I arrived late to the concert under the false impression that there would be a support act, but Christophe didn’t want to make it linger and chose his lastest album Aimer ce que nous sommes as prelude to the older and better known part of his répertoire. The absence of a support band was already an indication of the conciseness of a concert which, although in no way rushed or hasty, had its two encores performed without the artist leaving the stage.
I entered the concert hall 10 minutes before the break, with Christophe performing Tonight Tonight from his new album, a French variété rarity in a record marked rather by sound and sensations than by tune or melody. I am therefore unable to judge the first part of the concert. In principle it must be hard to transfer an album like Aimer… into a live performance on stage. Christophe famously works almost exclusively by night on the computer, trying to capture the sounds of the night as he feels them through the big windows of his Parisian apartment looking onto the city streets. The kaleidoscopic picture of the record sleeve announces the essence of the record, a huge collage of steamy and nighty sounds and sensations. A devoted follower of cinema, most notably of David Lynch’s films, Christoph’s only exploration of film territory goes back to the soundtrack of Georges Lautner’s 1967 La Route de Salina. The influence of the cinematographic language, however, has never been so blatantly present in Christoph’s work than on this album. From the introductory words, whispered by Isabelle Adjani, to the final credits of collaborations, spoken by Daniel Filipacchi, this could be the soundtrack of a film by his admired David Lynch.
During the break I was thrilled to spot among the crowd, obligingly observing the very local jeton-bière ceremony, Belgian electro pop diva Els Pynoo from Vive la Fête. I approached her (see picture) to congratulate her on the fantastic concert her band had given in the same hall some weeks before, in which dozens of followers literally flooded the stage in the climatic finale of the performance.
After this celebrity moment we went back to the hall for the second part of the concert, in which Christoph proved his ability to revisit his old classics with a new sound. Surrounded by a band of excellent musicians, with the piano man a standout, and by his juke box, Chritophe delighted the crowd with a nostalgic lineup including my personal favorite Les Marionettes, the beautiful Les Mots Bleus and the unavoidable Aline, the song he will always be identified with.
Here’s the original video of the tube Les Marionettes.