I was about to write an entire essay

Sam: you just saved the members of Real Estate from having to read a long, boring essay written by me in an IM window

Pete: another day, another post. so let's backtrack a second. wavves just tweeted he played with daft punk, which is technically true but fundamentally misleading, because while daft punk was playing he was probably smoking weed from a beer can in a car on the way to that secret stereogum show

Pete: is daft punk still the pinnacle of coolness?

Sam: I was thinking a lot about that last night. I think in a lot of ways they are. They've now survived multiple movements within electronic music

Sam: I think they reached the height of their popularity a couple years ago, but they still look and sound like they're from the future

Sam: so yeah I'd say they are still the pinnacle of coolness

Pete: you know what i thought a lot about

Pete: how you can tell when it's really bangalter and homem-christo because they're, how to say, not the svelte robots we are use to seeing in photos and videos

Sam: so was it really them last night?

Pete: they are actually similar in shape and size to r2d2 and c3po

Pete: i confirmed the body accuracy with eric ducker, former fader editor and supreme fact man, who interviewed them in person a few years ago

Pete: he is also the inspiration for this irrational conversation. WHAT UP DUCKER

Pete: did you know you were sitting next to eddie izzard?


Pete: yeah dude it was weird

Pete: i was trying to tell you telepathically

Sam: Not gonna get super into it here, but my thing with Eddie Izzard is this: EVERYONE around me thought he was the funniest thing ever, and I never got it.

Sam: that's weird that you didn't text me

Pete: i don't text

Pete: he didn't seem to be enjoying himself very much

Pete: not tapping his toes or anything

Sam: I've never seen a comedian have a good time in their down time

Sam: ever

Sam: they always look like they want to die

Pete: which, in my mind, creates suspicion that he may be an awful person

Sam: Are there people that don't like Phoenix?

Pete: i suppose you're right. no wait, aziz would've been fucking dancing

Pete: there are people who don't like phoenix in the same way there are people who don't like beer

Pete: they are wrong

Pete: objectively, both are just great

Sam: So here's my question then

Sam: where do Phoenix go from here?

Sam: can they just do this forever?

Sam: I wouldn't be mad if they did

Sam: like 70 year old Phoenix dudes playing the same songs at MSG is not something I am against

Pete: that's a good question. this kind of feels like their moment. i watched 'stones in exile' again the other day and this kind of feels like that. they may do cool stuff after this but i'm not sure if it will be on this level again. but they seem pretty aware of that, and maybe that's why they're blowing it out for these shows. i don't know. i hope they continue to get better. maybe they'll get weird again

Sam: It seems like they've been building their career toward this moment. I don't mean this moment as in, like, LAST NIGHT. But in general, everything they've done since Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix has felt like the moment when they were like WE JUST DID IT DUDES. COME CELEBRATE WITH US BY SITTING IN A LITTLE CHAIR AT THE APPLE STORE (replace apple store with big venue/festival/smaller super packed venue depending on what shows you've been to)

Sam: It's like a giant party for them and their fans all at once that lasts years

Pete: totally. and they don't seem exhausted like i get for four days after one night out.


Pete: so i wanted to share this crazily awesome photo i took of daft punk

Sam: That's really beautiful. Looking at it I can tell it's actually them because it is so crystal clear.

Pete: the style was inspired by man ray

Sam: Also maybe Sofia Coppola?

Pete: sort of

Pete: i wish it was not so good but that is my standard. for real though, this is where photography really couldn't have conveyed the radness anyway so this iphone photo, in a way, is a more accurate depiction of my inner spazzing than a crystal clear front row picture taken with a monster lens

Sam: Which actually brings up a good point. If Phoenix set the bar so high for the live show experience, what are all other bands supposed to do? Like, I spend a lot of time going to weird warehouse shows. Do I now have to stop doing that?

Pete: no, because that is your basis for comparison

Pete: also i couldn't handle this mentally more than once a year

Sam: so basically I will still go to them and expect synchronized lights and a drummer that has frightening levels of robotic accuracy

Pete: i came home and ate candy until two in the morning

Sam: what kind

Pete: swedish licorice

Sam: also you have already handled it more than once this year

Pete: oh yeah

Pete: to your point though, i would totally welcome a new spirit of showmanship on every level of music

Pete: i would say that dirty projectors put on a great show

Pete: in an entirely different way

Pete: although every time i see them i just want longstreth to come out in a giant suit and sing 'burning down the house'

Sam: I know what you mean.

Sam: I think that's another interesting point. Both opening bands are not exactly the most accessible bands around. They're not hard to listen to by any means (maybe Dirty Projectors sometimes), but they also don't have easy entry points to jump into like Phoenix does

Pete: and our man wavves put on a great show at the merch table with the garfield tote bag. but yeah, DP is far more "challenging" and yet people were into it. i was surprised by that, figuring that 90% of the audience, even at that half-filled point, would just be waiting for phoenix. but they were into that Big Love shit for real. how long til longstreth just says fuck it and starts a cult?

Sam: Pretty sure it already happened! I'm actually bummed I wasn't invited

Pete: ok so here's another photo, less accomplished than mine, taken by either branco or christian from phoenix last night

pmlawnmower: also with an iphone

Sam: I think the most important thing about this photo is that it proves that Daft Punk are actually doing shit back there!

Sam: those are keyboard keys!

Pete: that could just be a roadie wearing the glove

Pete: you know they're not really robots

Sam: seriously?

Pete: yeah they are bears

Pete: that's why they don't do interviews

Pete: speaking of the french

Pete: were you disappointed that no one in phoenix or daft punk addressed the current austerity measures taken by sarkozy after the second encore? i think it would've taken it to another level if bangalter had grabbed a mic and been like "retiring at 70 is bullshit. rowrrrrr."

Sam: whoa dog

Pete: i guess the show itself was a comment on austerity

Pete: or lack thereof

Sam: I was absolutely not disappointed by that! All Phoenix songs make me think about relationships and also, like, BIG LIFE CHANGES

Pete: i love that the french are marching against restraint

Pete: france is basically one big phoenix-daft punk encore?

Pete: what do you think about that assertion?

Sam: well

Sam: i've never been. but based on what I know, what I've heard and what I've seen, I'd say that's right. Everyone gets this weird thing when they go there, where when they come back they're like, "Here's all the super french stuff I did," and normally it would be annoying and weird, but mostly it just makes me jealous. I think ultimately we are all jealous of Phoenix for the way they can make everything sound exactly right even when I have no fucking clue what they're actually singing about


Pete: someday not now

A Somewhat Irrational Conversation Re: Phoenix and Daft Punk at MSG (with Cellphone Photos)