A few weekends ago I ventured south to San Diego with my good friend and fellow electronic music junky RJ to see Air Live in concert.
Downtown San Diego is already one of my favorite places in California, and I hadn't been in a few years. Air is one of my favorite electronic groups whose lush melodies have grown and grown on over the last two or three years. I have seen other electronic groups in the past like "Underworld" and wasn't impressed with the live set up since most of the songs were pre-recorded and the musicians stood behind giant consoles "tweaking" elements of their songs while other distractions came and left the stage. With Air it was almost all live (minus some pre programmed vintage tr-drummin')
This is one show that I booked far in advance, and was delighted by the performance of Nicolas Godin, Jean-Benoît Dunckel, and a great guest drummer at 4th and B. The show was opened by a mellow group AM whose normal line up of five was reduced to three in order to open for the French duo. The set was nearly two hours long and almost all of the songs they played were known hits like Kelly Watch The Stars, Sexy Boy and Cherry Blossom Girl. All performed live between the three musicians, few guitars, and nearly ten keyboards, synthesizers, and vocoders. The set closed with the song included in the video above "La Femme D'Argent" The 8 minute opening track of their seminal Moonsafari Album.
I was blown away by the performance. It was so great to see such catchy and well crafted music actually created in real-time by these guys. It was also great to study how entertaining live music can be made with a bunch of keyboards, and a little help--since this is essentially what my live performances will be. Me behind three or four keyboards and a laptop trying to be entertaining. . .
I also spent a lot of time hanging out at the merch table talking to the roadies of Air and a few of the actual members of AM all of whom were surprisingly mellow and more than willing to converse with a not-so-sober fan about all of the logistics. (This is how I found out that two members of AM were uninvited on the tour so that they didn't "outnumber" Air on stage.) I purchased AM's CD, 2 air Pins featuring the title of their new album Love 2 and this awesome book called "Air Do It Yourself Studio." The entire book was printed on cardstock and was a bunch of origami-like cut outs that could be folded and glued together to create a miniature version of Air's studio. This was probably one of the easiest $10 purchases of my life. So cool. Anyway, the road to my own first "live" performance continues. . . .