With a Daft Punk tour rumoured for 2017, we look back at the stunning live performances that have made them top of every fan’s live wishlist. From sweaty clubs in the ’90s to festival headlining slots in 2007, the French electronic duo have wowed fans across the globe with their sporadic live performances.
Before they put on the helmets, the pair undertook their ‘Daftendirektour’, which saw them air cuts from their debut album ‘Homework’. The 70-show club extravaganza saw them play intimate shows in Europe, before hitting up North America, Asia and beyond in the year-long tour.
In 2001, the shows were immortalised on the live CD ‘Alive ‘97’. The set used for the release was from the Que Club in Birmingham which they said was their favourite from the tour. Live video footage from the shows is still incredibly rare, though.
Five years later, the group announced their first shows in almost a decade, kicking off with a headline set at California’s Coachella Festival in April 2006. It was here that they debuted the gigantic LED pyramid structure that they would perform from.
The group followed up their return with a handful of summer shows in Europe, their first being a show at Eurockeennes Music Festival in their native France. Thomas Bangalter of the duo initially said that fans would be able to see the giant structure on a live DVD, though later backtracked saying amateur footage was “much more compelling than anything that we could have captured ourselves”.
After a handful of shows the year prior, The Robots took their Pyramid on an extensive world tour at arenas and a few festivals across the globe in 2007. Their June 14 show in Paris at the Palais Omnisport De Bercy was their first in the city in almost a decade, and material from the show was used on the live CD ‘Alive 2007’.
Days later, the group landed in the UK for a pair of gigs at Wireless Festival in London and Leeds. The shows were the last time they performed in the UK.
Parts of the show were broadcast on British television, providing fans with the only official footage from the mammoth tour. The clips were later uploaded to the group’s official YouTube channel.
Later that summer, they took the formidable live show to North America, including a show at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, California. The setlist for the tour often opened with a mashup of ‘Robot Rock’ from ‘Human After All’ and ‘Oh Yeah’ from their debut album ‘Homework’.
The French DJs also played Lollapalooza in August 2007. In 2016, an artist page set up for Daft Punk on the festival’s website resulted in rumours surrounding the group making a return to the Chicago event in 2017.
On the tour, the Robots would often mix ‘Homework’s ‘Around The World’ with ‘Discovery’ hit ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’ before finishing on a medley of ‘Humans After All’, ‘Together’ and ‘One More Time’.
Speaking of the tour, Thomas Bangalter said that 2006’s shows were tailored for large outdoor festivals. 2007 saw them play predominately in arenas, which he said was “to try and bring a complete global experience to the audience.”
The tour’s setlist – which remained largely unchanged throughout – also saw them incorporate elements of Busta Rhymes’ ‘Touch It’ as well as R&B singer Gabrielle’s ‘Forget About The World’.
The tour wrapped up with a handful of shows in Australia in December 2007, with the final performance coming at Sydney Showground Arena. Reviewing the tour, NME would describe the mammoth structure and the show as ‘a robotic spectacular’.
Live performances have since been few and far between. In 2008, the pair performed at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles alongside Kanye West. Clad in special glow in the dark suits, they teamed up with Yeezy for a rendition of his song ‘Stronger’, which was built around a sample from Daft Punk’s ‘Harder Better Faster Stronger’.
In 2009, the pair would return to the Grammys to pick up the award for Best Dance/Electronic Album for ‘Alive 2007’, the live album from their most recent tour.
The group returned to The Grammys in 2014 and brought an all-star band. It was here that they recruited Nile Rodgers, Pharrell and Stevie Wonder and performed ‘Get Lucky’, ‘Another Star’ and ‘Around The World’ with the band.
Their 2013 album ‘Random Access Memories’ won Album Of The Year and Record Of The Year at the Awards, though the band performed no full live concerts in promotion for the album.
Since withdrawing from the live circuit, various bands have employed imposters to act as Daft Punk on stage. In 2014, Arcade Fire brought out a fake pair of Robots during their Coachella headline set.