Review: Air at the Phoenix Concert Theatre

Written and published for AUX.

Those lucky enough to go to last night’s Air concert at the Phoenix, or those simply looking to get out of the wet chilly evening were whisked away by some breathtaking electronic melodies and captivating visual images. Part of their first North American tour in three years, Air descended upon Toronto and for the duration of the concert made goers think of nothing else except keyboards, acoustic guitars, bass and synthesizers.

Opening act AM offered up some delightful alternative lounge tunes perfectly suited for any day at the beach, although the weather outside didn’t resemble anything beach like. Based out of Los Angeles, AM played material from his latest album Future Sons and Daughters released this past February. This was the first Canadian appearance by AM, who’s debut album Troubled Times was declared one of the “Best Albums of the Year” by iTunes.

After a brief intermission that allowed the remaining space in the venue to fill up, Air’s Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel took the stage and launched into the first single “Do the Joy” off their latest album, Love 2 and continued with new material in the form of tracks “So Light Is Her Footfall,” and “Love,” the latter recently performed on Jimmy Fallon. It wasn’t until the band started playing older songs like “Venus,” “Cherry Blossom Girl,” and “Remember” did the crowd start to respond to the music. Whether this is a representation of what fans think of the new material and how it compares to the old stuff is still undecided. After that, audience members were taken on an electronic roller coaster ride with dreamy sounds and extravagant visual images.

What Air also did with this performance was perhaps breathe some life into the new tracks that may not have won older fans over yet. An example of this was “Tropical Disease,” from Love 2, which starts off slow, but gradually picks up through the various verses and then slows back down again. The live version, running almost eight minutes had both Godin and Dunckel entranced in the music they created and was arguably the best song of the night.

Finishing their set with “Kelly Watch The Stars” from their first full length debut album Moon Safari, released in 1998, one that is now considered a chill out genre classic, the band bowed several times over to the roaring crowd. After some intense clapping and foot stopping they returned to play “Sexy Boy,” undoubtedly their most notorious song and “La Femme d’Argent,” again to overwhelming response from the crowd. Perhaps the audience sensed this might be the last time they see the band because of the distance between their last tour of our continent. Whether they return soon carrying another seemingly sub par album on their back, Air will give a truly moving performance that is surely not to be missed by anyone who digs electronic music.