Electronic pioneers Air delight fans by playing seminal album in full

French electronic pioneers Air have delighted the crowds in Southampton city centre as they celebrated the more than 25 years since the release of their groundbreaking album Moon Safari.

The duo from Versailles, near Paris, won a Grammy award for best electronic/dance album when they released the 10-track album in 1998.

Air performing in Southampton city centre
French electronic pioneers Air have played in Southampton city centre (Ben Mitchell/PA)

Now Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel have performed the album in its entirety during the Southampton Summer Sessions series of outdoor concerts next to the Hampshire city’s Guildhall.

Dressed in white, the French duo were all smiles as they were greeted with cheers from the audience as they went straight into playing the album from start to finish.

Although known for its ambient vibe, playing live, Air got the crowd dancing with the crisp synthesiser sounds and drums of hits such as Kelly Watch The Stars and Sexy Boy.

To the side of the stage, a signer for audience members with hearing difficulties earned her own fan club among the crowd for her enthusiastic dancing.

After finishing the final track, Penelope, the band took their bows before coming back on stage through a cloud of dry ice and pulsing red lights.

They then launched into a selection from their other albums including Venus, Cherry Blossom Girl and Run from Talkie Walkie, which itself is 20 years old this year as well as Don’t Be Light from Everybody Hertz which broke the rhythm of the evening to end the set with its rave tempo beats.

Air performing in Southampton city centre
Air played their 25-year-old album Moon Safari in full (Ben Mitchell/PA)

The band then returned to the stage for an encore which included Alone In Kyoto, the final track of Talkie Walkie and Electronic Performers from 10,000hz Legend.

Speaking ahead of the tour commemorating the classic album which has been heralded for bringing in an era of chill-out and downtempo music by inspiring others with its spatial soundscapes and impeccable production, Godin told Time Out magazine the album’s success had changed his life, although he knew it would be a hit because of the “energy” in the studio as it was being recorded.

He said they had been inspired by the “nostalgia of childhood” when creating it but its success had ironically ended their own innocence as they were thrown into the limelight.

Godin added that for several years they would not play the album’s songs live in the same way as they were recorded as he searched for “new experiences” only later to resort to the original arrangements as he came to accept the way they were originally presented.

He added: “When I made Moon Safari, I wanted to build something timeless. And now, over 20 years later, you have that answer. Because it’s still refreshing, it has proven to be truly timeless.”

The TK Maxx presents Southampton Summer Sessions continue with Paloma Faith on Friday, June 28, Loyle Carner on Saturday before finishing with Kaiser Chiefs on Sunday.