Young love, music, and joy en toute publique!
For many years a man in Paris named Vincent Moon has been producing a series of some of the most beautiful, indescribably precious recorded-in-public music videos called Take Away Shows (Concerts a Emporter). Each features an up-and coming recording artist, of any stripe or style, performing outdoors or intimately with friends, and recorded live on video by Moon.
Today, I want to discuss the Take Away Show for the hit song “1901”, by Phoenix. I was extremely torn between writing about this and about the official video for the song “Trying to Be Cool,” which bears a unique DIY style reminiscent of OK GO, and references magic tricks and art-studio techniques throughout, culminating in a fantastic, unforgettable dance scene. But I went with this video instead, because, if this is what it appears to be, it is one of the most precious and beautiful public performances recorded on video that I have ever seen. The video is shot in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, in the city of lights, historically the world capital of romance, art, and cultural refinement, and celebrates the joyous wedding of a young couple, in the presence of all their friends and family.
The video kicks off with a pair of young people dancing, and in Take Away Show’s classic style, cuts swiftly into the title, and soon we see music and performance, shot with high-resolution high contrast close-ups and a drifting, curious movement of the camera. Phoenix is serenading a pair of newlyweds on a cloudy day in Paris, and the bandleader holds up one finger as the song kicks off. Driven by a synthesized beat and strummed acoustic guitars, the song is high-energy, fun and highly literate. The camera focuses on shoes, faces, and passers-by, but all along the husband and his young wife stand still, watching as the musicians dance and play, celebrating their union. In the meantime the cameraman, presumably Moon, walks in and around the performers, drawing in pedestrians and getting nearby people to giggle and laugh with embarrassment and shy curiosity. Like many of these videos, the video is about incorporating the music into an outdoor, public environment and drawing us into the happiness and fun that impromptu public performance can create.
I was pretty obsessed with Take Away Shows throughout college, and with two in particular: one featuring Beirut, an old-world-influenced vocalist and bandleader, who sang his song “Nantes” while descending a flight of stairs in an ancient chateau, accompanied by more and more members of his band as he approached the bottom floor of the chateau. The second I loved featured the brilliant folk singer The Tallest Man on Earth, performing his song “The Gardener” in a tiny, tucked away music shop in New York called Music Inn, in Greenwich Village. I was lucky enough to visit Music Inn a couple years ago, when I was visiting my aunt in New York. The place is as charming and amazing in person as this video makes it out to be… ancient, beautiful instruments of all kinds line the walls and shelves, and when I visited, the owners were busy constructing their own customized guitars in the basement. It was an unbelievable visit and I bought an ancient capo from the 1950s there as a souvenir, “a emporter…” to keep with me and to remember them by, upon my return home to the Midwest.
This video just makes me so happy. I can not imagine a more innocent, perfect way to celebrate young love, than a day in the city of romance, with musicians, singing and celebrating the joy of their marriage. C’est bien ca que j’adore ici… L’amour en publique, l’amour en toute sa beaute!
Sorry… Got a little carried away. Enjoy y’all!