This week, the Daft Punk diehards of Reddit found a good reason to hyperventilate: possible “proof” of the duo’s 2017 live return. One Redditor’s internet sleuthing discovered an artist page for Daft Punk hidden on the Lollapalooza website, suggesting the Chicago festival had locked the robots for next July. Fans rejoiced, music outlets dutifully reported on it, and sceptics rolled their eyes.
Now it seems that particular bubble has been burst, with Pitchfork’s sources saying no such shows are planned for 2017. By now, we’re all accustomed to this feeling of false hope. Daft Punk’s last live shows were way back in 2007 – in fact, the final dates of that storied pyramid tour went down in Australia.
Since then, Thomas and Guy-Man haven’t shown even the slightest inclination to get back on the road, but of course that hasn’t stopped the rumour mill. In the near-decade since Daft Punk’s Alive 2007 album immortalised the setlist from that game-changing tour, the red herrings have been nearly non-stop.
With this week’s probable letdown still fresh in our mind, we got thinking about some other times we were duped. Let’s just face it: the robots aren’t coming.
Just two years on from the Alive tour, people were already itchy for more robot rock. That might be why fans let themselves be so easily punked when a dodgy promoter advertised a “secret” Daft Punk show in Shanghai on February 13, 2009. A wider tour was also rumoured to follow.
As it turned out, the show was a scam orchestrated by a couple of shady characters to swindle people’s money. Sadly, the plan actually worked, with tickets (priced at around $80 AUD) swiftly selling out and some devotees even booking flights to be there. It’s tempting to think the internet was more gullible back in 2009, but don’t be so sure.
In response to the Shanghai scam, the duo’s reps made it clear they had no imminent tour plans. However, the statement also included this pulse-quickening line: “Daft Punk look forward to visiting and performing in China as part of their next world tour, in 2010 or 2011.” Fans were advised to keep an eye on Daft Punk’s official MySpace page (!) for any official announcements. And here we are, still waiting.
If you were at Coachella in 2013, you probably thought Daft Punk was going to play. With the teaser campaign for Random Access Memories underway at the time, a surprise appearance from the duo was apparently a sure thing.
It seemed most likely the robot cameo would occur during Phoenix’s headlining set on Saturday night, given the Frenchmen brought out Daft Punk at a New York concert in 2010. The huge crowd that rolled up to see Phoenix was indeed rewarded by a star guest – but it was R. Kelly, not Thomas and Guy-Man. Daft Punk weren’t oblivious to the hype, either, commandeering Coachella’s jumbotron video screens to play a new commercial for the album in between sets. Sneaky as ever.
When Daft Punk chose Wee Waa as the location to launch their highly-anticipated album Random Access Memories, the rural New South Wales town (population 2000) was elevated to surreal international fame. No one could quite understand what Thomas and Guy-Man were playing at, least of all the residents of Wee Waa. As odd as it all was, the town welcomed the festivities as part of its annual agricultural show on May 17, 2013, with a dancefloor set up in a paddock under a giant disco ball.
An army of Daft Punk super-fans (inthemix included) trekked out to Wee Waa to be part of it, with rumours circulating of a real-life appearance from the duo, which would be followed by news of a Random Access Memories tour. As it turned out, the main event – aside from the dog high-jump, that is – was a playback of the album in full. Fun, but not quite the same thing.
This latest rumour flare-up had at least a glimmer of possibility, as 2017 marks a decade since Daft Punk’s last tour. Their last run of shows before that was 1997’s Daftendirektour. The symmetry is certainly intriguing, and with the duo back in the spotlight this month via their collaboration with The Weeknd, we can still dare to dream. But until the news appears on the official Daft Punk channels, it’s probably best not to believe anything you read.