Air‘s Jean-Benoit Dunckel and Nicholas Godin have always audaciously straddled the line between high class and high camp–embellishing their otherwise lovely compositions with ’70s sci-fi blips ‘n’ bleeps and computerized Stephen Hawking vocals, employing members of the all-synth novelty act the Moog Cookbook, wearing mad-magician capes onstage, populating their music videos with plush monkey dolls and Japanese porn starlets–but on Sunday night within Los Angeles’s acoustically perfect Disney Concert Hall, the cheeky Parisians were on their best behavior.
With the exception of a very occasional lapse into electronic androidspeak (during a couple between-song lulls, Godin thanked the reverent audience through his analog-era vocoder), this evening’s concert was almost entirely kitsch-free.
After all, it’s not every day that Air get to play in a place like Disney Hall, home to the world-famous L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra. This was a serious and sophisticated occasion, with even a few of L.A.’s usually skinny-jeaned-and-hoodied types cleaning up nice in suits, slacks, and cocktail frocks for the big event.
And while many fans originally seduced by the languid, swooningly romantic grooves of Air’s Moon Safari more than a decade ago have griped about the post-modern frostiness of the duo’s subsequent recordings, on Sunday night Air’s post-Safari comedown songs, like “Don’t Be Light” and “Alpha Beta Gaga,” were filled with all the warm-blooded sensuality of that snogging-session soundtrack’s sexiest, slinkiest moments.
But of course, it was the classic cuts from Air’s landmark 1998 makeout album that really sent the Disney Hall audience over the moon.