By Ben Capuano
The fact that we have a Laser Dome in our immediate vicinity is something that is unfortunately rather underlooked by most at our school. I didn’t even know we had one until I took on this review, but apparently many people at MIHS do. What they don’t know about are the variety of shows hosted at the one of a kind venue.
Along with a smattering of limited time events that usually run for just a single night, the Science Center has something for everybody at the Laser Dome. From Lady Gaga and Gorillaz on Thursdays to Soundgarden and Michael Jackson, chances are you’ll find a show that appeals to anyone’s musical tastes.
But even though each show is set to songs from a specific artist, it’s a laser show first. I went to the 9:15 Gorillaz show on Thursday with a group of friends and even though they played most of the classic songs you need for a Gorillaz production, many of the more obscure tracks and remixes they played seemed to be more for the more effects than anything else.
And on the topic of getting there, that can be a bit of a pain. Parking around the Seattle Center can always be a bit of a hassle, but on the weekend nights when most of these shows happen, parking goes from bad to worse. The garage under the KOMO Plaza is usually a safe bet for spots if you find yourself with a lack of parking available though. Also, if you show up early to get tickets before the show, be sure to dress warm. Nights during this time of the year are almost alway cold and occasionally rainy too, so it’ll probably be to your advantage to buy tickets online beforehand.
Ticket pricing is an absolute steal. It’s just $12 for most nights, and on Thursdays that drops down to $10. And with Seattle Center’s free TeenTix program, you can get in for $5 at the door every time, but unfortunately that $5 price is only available at the door, so you’ll have to get there early if you want to take advantage of the discount.
The Laser Dome itself is nice, but not anything special. They have chairs available to sit in, but from what I’ve heard, the ideal way to experience the show is lying down on the ground in the center. Even though there’s a carpet, the ground is still rock hard, so most people bring a pillow and some blankets to cozy up in for the show. I just used my coat as a headrest and I was fine, but the blanket route is definitely the way to go.
If you like heavy bass, the sound system of the Laser Dome is for you. Even at the Gorillaz show, it was boosted enough to cause the ground to vibrate under me, and it only gets more intense at the midnight Daft Punk and EDM shows, so I’d recommend those if that’s your thing. While the overall audio quality isn’t anything to write home about, it gets the job done well enough. For those that aren’t audiophiles, the slight quality discrepancies will only be marginal to your overall experience.
When it comes the lasers themselves though, they are among the best available for this type of production. Compared to Laser Domes around the country, the one at the Science Center is among the oldest, but they’ve been continually updating it since its construction, now it’s at the forefront of Laser Dome systems worldwide. The Dome is massive, 80 feet in diameter, though not perfectly spherical.
To those who haven’t seen a laser show, you’re in for one of the most strangely incredible experiences of your life. The 9 lasers the immensely talented artists control can produce a dizzying array of different colors in the slight haze of the dome. Because it’s concave, these projections seems to jump out at the audience, similar to a 3D movie, but in a whole other level. And the artist isn’t just controlling things from some unseen room behind the Dome, there’s a nice back and forth dynamic between the audience and the artist throughout the show. In fact, due to the smaller size of the venue, the whole experience seems a lot more closer than any concert I’ve ever been to.
The Laser Dome at the Pacific Science Center was one of the best $10 experiences I’ve had all year. Don’t wait, go with your friend or your date as soon as you can. Trust me, you won’t regret it.