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.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Greek debt crisis: Yanis Varoufakis's funniest (and most memorable) quotes
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
Wireless 2015: Nicki Minaj 2 hours late to main stage due to 'travel issues'
Chronixx interview: Reggae sensation on taking the opening spot at Glastonbury and calling Barack Obama a 'waste man'
Game of Thrones season 6: Director Jack Bender hints showrunners 'communicate closely' with George RR Martin
Amy: Mark Ronson praises 'respectful' Amy Winehouse film as it scores the highest ever UK opening for a British documentary
Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts