She made a film in Amsterdam, but never performed. But yesterday, Vanessa Chantal Paradis conquered the Amsterdam Paradiso. As we knew she would. With 20 or so strong songs under her belt, with a stellar band (including Benjamin Biolay on keys, slide trombone, guitar and violin, plus Dutch producer/pianist Reyn Ouwehand) and her magnetic presence, VP gave a show that ranks among the strongest French performances I ever saw.
Vanessa doesn’t need fireworks or costume-changes, a simple video-wall and her red leather pants and red-and-black top were quite sufficient. And of course, her voice. Now, VP is no Aretha. But, as her live albums proved before, she can really sing. Confident in L’incendie (one the few songs she played from the masterpiece that is Divinidylle), sensual in La chanson des vieux cons (Paradiso fell silent, bar one heckler), flirty in Sunday Mondays.
The dub-reggae vibe of New Year was followed by an irey version of Joe le Taxi, ‘a song that is very special to me’, she said. One of the few ad-libs, but she did make contact with the audience (that consisted of ex-pats, 40-somethings, gays, even a father with his young daughter); high-fiving, smiling, making us sing along.
The encore ended with a festive version of one of my favourite Love Songs-tracks, the African-influenced Tu vois c’que je vois. Merci, she said, when it was over. ‘Lekker!’, Biolay tweeted, Dutch-style.
Paradis in Paradiso, ‘t was paradise.