Laser Dome: music and lasers

On Friday, Jan. 3rd, the Pacific Science Center’s Laser Dome debuted its newest show, Laser EDM. Unlike most of its shows, which are centered on a single artist, Laser EDM features the music of various prominent artists in Electronic Dance Music, such as Kaskade, Skrillex, Alesso and others.

It is difficult to understand a review of a laser show without ever having been to one. Upon paying the admission fee ($3-$10, depending on the time of your show), spectators are led to the inside of a padded white dome. At 80 feet in diameter, this is actually the largest domed laser theater in the world. Inside, there are both seats and an artificial hillside where visitors can stretch out on their backs. Once everyone is situated, the lights go out, enveloping the room in pitch black. Be sure to turn your phone off by then: any unwanted light is extremely irritating to fellow patrons, and you will be asked to leave by the staff. Once the show starts, you are plunged headfirst into the music, as the live-mixed lasers blend with the music in ways that the Bellagio fountain never could. The laser effects themselves vary to keep things interesting, ranging from abstract oscillations, simple animations and crisscrossing beams that pop out with the help of a light fog machine. Viewer feedback during the show is encouraged, ensuring that no two shows are the same. The visual effects would be incomplete without the surround sound speaker system, which bolsters over 15,000 watts of skull-crushing digital sound. Although there are weekday matinees, most shows take place Thursday through Sunday nights. Although the Science Center will be closed, bathrooms are available and snacks are still for sale outside.

If EDM is not your scene, the Laser Dome features artists from most genres, including Daft Punk, The Beatles, Bob Marley, Muse, Pink Floyd and Queen, just to name a few. These shows provide a near-concert experience for these legendary bands, with similar lighting and superior sound quality. However, assuming the artists are still around to see live, laser shows cost but a fraction of the price, ideal for groupies on a budget.

As the winter quarter starts and students return to the daily grind of college and work, succumbing to stress becomes too easy, while the consequences of doing so become greater than ever. The laser show is a wonderful way to unplug from the outside world for an hour and a half, to clear the mind as the music and lights overload your senses and block out nagging thoughts. As the show continues, you begin to sink into the music even further, warping your sense of time.

You will leave the laser show refreshed, energized, and unable to get that one song out of your head.