How is it that it’s been 20 years since Air first came on to the scene? I have very clear (and fond) memories of listening to Premiers Symptômes, and Moon Safari, over and over when these records first came out. I still get acid chills when I hear the bubbling synths and dubbed out hi-hats on “Modular Mix,” and I certainly remember how stoked I was to hear that Air was going to provide the soundtrack to a film, they’ve always had a cinematic quality to their work, so of course.
Like I said, how can it be 20 YEARS ALREADY?! I guess that’s what happens when you get old…
ANYWAYS, Air closed out their 20th Anniversary tour this last Sunday night at the Greek Theatre and I was excited to FINALLY see the French duo live. The show wasn’t sold out which made me a little apprehensive, because it’s AIR, how could it NOT be sold out? Did people know something that I didn’t? Just turns out that there were a lot of competing shows and events this weekend. That was fine for me, because that just meant more Air for me.
As the lights finally dimmed and the sweet pulsing synth sounds filled the air, Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel took to the stage. Launching into “Venus” from Talkie Walkie may not have been my first choice for an opener, but it’s a popular song and it definitely got people feeling it. Godin, surrounded by synths, is definitely the “rockstar” of the group, flashing seductive French looks, while dramatically leaning back while manipulating oscillators and filters. Godin played it cool like I knew he would and rocked a range of instruments from bass, to keys, to acoustic guitar, to banjo. Despite all the multitasking from Godin and Dunckel, and the help from their drummer and another keyboardist, some of the songs like “J’ai dormi sous l’eau” and even “Playground Love” felt a little too sparse. I get it though, without playing a ton of backing tracks, some of those songs are just too layered to have played by a four-piece.
For the encore, Godin introduced some special guests that have contributed to to Air over the years including, Beck, Jason Falkner, Justin Meldal-Johnson, Roger Joseph Manning Jr., and a couple others whose names escape me. The stage was filled as they performed “How Does it Make You Feel” from their second full length album, 10,000 Hz. Even though it was just the chorus that was sung, people went bonkers for Beck (of course).
Rounding out the encore was the oh-so-fun, “Sexy Boy” featuring Godin on vocoder, and then of course, my personal favorite Air song, “La Femme d’Argent.” That bass lines gets me every time and to see Dunckel play it live in a super long extended jam, was the icing on the cake.
While I would’ve like to have seen some more extended jam sections in some of the songs, the Frenchmen did not disappoint. They played everything I wanted to hear, from the deep cuts to the hits, they had all bases covered.
Supporting Air at the Greek Theatre were Los Angeles’ very own Lo Moon.
Words & Photos: Ceethreedom
Photos: Air with Lo Moon at Greek Theatre
Air at Greek Theatre Setlist:
Don’t Be Light
Cherry Blossom Girl
J’ai dormi sous l’eau
People in the City
Alpha Beta Gaga
Alone in Kyoto
Kelly Watch the Stars
How Does It Make You Feel?
La Femme d’Argent