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Michel Polnareff, still in the running-in phase

A few hours before going on stage, Michel Polnareff engaged in the rare exercise of the press conference in order to give some details on the content of his show.

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Michel Polnareff, still in the running-in phase

A few hours before going on stage, Michel Polnareff engaged in the rare exercise of the press conference in order to give some details on the content of his show. Accompanied by Danyellah, the man, relaxed, was delighted to present his musicians. Britons recruited in London by his manager Serge Khalifa, whom he met a week earlier for rehearsals for the show. “They are exceptional, and they play like a real band. Their energy reminds me of my debut in London,” explained the singer, visibly happy to be back on stage, more than six years after his concert. With a new producer – the very experienced Pierre-Alexandre Vertadier, from Décibels Productions – and brand new accompanists too, Michel Polnareff intended to stand out from the disappointing 2016 tour, and the intervention of American virtuosos who played a little too much for themselves. If he explained that he had prepared a repertoire of 18 songs, Michel Polnareff specified that he had not yet sung any of them in rehearsal.

Large stage, central piano, musicians arranged at the four corners, the scenography is beautiful and elegant. Accompanied by two keyboardists, a drummer, a bassist and a guitarist, Michel Polnareff lets himself be carried away by the arrangements of the orchestra. Danyellah is seated near him, on the edge of the piano, in a posture reminiscent of images of Yoko Ono with John Lennon at the end of the Beatles. After a start on the funk shores with an instrumental version of Kama Sutra, which disconcerts an audience who has come to hear the hits, the singer recounts his joy at being there. “I know, I promised acoustics,” he says before putting the musicians outside to deliver a short piano/voice set. Âme câline warms up the atmosphere, just like Holidays, before the return of the musicians, which it presents. Michel Polnareff relies a lot on them, to the point of playing the piano very little, and singing very little too. Instead of the twirling melodies that made his reputation, he uses a way of speaking-singing that suits him less well than Serge Gainsbourg. The hits parade, with an emphasis placed on those of the 1980s, such as the delirious Tam Tam, or L'amour avec toi with its deliciously sixties orchestration. Too bad it's interrupted by the singer, who complains that he can't hear himself. We fear for a moment that he leaves the stage. A few titles later, a connection problem will spoil Under what star was I born, pearl of his repertoire. Too often we have the impression of attending a rehearsal, even if it is of course a first performance and we imagine that the show will become more fluid after five concerts.

The accompanists give the best of their vocal harmonies on Who killed grandma, always a highlight of Polnareff's concerts for 16 years. The hits parade: The doll, of course, Everything for my darling too, In the street. Surprise, the group plays the theme of Delusions of Grandeur while the credits of the film scroll on the screens. "Are you ready for a little square dance?" then launches the star to the crowd, before trying There's only one hair on Mathieu's head, and his false start. “We are in what tone, I don't know anymore”, launches the boss to his employees who do not speak a word of French. An angel passes. The song is like a joke that lasts a bit too long. This does not spoil Radio, more spoken than sung, Le bal des Laze, We will all go to paradise and Goodbye Marylou, which closes the concert after an hour and a half of music.

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