Justice

Access All Arenas

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Just as Daft Punk were putting the finishing touches on their similarly titled live release Random Access Memories, France's second-largest arena-filling electronic duo released their second live album, Access All Arenas. With only two actual records behind them, it may seem puzzling that Justice would release another live album so quickly. That said, when comparing this with A Cross the Universe from five years prior, it becomes evident that Gaspard Augé and Xavier De Rosnay have grown into seasoned performers. In this set from Les Arènes de Nimes on July 19, 2012, their transitions are smoother, the songs are spliced up more, and they are more dexterous with their mashed material (take, for instance, the subtle Billy Ocean and Prince drops in "Helix"). It would be a stretch to say the bad boys of house have matured, but this is a tight set that shows their skills on the decks and their ability to work a crowd (check out the vicious, goosebump-inducing ramp-up in "Phantom") have improved substantially. Pulling songs evenly from the slightly softer Audio, Video, Disco and the harder-edged Cross, all of the material translates surprisingly well. In an age when electronic acts are the arena superstars, Justice is one of the top acts of the business. One minor expected issue is that a live CD only presents half the picture, especially when dealing with electronic acts, since so much depends on the accompanying blinding light show and the energy of the dancing crowd, so there is the occasional feeling of missing something when the audience roars in reaction to something unrelated to the audio. For this reason, it's worth considering the other live option, A Cross the Universe, which includes an excellent live DVD and documentary. However, for music alone, this performance is superior.

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