New Zealand is pretty far away, so far that it’s hard to know what they’ve imagined of Paris when they arrive. It’s even more difficult to think about how their imaginations work in general. I already had an idea of what we were going to do with The Ruby Suns, which had to complement their songs. I had pondered on it for weeks; it couldn’t just be a random music interlude in a random spot of Paris. One song in particular, “Criterion”, conjured up all the sensations of springtime: the growth of the burgeoning sixties in late March; a worthy, Zombies-like chorus; a gliding harmony and percussion tributes to Brian Wilson...in short, happiness, pure and simple. Whether they came from New Zealand, Luxemburg, or Scotland didn’t matter, really. The truth was that they came from a land of beaches and barbecues, sandy hair, and old, patch-colored pickups. They were bound to engulf Paris with sunlight.
Within twenty minutes it was all there: with arms embracing melodicas, maracas, bells, drums, and a clear case, they made Vincent Moon groove all the way to the Place de la Bourse. Young and a bit timid at first, The Ruby Suns quickly gathered their courage and matched our enthusiasm. They let loose slightly less than we would have permitted, almost a little too proper in the middle of this foreign city neighborhood, which appeared dormant and unprepared for the overflow of the band’s joy.
There are, however, always moments when the bridles tear loose. Take a look at the moment in the Passage des Panoramas. The clear case was pounding loudly, and just the fact that these kids were playing like this in such a place already yanked on the tethers. As we watched them get wound up from the other end of the alley, we had the sudden urge to be taken back to age 17, to drink beer and scream like fools from the top of sand dunes. And if you think these kids hesitated when we asked them to play on the thin stretch between lanes of hurried cars and passing buses, think again. After all, they were in Paris; they took every opportunity as a chance, and we gave them free reign to do so. Who wouldn’t take advantage of such an experience? Who wouldn’t play like a fool on the beaches of New Zealand, immediately after arriving, if invited to do so?