Alive 2007

Alive 2007

The historical consensus is that Daft Punk’s pyramid show—which debuted at Coachella in April 2006 and toured the world throughout 2007—was ground zero for the EDM explosion that fused kinetic dance music with eye-popping visuals, catapulting the genre to the top of the charts. But for Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, the chance to create this career-defining performance came while the duo was experiencing a career nadir, following the lukewarm reception toward Daft Punk’s 2005 album Human After All. Did Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo feel a make-or-break urgency as they crafted the sound and vision of their comeback shows? It’s impossible to know; after all, these guys aren’t known for talking. But the pair clearly took the challenge seriously, decamping to Jim Henson Studios in Hollywood to develop the show, and investing the full $300,000 fee for playing Coachella to build a stage set unlike anything seen before. But while the technicolor extravaganza was the alpha in the EDM phenomenon, the show’s career-spanning musical megamix, captured in the 2007 album Alive 2007, was the omega. The nearly 90-minute collection brings together songs from the duo’s first three albums, mixing together tracks and textures, as when 1997’s “Oh Yeah” is mixed with 2005’s “Technologic” (with a sample of Busta Rhyme’s “Touch It” dropped in for extra oomph). Bangalter and Homem-Christo were so confident in the musical masterwork they’d assembled for Alive 2007, they declined to issue a DVD of their already legendary stage performance. It didn’t matter, as the dawn of video-sharing platforms like YouTube meant that millions would be able to see the robots atop their dazzling LED pyramid—an image that would soon be ingrained in the popular imagination. The success of the tour and the album raised industry confidence in Daft Punk, giving Bangalter and Homem-Christo a blank check they used to direct abstract art films (Electroma), collaborate on blockbuster sci-fi soundtracks (TRON: Legacy), and eventually reach cultural dominance with the critical and commercial success of what would be the duo’s final album, 2013’s Random Access Memories.

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