The 24 and 25 August was held in Paris (Parc de St Cloud) the 4th Festival "Rock en Seine". This year Radiohead was the last big show, and it was sold out in two days to see the second and last concert of the year given by the British group. Here's my little summary ...
The shows I saw:
Dirty Pretty Things
Taking Back Sunday
As always, it was a good show. From the 2nd song, they played Popular to awaken the public, if not already done so. Most of the songs was from their last two albums, ending with Blankest Year on which they invited the 2 trumpet players from Calexico.
IMO this was the biggest show of the day. As a reminder, The Raconteurs is composed of 5 musicians from different groups. Both leaders and composers in the group are Brendan Benson, multi-instrumentalists and great composers, he has done 3 great albums under his name, and Jack White, leader of White Stripes, the well-known English group. And the Jack's charisma combined with the virtuosity of Brendan, it's something just hypnotic. What a concert! A great performance! All the songs from their album took great shape on stage. it was powerful with a mastery rarely seen live. In addition to this, they have worked a lot on the transitions and show between the songs. To sum up, it was simply impressive.
A word on Morrissey, the "old" English singer absolutely unknown in France. I think he can be compared to our Johnny Halliday but with a funny English humor. "Here is another of my singles never released in France". That's how he announced its songs. Finally, I think he was happy to sing in France in front of so many.
Taking Back Sunday
A US Punk-rock band unknown in France. They have done 3 albums, the last one came out last spring. And, I'm a fan! I waited impatiently to see what it looks on stage because they seems so crazy on their videos. And I wasn't disappointed. To sum-up the performance, I can say that it's the band with the "flying micro". Indeed, the singer has a huge tendency to swing his microphone in all directions and catch it up just in time to sing. It's pretty fun to see, and crazy enough to have impressed a lot of people. Apart from that, they mostly sang songs from the last album. Unfortunately, the singer's microphone was not really well balanced, so it was hard to hear clearly the singer.
Phoenix was at home! And it was great! The live version of each songs was very different from the album version. They have been rearranged to fit with a more rock concert. Run Run Run for example was played with agressive guitars. It was the most enchanting show with the Raconteurs. At on the last song, the singer jump in the audience for an exciting walkabout.
With Beck we were in another world. Each time you see him, you can't believe he can do a better show than the previous one. And he did it! Proof is in the puppet of each musician of the band imitating the real band in the background of the stage.
At one time, one the th puppets grabbed a camera to film the band for a song. The "Puppet Cam" was broadcast on giant screens, and it was fun to see. Then came the moment where Beck played quieter songs alone on guitar (including Lost Cause). His musicians then settled around a table on the side of the stage to break the crust. On the next song they started to make the persussion with forks and spoons on plates and glasses. Huge! During these 5 minutes, the audience follow the flow by clapping.
A few songs later, they left the scene. Everyone thought it was over until a "documentary" video was launched on the giant screens. We could follow the puppets to tourists in Paris and raving in the dressing rooms of the festival to end up in the Radiohead room to rampage it all. As soon as the video finished the group came on stage with two musicians dressed as bears (maybe Beck, I have not really seen). It was short and noisy, but too short to understand why this madness with the bears. But they have done a mess on stage. In short, Beck was great!
No need to lie, everyone came to see Radiohead, and although been quite far from the scene, I was packed as ever. Under these conditions, it was really difficult to enjoy the show. However, it was nice. They played songs from the last 3 albums and three new songs from the forthcoming album. As usual, the singer's voice gave to the songs a real sincerity. It was good Radiohead, neither more nor less.