January 18, 2006

Not always DVDs - MYLENE FARMER live in Paris

Mylène Farmer - Live at the Paris Bercy arena, 2006

This weekend I was in Paris to see Mylène Farmer in concert. I’ve been describing her to friends as “France’s answer to Madonna”, but that’s doing Mylène a disservice. She’s been releasing successful albums and singles for twenty years now. Her music varies between dance, rock and melancholy pop. She sings about love and death, heavily influenced by gothic and romantic literature. Her videos are spectacular, liberated and often as controversial as her lyrics. She is reclusive and doesn’t grant many interviews. Her stage appearances are rare, the last was in 1999.

Oh yes, and it’s all in French, which I don’t speak much of. But I love her music, her videos and her attitude.

I saw Mylène at the Paris Bercy arena on January 14th, 2006, (having booked a ticket early in 2005). The atmosphere before the show was anticipatory to say the least. The papers reported that the first fans arrived 12 hours before the doors opened. Mylène arrived on stage in spectacular style that symbolised her re-emergence from self-imposed exile. Lowered from the arena roof in a white sarcophagus, she was carried to the temple-like stage by men in black.

The set transformed throughout the evening and was constantly textured by images projected onto the backdrops and from under the immense catwalk. For anyone the show would be extremely entertaining, for fans it was an absolute treat. The dramatic staging of her final number was haunting and unforgettably magnéfique.

She performed songs ranging from her earliest hits, like Libertine, to her latest, F**k Them All. These were presented variously as high-tech lightshows, flamenco dance routines or just straightforward rocking out. As a centrepiece to the evening, she sang some of her most heart-rending lyrics accompanied only by piano. Dressed in her trademark black lingerie, with her red hair coiffed like a candle’s flame, she was repeatedly reduced to tears. But whenever she stopped singing, the audience would carry on for her. For such a large venue, the event had many intimate moments.

Besides the thirteen dates in January, there may be extra shows in May. But they can only be held at this Paris venue because it’s simply too large to tour. Thankfully the early performances have been filmed for an upcoming DVD release.



  1. I have to agree with you. My wife and I stayed the weekend in Paris and saw her concert on the night of the 21st. Brilliant. Despite the language difference why is she so little known in the UK? No one that I have talked to has heard of her yet when they hear her music they enthuse ... but none of this compares with seeing her live.

  2. One more British Mylene fan here - I went with my wife Pat on the 29th, the last of the concerts, and it was excellent.

    Super scenery, great selection of old and new songs, excellent singing from Mylene, very good band and dancers. One of the best concerts I've been to.

    Mylene Farmer is too good to be unknown in the English-speaking world - she is very talented and the music is good too, but sadly we just don't go for foreign-language music, except the occasional novelty like Joe le Taxi!

    I'm really looking forward to the DVD!

  3. I attended her concert on the 27th.
    My hotel room overlooked the side of the Palais Omnisports & was amazed to see so many of her devoted French fans camping out 24 hours before the concert enduring sub zero temperatures to get the best places in the stalls!

    I've been a fan since the mid 80's - first listening into the French charts on Sunday afternoons on RTL (still on Longwave).

    Satellite TV has since made life a lot easier - thanks to MCM and M6!

    But nothing can compare with seeing her performing live at such an impressive venue.

    The show was spectacular and rather emotional. The final performance - Avant que l'ombre -will remain a very fond memory.

    I look forward to re-living it all again when the DVD is available.

    For some reason I thought this was going to be her final tour but perhaps that is down to my dodgy command of French! See you there in May?

  4. I attended the concert on the 21st Jan booked almost a year prior for my Birthday. I couldn't have asked for a better present! Can't wait for the DVD.

  5. And yet another British Mylene fan... I went to the Bercy 2006 concert as well! It must have been the best experience I've can recollect apart from being born! lol :)

  6. For all the English speaking Mylene Farmer fans, check out, http://libnet.wuggleworld.com - one of the few English websites about Mylene Farmer.