If you're on the fence about a band everyone else loves, it's often best to check 'em out live. The music sometimes can't fully connect when it's just you alone with your iPod, but it can suddenly spring to life in the spontaneous atmosphere of a club, especially when surrounded by the band's adoring throngs. You may remain immune to the group's charms, but at least you've immersed yourself directly into the experience in the best possible scenario.
For those of us who missed Daft Punk's adored 2006-2007 world tour — which, by almost all accounts, was a titanic manifesto to the duo's overpowering showmanship — Alive 2007 offers a hint of what those tightly scripted shows must have been like. But as opposed to the Frenchmen's albums, a sometimes monotonous collection of brilliantly artificial singles padded with dull techno, this live curio demonstrates how that sonic repetition can become kinetically overpowering in the right environment. The tour's gimmick was that every song was actually a mash-up of two of the band's songs, a strategy that, rather than turning their oeuvre into incoherent mush, impressively reignites tunes you're sure you never had to hear again. (If you think you know "Harder Better Faster Stronger" and "Around the World," wait till they come at you simultaneously.) As is always the case, live albums can't fully replace the sensation of being there, but Alive 2007 at least makes the case that even if Daft Punk aren't great artists, they do what they do just about as well as could be hoped for.
Tim Grierson writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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