Tiersen without Tiersen
17 April 2009
We went to see Yann Tiersen in New York yesterday night.
Nine hours of bus for a major disappointment. The concert was very, very, very bad. Apparently Tiersen, a master of moody, intimate and subtly minimalistic acoustic melodies, decided to go electric and more rock'n'roll, or whatever passes for rock these days. I understand that artists want to reinvent themselves and are bored with always playing the same things, but please do not do that during a tour in a faraway country where, obviously, people will see you for the first time, and essentially want to hear what you are famous for.
I'm not even against being loud and electric. I love the Ramones for example, and other punk bands. What I don't like is when people forget about melody.
With the exception of his "Sur le Fil" amazingly wild violin solo and maybe one song with a Gretsch-looking semi-acoustic guitar, the concert, for me, was a disaster. The female singer could not be heard at all, all subtlety was lost in the sound of saturated guitars. Most of the songs were made into a simple crescendo, ending very loud in a guitar strumming frenzy that I thought even high-school bands didn't do anymore, and then stopping abruptly. I love Yann Tiersen music because it's all about melody, not volume. Also, having all six musicians sing at the same time obviously destroys the intimate side of songs and lyrics (which I couldn't hear anyway).
A contrarian point of view was brought in by Miss C., who was not thrilled but nevertheless liked the concert. The difference is that she saw Tiersen in concert three times before in France, doing his typical acoustic style, and it was the first time she saw him with an electric guitar in hands. So, for her, the loud and dirty rock'n'roll style was something new. But I wonder if she can be objective : she is from Brittany, and yesterday night there were some people screaming "Vive la Bretagne !" during the set, and even a black and white flag from the region right in from of the stage.
That is genuinely funny to hear that sort of franco-french babble in New York City, of course. But anyway, the Languedoc flag is much more beautiful.