Of their nearly 30 years together, Daft Punk probably only spent a small fraction of that time on the road. But the acclaimed electronic duo, which announced its breakup today, will still be remembered as one of the most important, influential and — crucially — entertaining live acts of this young century.
Live performances were a bit more common during Daft Punk’s earlier days in the Nineties, but the group embarked on just two official tours: the “Daftendirektour” in 1997 in support of their debut, Homework, and then their 2006–07 Alive run.
The latter is best remembered for its groundbreaking pyramid show. Daft Punk, donning their signature robot outfits and spinning their euphoric hits, set up inside a 24-foot-tall aluminum pyramid covered with screens and dazzling LED lights. The duo debuted this show at an instantly legendary set at Coachella 2006, then brought it to festivals and arenas around the globe. It would set the standard not only for the EDM extravaganzas that would soon become a staple of all major festivals in the coming years, but for gigantic live spectacles across the musical spectrum. At the time, though, there was nothing else like it.
While fan-shot videos of that Coachella debut are floating around the internet, a slightly more high-quality version of the Alive tour show can be found in this video of Daft Punk’s full set at Lollapalooza in Chicago on August 3rd, 2007. (Some more polished footage of the Coachella show appeared in the 2015 documentary Daft Punk Unchained, while the tour also produced a live album, Alive 2007.)
“We like the idea of trying to be pioneers, but the problem with that is when you’re too much ahead, the connection doesn’t really happen at the time,” Thomas Bangalter, one half of Daft Punk, told Pitchfork in 2013. “At Coachella, we still may have been five years ahead of people, but the connection was happening at that moment. It was the most synched-up we ever felt.”
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