Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Francofolies: A Tribute to Edith Piaf

Outside the Beacon Theatre
Besides the dishes on my favorite brasserie or bistro menu, I don't speak a lick of French. That didn't deter me though from joining French expatriates and Francophiles for the filmed concert tribute to Edith Piaf (1915 - 1963) last week at the Beacon Theatre. 

Enchanted by the petite chanteuse, especially after the 2007 biopic La Vie en Rose, I had to see the show, even though I was not familiar with the lineup of French artists. I did however know the small lineup of Anglo/American artists...Harry Connick Jr....Duffy...and boy do I know Angelique Kidjo. 

After finally entering the theater at snail pace, I made my way to my seat and waited another 30 minutes for the show to finally begin. Early in the evening, Harry Connick Jr performed, but I was not at all impressed since absolutely nothing was memorable about his stiff performance of Edith Piaf's most memorable song - La Vie En Rose. It almost seemed like he just showed up for a paycheck. Needless to say, he was not around at the end of the show for the ensemble performance. 

Oh oh, I wondered...did I make a mistake purchasing this ticket and trekking to the UWS. Being the committed theatergoer that I am, I continued on...

Between some 20 or so performers, there was captivating footage of Piaf, including her appearances on the Ed Sullivan show and her time with boxer husband Marcel Cerdan. 

Christophe Willem, who surprisingly is the winner of some French pop idol show, tore down the house when he sang Mon Dieu. I could not help but shout "bravo" from the loge. And the evening seemed extra special when composer and Piaf collaborator Charles Dumont performed.

In the end, I had a good evening; the thing with tributes though is that they never quite live up to the person being honored. Throughout the evening, I could not help but yearn to see the real see Edith Piaf...but that will never be...   

Nolwenn Leroy & Zaz—"La foule"
Harry Connick Jr.—"La vie en rose"
Olivia Ruiz—"Milord"
Madeleine Peyroux—"Padam Padam"
Jean Louis Aubert—"Je t’ai dans la peau"
Duffy—"Hymn to Love"
Christophe Willem—"Mon Dieu"
Nolwenn Leroy—"Je ne regrette rien"
Coeur de Pirate—"Mon manege a moi"
Zaz—"Dans ma rue"
Beth Ditto—"L’homme a la moto"
Elodie Frege—"Les amants d’un jour"
Patrick Fiori—"L’accordeoniste"
Charles Dumont—"Les amants"
Charles Dumont -- "Les flonflons"
Alex Hepburn—"Jezebel"
Emmanuel Moire—"Sous le ciel de Paris"
Patricia Kaas—"La belle histoire d’amour"
Camelia Jordana—"L’hymne a l’amour"
Angelique Kidjo—"Johnny tu n’es pas un ange"
Ensemble—"La vie en rose"

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