Vanessa Paradis, Koko, London
Tuesday 08 February 2011
The arrival of Vanessa Paradis, partner of Johnny Depp, actress, model and face of Chanel, in Camden Town is an event. As a singer, she's still best known for the 1987 hit "Joe le Taxi", so this was a rare chance to see her music live. The concert was pretty much a run-through of last Christmas's French-only CD Une Nuit à Versailles, a live, orchestrated, acoustic-leaning recasting of her back catalogue. Despite issuing ten albums since 1988, Paradis's oeuvre is slim – one is a "Best of" and four are live sets.
Still, that didn't concern the mostly-French crowd. In fact, the presence of Paradis herself didn't seem to bother them either – there was a constant hum of chat. It was probably enough being here.
In the flesh, her voice retains the pipsqueak cutesiness of "Joe le Taxi", which she recorded at age 14. The delicate "Pourtant" and "Que Fait la Vie" were lovely and lent themselves well to the string quartet arrangements. A downbeat reworking of "Joe le Taxi" and a sensitive reading of Françoise Hardy's "Le Temps de l'Amour" charmed, while the percussion intro of "Dans Mon Café" cleverly referenced her old collaborator Serge Gainsbourg's "Couleur Café".
Announcing that "I'm going to touch an untouchable song", it seemed as though she might spring a surprise. But no, it was yet another leaden trudge through Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World" was flat, and any atmosphere she had created was somewhat diminished. When not perched on a stool, she moved as though choreographed, swaying to a set pattern. With her trademark Chanel red lipstick, Paradis was like a marionette, unspontaneous and brittle. It's possibly better to stick with the records, see her in pictures or on a screen. That may be about as real as she gets.
Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigourfilm
Bannatyne leaves Dragon's DenTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’