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