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For Hervé Vilard, Capri is not finished: story of his return to stage in Lille, in a supercharged atmosphere

Michel Sardou has retired and Hervé Vilard returns, even if he never really left.

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For Hervé Vilard, Capri is not finished: story of his return to stage in Lille, in a supercharged atmosphere

Michel Sardou has retired and Hervé Vilard returns, even if he never really left. In recent years, the 77-year-old singer has regularly performed abroad, particularly in South America where his popularity, born 50 years ago, remains intact. He has also given, in Paris and throughout France, intimate recitals composed of texts, set to music and signed by authors and poets he has always loved, from Louis Aragon to Jean Genêt via Maurice Fanon.

Sunday April 7, in Lille, at the Théâtre Sébastopol, he reconnected with a repertoire from the 60s/70s, which allowed him to sell millions of 45s. He moved away from it two decades ago, without denying it, quite the contrary, but with the conviction that he was past the age of interpreting it. He finally changed his mind and noticed, this weekend, that his audience had not forgotten him, quite the contrary. For two and a half hours, he received a constant ovation from more than 1,300 wild fans, among whom the majority were old-timers, of course, but also young people clapping their hands and chanting his first name to the tune of the lanterns.

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In an atmosphere worthy of a Madonna concert, the spectators provided backing vocals, and even sometimes sang in her place and with one voice, Capri is over, Mediterranean or Come back. On several occasions, some did not hesitate to insult him, from the back of the room, by throwing out other titles that they absolutely wanted to hear. Controlling the situation, Hervé Vilard explained to them, with the greatest calm, that he was going to give them satisfaction, but only in part. Anxious to look resolutely towards tomorrow, he had in fact decided to devote part of the show to showcasing some of the songs he has been working on for several months, and which he has not yet recorded. Among them are May 68, Our Four Seasons and above all Y'a pas deux minutes, of which he is convinced of the immense potential.

Anxious to prepare the next generation, he also innovated by welcoming, during the show, three young artists whom he discovered and for whom he predicts a brilliant future. Ussar, Maud Lubeck and Abel Cheret paid tribute to him by performing one of his songs before offering a title from their repertoire.

A moment of almost religious calm before a finale, where two spectators dressed in a black t-shirt on which appeared the name of their idol jumped on stage and crossed the stage dancing, thumbs up, under the stunned gaze of Hervé Vilard. The reminders were disproportionate to the event. Back backstage, he did not hide his satisfaction, but also his surprise. He had not imagined such an enthusiastic welcome and such madness. He even questioned himself at length before giving the green light to the producer who had offered him this test evening. With what he calls “a taste for high standards”, he began by verifying that vocally he would be capable of it before beginning several weeks of rehearsals with his musicians and a technical team who have remained faithful to him for 40 years. years. Last July, for an evening at the Francofolies that he imagined would be unique, he also worked a lot.

The result obtained on Sunday is so convincing that a series of concerts, on the same principle, is now scheduled, starting in September, in other cities in France. He is also considering a return to Paris, at the Bouffes du Nord. However, this will not be a farewell tour. As long as his health, which is excellent, allows him, he will continue his journey, at his own pace and in his own way. Dalida once whispered in his ear: “stay who you are.” He followed her advice. “I have always been a free man, and I remain so,” he says.

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