Rocking it with Johnny Hallyday

Summertime on the Côte d’Azur!

Rosé wine.  Apéro on the terrace. Ice cream or gelato. And temperatures over 30°C.  So, what prompted me and D to wait (a really, really, really long time) with 9,000 other like-minded crazy Niçois in the AC-free Palais Nikaia?

We were waiting for the one and only Johnny Hallyday.

I don’t know much about this French rock ‘n roll idol.  I do know that his fan base covers most walks of life and pretty much all generations. As for his music, I classify it as old school rock — Elvis Presley is the biggest influence to his music — and I don’t think I’m off the mark.

D was a big fan and had never seen Johnny Hallyday perform live.  So last year, when we heard that Johnny would be performing in Nice, we bought tickets.

Johnny is old enough to be my father but like Mick Jagger he can still rock it out. I’m familiar with several of his songs, which generally are the more popular ones:  “Croire en l’homme” (listen to the song below), “Gabrielle” and “Allumer le feu“.  Hearing them live, with die-hard fans singing along was a great experience.  But I admit that I’m really drawn to his love songs, like “Que je t’aime” and “Oh Marie” which blend the sweetness of a ballad with the edge that defines Johnny’s voice.


As for the show itself Johnny worked the stage.  He had a few technical issues — having to change his ear piece two times mid-performance plus dealing with a mic that broke during an stage-floor grinding session — Johnny was a pro.  The fact that the AC wasn’t working/was non-existent didn’t stop slow him down either. Whereas I was melting like ice cream on a hot pavement Johnny just kept dishing it out!

And here’s something I’ve never experienced at a concert before: bringing a meal instead of buying at the concession stands.  I thought D had lost his mind when he said we’d be packing our dinner — try doing that in Canada — but it was the norm I guess. In fact, one family actually brought a cooler.

At the end of the night I turned to D, who had a big smile on his face, and told him it was totally worth it. Sure, we had to wait for what seemed an eternity and it was as hot as Hades in the arena, but it was a lot of fun.

Rock on!

PS: The girl heard screaming in the video is not me.

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Categories: concerts, Johnny Hallyday, Nice, Palais Nikaia

Author:Tanya in Transition

I am a woman in transition. I left my job of 13 years to find happiness and self-fulfillment...in France!

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8 Comments on “Rocking it with Johnny Hallyday”

  1. July 11, 2012 at 4:15 PM #

    There is a guy that lives here in The LPV, he’s about 28, and he has a tattoo of Johnny Hallyday on his arm. True story.

    • July 11, 2012 at 4:33 PM #

      I believe you. He could have been the same guy we saw at the concert. He really must be a big Johnny Hallyday fan.

  2. Tricia
    July 14, 2012 at 8:45 PM #

    Wow, so Johnny Hallyday is still rocking eh? I know to the French he is their equivalent of Elvis. But the main part of your post is that it was over 30C !!!!!!!!!! I live in England – need I say more? I have almost forgotton what dry hot weather feels like – send some over Tanya – we need drying out fast – before the Olymics start.

    • July 15, 2012 at 5:26 PM #

      He is still rocking.
      Yes, in the south-east corner of France the weather has been spot on. We haven’t had many grey skies and next to no rain. Paris is suffering the same fate as England. I’m with you; I hope the weather gets hotter and drier before the Games — see how I avoided typing ‘Olympics’ ? — begin.

  3. Tricia
    July 14, 2012 at 8:47 PM #

    Sorry that should have read OLYMPICS – the incessant rain has made my hands soggy.

  4. August 3, 2012 at 4:38 PM #

    No disrespect to Monsieur Hallyday but when I want to listen to old French men rocking out I choose Jacques Dutronc. Oh well. A chacun son gout…. But you really should give Jacques a try. This song is my fav:

    • August 5, 2012 at 6:53 PM #

      Ah, Jacques Dutronc. Yes, I like him too and this is one of my favourites. Speaking of Dutronc, do you know Thomas Dutronc, his son? Same voice. You really should give Thomas a try8

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