I missed the first US AIR tour in 1998 when the promotion was heavy for the Moon Safari treasure. I did catch up however by watching the Mike Millsí creative documentary which captured said tour: Eating Sleeping Waiting And Playing. I listen to AIR about twice a day and completely creamed my shorts when the 10,000 Hz. Legend Tour was announced while I was rocking the advance CD back in March. I have never experienced an outfit like them. Their style, passion, and openness to on stage and in studio improvisation make them my most prized audio companion. AIR played Chicagoís Vic Theater on Saturday June 30, 2001 ñ I souled my soul to get in, and the band gave mine back to me.
The lights which blasted through the bandís first song, Electronic Performers, helped keep their identity secret, as the stunning array of bioluminescent ROYGBIVíS prepared us for the audio and visual voyage we collectively insisted on taking. "We Are The Synchronizers", were the first words finally seen by the band, who were dressed this time around in all black (rather than all white from the previous tour) and stringy haired JB Dunckel acted as the French Nos Veratu draped in a back cape.
Flashbacks and flash forwards of Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, and my seventh grade trip to the science museumís planetarium jumped into my head as the smoke cleared and How Does It Make You Feel slowly seduced the audience. The charming computer generated vocals grabbed some laughs from the audience, whom I believe have not been privy to the latest 10,000 Hz. Legend album, which the French bandís set list was predominately married to. I contradict myself quickly, as the band whipped out a blast from the past in Talisman, which was one of a few songs dropped off from the Moon Safari record.
Radio #1 helped bring the audience into the music, as they assisted with hand claps and sang along to the radio friendly chorus which specialty shows have been blasting for months, "If you need some fun, some good stereo gum, Radio #1"! The bandís only dip into the majestic recordings from The Virgin Suicides Soundtrack came next with bassist / guitarist Jason Falkner lending a voice and providing vocals to Playground Love. Faulkner sold himself as a rock star he truly is alongside the French boys, trading electric bass for an acoustic guitar with Nicholas for certain songs, and hitting the high notes (originally provided by Buffalo Daughter on the record) for some of the songs (including the mellow and amusing vocals towards the end of Radio #1).
There was not too much jibber jabber in between songs from the shy boys, other than an occasional "Thank You" or "Merci", which sounded like school boys who were just awarded "good behavior cake". Nicholas did however announce that the next song was his favorite on the album, as the crew dove in to the catch 22 monster, Lucky And Unhappy.
While entranced in the performance, I realized that AIR act as musical mediums. They present themselves as brilliant artists who simply provide color to the written vocals and glorious sounds that the audience falls victim to. All of the senses are effected at any given time during an AIR performance, as the taste, smell, and touch capture the experience just as much as the sight, and hearing. As each song continued I personally felt like I was in Doctor Whoís time machine and every time I came out of the door to see what new world I was in, another song from the AIR catalog was presented.
AIR enjoyed themselves as much along with the audience as they continued to kick out the new jams like, Sex Born Prison, People In The City, Donít Be Light and Radian as one part of two encores. A precious piece of the Premiers Symptomes album made an appearance when Le Soleil Est Pres De Moi made love to the sold out Chicago crowd. For an encore the inevitable Sexy Boy was presented, this time in itís purest Disco Pop Rock form, which made for a graceful farewell from the 1 1/2 hour plus show. Iíll admit that in all of the hubbub I lost one of the songs on this reported set list, but oh well ñ whatís a reporter to do? Have the time of my life?
The live AIR extravaganza takes on as much meaning and influence as the bandís namesake. My body and mind can explain to you first hand, that if you are living in the year 2001, working on a computer, watching digital satellite television, ripping MP3ís and burning DVDís while talking on your cell phone palm pilot cancer creators ñ you owe it to yourself to witness this performance in order to keep living alongside the rest of the digitally experienced.
AIR ñ Vic Theater (Please be aware that this reporter was flying higher than Mount Everest on stilts, and the order of the songs played are inconclusive)
How Does It Make You Feel
Lucky And Unhappy
Le Soleil Est Pres De Moi
Sex Born Prison
Donít Be Light
People In The City
Missing one more song somewhere?
Source: Jason Anfinsen