Air @ Esplanade Theatre, 27 May 2017
An amazing thing happened during the Air concert. During ‘Alpha Beta Gaga’, I looked behind and saw a guy who was standing and throwing his arms up urging others to stand. S and I sprang to our feet and grooved to the music, as people around us started to stand. It was an amazingly rousing version which blew me away. The drums were unbelievable and the song positively galloped, the whistles more infectious and urgent. I was expecting a passive, sit-down affair and for the most part it was – I had spent the whole show up until that moment bopping in my seat. The concert got off to a slow start with ‘Venus’ but picked up as they played well-known songs like ‘Cherry Blossom Girl’, ‘Remember’ and ‘Playground Love’. The songs were familiar but sounded different; more energetic and fresh.
I had seen Air at Primavera Sound last year and the two gigs couldn’t be more different. It was at a big outdoor stage, their music disappeared into the air and I was too far away to hear it properly or feel much of a connection. I felt bored and kept thinking they would have sounded better in an indoor venue. Seeing them at the Esplanade Theatre, I was reminded of their festival set and was glad I decided to see them a second time. The visuals were great: there were geometric patterns, colour blocks, shapes that shifted and bubbled. They ended with ‘La Femme d’Argent’ and there were a couple of people in front headbanging. There are lots of bands I can imagine headbanging to and Air isn’t one of them, but it happened. How awesome is that?