When I was a student in Paris, one of my favorite singers was Véronique Sanson. I listened endlessly to my vinyl copy of Amoureuse, still my favorite album by her. She has a throaty style and vibrato that are all her own. I didn’t realize that she is such a music icon, but I certainly know it now.
Imagine my surprise when I found out she was going to be performing in Paris at the Olympia Theater in late January/early February this year! (www.olympiahall.com) The Olympia is a fun place to go hear music because it only holds about 1,200 people, so you are never too far from the stage. As you can see from the marquee, the opening act was Chris Stills, who is her son. It turns out she was married to Stephen Stills, of Crosby, Stills and Nash, for about ten years, and lived in California. This tour, in fact, is called “Les Années Américanes”, the American Years, so the music is from that time in her life. She is a prolific song writer as well as singer. Apparently, she had some rough years in mid-life, with alcohol and drug problems (which our waiter at the restaurant before the performance told me. I thought it was hilarious that he was such an ‘expert’ on the subject, even though he admitted that his parents had been the ones who really listened to her music). The show we went to was sold out, and she was scheduled to perform there for NINE nights! That says something about her popularity (And I just got a notice from the Olympia that they just added a couple of additional show dates in April).
She was wonderful. She was obviously very excited to be performing, and regaled the audience with stories between songs. She had tons of energy, as did her entire band, and she was so THANKFUL throughout the performance, for her band members, and for the audience’s obvious affection for her. She introduced all the band members, and some of them had played with her at the beginning of her career, but not recently. The trumpet player, Steve Madaio,for instance, had played with her in her early years, but she said that it had been thirty years since they had played together!
By the time she had played her 90 minutes of regular show, the whole audience was on its feet, and she came back for three encores. I will admit that her voice was not quite as strong as in her youth, but there were only two songs that I noticed it. She really was amazing, and we left at 11:15 totally energized! Here’s a youtube link to a couple songs to give you some idea of her style.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH6wjjw9qP0. A fun evening and a fun return to my youth!!