Very rarely in life do events happen that you still remember every aspect years or even decades later. For me and others I know, seeing Daft Punk in concert stands as one of those experiences. For me it first happened at Coachella 2006, alone in a crowded tent losing my mind for 80 riveting minutes. Then came Miami, a two day drive from Louisiana to Florida, then back as soon as the show ended. Finally, what brings us to the subject of this article, the Alive 2007 tour, which then helped birth the live record of the same name This time myself, sister, mother and then girlfriend got to see one of the most legendary acts of all time, at one of the most incredible venues in earth, Red Rocks.
Live albums as a whole tend to be tricky. You don’t want to overdo and select only hits, but you also want to give the people a certain amount of what they want. After absorbing the record countless times, it's fair to say they balanced it brilliantly. This show, along with most of the shows it helped to spawn, doesn’t really follow a traditional song pattern. Throughout the 12 segments presented here, each one has at least two songs constantly intertwining. Sometimes, a beat from a song will disappear entirely from a song, only to make itself known again down the line. When you witness the show, it’s a type of energy that makes the moments blur. “Robot Rock,”the opener, gradually builds you up continuously untuk rge energy bursts, with the ending notes of the returning “Human After All” coming in, you don’t really stop moving. It's infectious, there's no doubt about it.
By this tour, I had gotten the chance to see this tour twice, so going in you are pretty aware of what you’re about to see. This is both true and untrue. Since the show was unveiled 14 months earlier, the show had been tweaked in small but very noticeable ways. The “Fuck it” coursing through track two “Touch It/Technologic” wasn’t presented at the previous shows, but that’s the kind of thing you can do when you spend a year or so making a perfect show even better.
As the story goes the duo only accepted the Coachella offer because the amount of money was enough to put on the stage show they had envisioned for years. This idea became known as the pyramid, and it essentially changed how live shows are approached. ESPECIALLY for dance acts. Remember shows? Ah, yeah me too.
Probably my favorite section comes within the first few movements of the show. The beats from “Television Rules the Nation'' burst out of the speakers, while “Around the World” gloriously rips through on the audio vocal end of the music. The music, on top of the accompanying visuals really do the job of capturing human existence in its primal exchange.The buildup is something to behold. Relentlessly, like the train from the Dark Tower, “Crescendolls'' joins the fun created by the first two tracks and things get wild. The build up and explosion is maybe the best thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Even at the shows, I remember being torn between filming it or enjoying the moment. I think in the end I filmed maybe 5 seconds and chose to lose myself to dance(see what I did there?).
There’s a reason these two men are supremely important to the electronic music scene. Much like Kraftwerk were instrumental in the 70’s and 80’s, Daft Punk have taken similar risks in bringing their unique style of “Robot Rock” to mainstream audiences. The contribution is incalculable and utterly important.
I picked this album specifically because while I do have a favorite stand alone album, the sheer talent and skill represented in this live album brings everything to the table. It has tracks from every album up to that point, mixed and arranged in a way to make them their own unique tracks. The cut it up, slice it, and transform these songs to work in the live setting. One of the best examples comes when Steam Machine” enters at the end of one section of a beat and carries the tone and elements over to the next section where “Around the World” returns and is joined by the beat of one of the better songs in their catalogue, “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.”
It stops abruptly, but slowly a singular thump lays down under the vocals and gradually brings the tempo back up to a party atmosphere. The band had mentioned that this show felt like an opera to them, in the way that opera’s have movements that flow effortlessly, and little things in each movement are allowed to change as long as the end goal remains the same. You can really see the motivation on this track. It seems like a mess at times, but it might just be because no one was used to hearing so many elements from so many songs happening at the same time. Music then, and even now, hasn’t caught up to some of the things they accomplished and produced during these shows.
From this point, the show keeps on going in the same way it has been. Which is to say unabated. Over the next three songs we’re treated to re-workings of at least 7 songs. I imagine if you had only seen or heard this album, you might not be aware that these aren’t the album versions, but it’s totally understandable. That’s a testament to what great producers Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter are that as two individuals they can mix multiple things and bring an incredible stage show and have the end result be a seamless mix of beautiful visuals, gorgeously layered sounds, and leave the crowd still wanting more after a full concert.
This is where the set begins to change a little bit compared to the Coachella show from a year earlier. Nothing leaves, but more is added, which we’ll get to in a moment's time. The familiar bells of “Aerodynamic,” with their foreboding wail, give way to the unmistakable ding of hopefulness that is the mega hit “One More Time.” I swear I’ve heard this song hundreds of times and it’s still as awesome as it was the first time it ventured into my life. If there’s a single part or song that captures the full message of the show and the energy it delivers, it’s easily “One More Time.”
During this segment of the record, things dial down again only to do what theyve done before and get everyone listening re-energized. The double whammy of vocals provided from “Primetime of Your Life,” interlaced over the rough scratching of “Brainwasher '' make it a deliberate entry into the set. On traditional records both of these songs are super heavy in terms of rocking bass, but in the live setting, it’s pretty killer. The beat also only ramps up as the song goes on, but at a full on dance party, you kinda have to do it.
With two songs left, we find the group doing something that they’ve perfected by now: Very quietly inserting segments from the next song into the mix in such a way as you can barely hear it until it’s at your door ready to party. This time, the track in question is maybe the song with the best beat to it, “Da Funk.” How they do it though slightly varies. You can hear the intro in the previous song, but it ends mid way through, only to have it re-emerge in full force on this track. It’s one of the few parts of the show where this song is the only one on display, even if it’s for a brief moment. “Da Funk'' is clearly an incredible song, and the placement here is quite appropriate.
This, unfortunately brings the last segment of the record, and as far as show closers go, it doesn’t disappoint. We open up with the heroic vocals from “Superheroes,” but that isn’t the only thing prevalent here. The beat from “Human After All” is also there, and that’s where the song really soars. If you’re trying to make a complete show, it’s logical for a band who opens with “Robot Rock” to then close with “Human After All.” I like to think it’s to demonstrate that while they have been performing for the crowd, in a way we’ve been performing for them, and making them feel good. We’re gifting each other with a legendary experience.This band is likely the most important electronic band every to make music, and this collection of songs proves why. It’s timeless, fun, and thoughtful all at the same time. This is also a band that has been a part of a few awesome memories involving people I care about, and in the end, “Music Sounds Better With You.”
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Landon Murray is a music connooisseur who craves sounds of all shapes and textures. He's seen over 2000 bands and looks forward to welcoming you into his world of sound,
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