Sky Church EMP, Seattle - Saturday, July 07, 2001
By Cathy Sorbo
I had been familiar with and quite liked Air songs "Sexy Boy" and "Kelly, Watch the Stars!", was shown "Eating Sleeping Waiting Playing", Air's on-the-road video/documentary (featuring Roger Manning from "Moog Cookbook"), but it was the newly released "10,000 Hz Legend" that hooked me.
This was the CD that I would listen to over and over, as many times as possible, before I was to see them at their recent show at EMP's Sky Church.
This lofty venue boasts an 85-foot high ceiling with enormous suspended silken blobs, resembling jellyfish, designed to circulate the air, and behind the stage looms a 42'x70' LED video panel that gives a nice light show. But the sheer cathedral-like beauty of the room, the ninety robotic lights and the fifty state of the art speakers placed throughout, went seemingly unnoticed by a capacity crowd who were captivated by the real offering of the night: Air.
I had never before seen an audience of so many tuned so completely into a live show, and it was refreshing to see the contorted faces and posturing of guitar rockers replaced by a team of musicians working together to produce a flawless live show.
From my limited photo pass access I was restricted to an area directly off sidestage left, a few feet away from Nicolas Godin. From my perch I would watch him work through keyboard, microphone and multiple guitars quickly and accurately, but I knew what needed to be done. I had to get through the crowd and get some shots of JB Dunckel, all the way over at stage right. Had I a better camera I could have zoomed right in on him, and his short black shiny cape, but my digital is of the fixed lens variety so I had to leave the comfort of sidestage and inch my way over. Once there I was to discover no pleasing angle for a shot, as he was obscured by racks of classic analog keyboards, so I snapped a few of bassist Jason Falkner, keyboardist James Rotundi and an accidental flash photo of drummer Brian Reitzell (which was well worth the dirty looks I was given by Mademoiselle Blonde Girl in the front row). Returning to my safety zone I was happy to stay put and watch Godin, a professional multi-tasker who felt relaxed enough to return to me a nice big smile towards the end of the set.
Air gave us most of "10,000 Hz Legend" in note-perfect precision, as well as numerous highlights from previous releases, completely enthralling the audience who I'm sure would have been quite happy if Air were to never stop playing.
"It is strange to play in a museum." Godin said between songs.
I thought it a perfect place to experience such splendid art.