Guestposter Mark, who met LGS when she sang in London in May, remains stunned by her:
La Grande Sophie has nearly completed her magnificent ‘Place du Fantôme’ tour of 125 venues which she began in February 2012. Just two more to come: Vence on 19 July and Erbalunga, Corsica on 9 August. In all that time she has never cancelled a concert due to illness, weather or technical problems, and only once (outdoors at Brussels this summer) been held up by a serious power failure.
While the Rolling Stones performed to 100,000 people at Glastonbury, most saw them only in the distance or on a screen, LGS has reached 100,000 over 1½ years in small venues and at festivals big and small. And you can see her close-up, and meet her.
It seems right to mark LGS’s achievement on her 44th birthday. She was born on 18 July 1969, the year when Françoise Hardy, to whom for some of us she is a true successor, ceased live concerts at just 25. LGS by contrast loves live performance, which she has made an art form in itself and is having a ‘fabulous forties’.
We can now really see how LGS works her magic, in close-up at her ‘concert ultra privé’ in Paris in November last year.
Her highly skilled band is all here – Ludovic Bruni (bass guitar and double bass), Vincent Taurelle (keyboards), Phillippe Almosnino (lead guitar), and Emiliano Turi (drums). In 2013 Mathieu Denis has replaced Ludovic.
If you think La Grande Sophie makes high-class popular music look easy, remember that ‘20,000 hours of practice’ is what we are told takes an artiste to the top. And she has been writing and singing for over 20 years. No wonder that few can match her stage skills.
The 16-minute film includes ‘Sucrer les fraises’, ‘Du courage’, ‘Ne m’oublie pas’, and ‘Je ne changerai jamais’ and a ‘descente dans la salle’ at the end.
Françoise Hardy’s own appreciation of LGS came at last, a few months ago, in an unexpected contribution to LGS’s ‘Thé ou café’ appearance on France2 TV.
The full LGS interview on ‘Thé ou café’ on 27 April is here
For the latest LGS innovation, singing with the Orchestra of Radio-France at the Paris fête de la musique on 22 June, see ‘Sucrer les fraises’ here . She wrote on her facebook how much she enjoyed singing at the inaugural outdoor concert at this year’s Francofolies de Montréal and that she liked this photo (shown on the left) taken by her drummer. A career highlight perhaps, achieving a dream of performing to a huge crowd in a great North American city like her anglophone rock model Chrissie Hynde.
Sophie will soon be out of sight composing a new album. We can hope for even better to come.