Paul McCartney at the Paris La Défense Arena

The legendary Paul McCartney was playing the Paris La Défense Arena, formerly known as the U Arena – the largest concert hall in Europe, which hosted the Rolling Stones concerts in 2017 and Roger Waters gigs last June.

The Beatles were the 1st pop/rock band I listened to as a teenager, starting with their album “Revolver” – I won’t mention that a song like “Taxman” is as relevant as ever today…

I had not initially planned to attend the concert, being a fan of the Beatles but not a fan of Paul’s later output – not that I don’t like it but that I don’t know it, apart from a fistful of Wings or solo songs.

I made up my mind after checking the set lists of his recent concerts in Japan, and crossing my fingers hoping I would not be disappointed, knowing that Paul was not the Beatles and that he is 76!

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Jethro Tull, 50th anniversary in Paris

Jethro Tull, with its leader and only permanent member, Ian Anderson, were celebrating the 50 years of the band in Paris, at the Salle Pleyel.

Jethro Tull’s music, which has been classified as blues rock, progressive rock, folk rock, hard rock and electronic rock, is nonetheless easy to identify with Anderson’s distinctive flute playing and singing.

It was my first live experience with them – watching videos of concerts surely does not count. Ian Anderson’s energy on stage is still clear, even though he is now 71.

In between some songs, the concert included short videos of interviews of some previous band members, friends or famous fans (Jeffrey Hammond, Mick Abrahams, Tony Iommi, Claude Nobs…) talking about the band, their favourite song or some anecdote. Anderson also introduced some songs and the different videos, with a great sense of humour.

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Peter Murphy in Paris

Peter Murphy, the former frontman of Bauhaus, was playing an acoustic set in Paris. An opportunity to see/listen to both some of his solo works (including a brilliant rendition of Never Fall Out from the excellent album Ninth) and Bauhaus repertoire (like a great Hollow Hills). Another high point was A Strange Kind of Love ending with excerpts from Bela Lugosi’s Dead!

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The Stranglers, L’Olympia, Paris, The Ruby Tour

The Stranglers were back in town 2 years after their last visit, playing the same famous Parisian venue.

As in 2012, Jet Black was not on stage – age and bad health have been taking their toll on the drummer, now in his mid 70s! – replaced by a newcomer, Jim McCaulay. This was the only difference in the line-up compared to 2012, which featured Ian Barnard on drums, and naturally Dave Greenfield (keyboards), Baz Warne (guitar and vocals) and Jean-Jacques Burnel (bass and vocals).

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Peter Hammill concert in Milan

Peter Hammill, La Salumeria della Musica, Milano, May 13 2012

I have had plans for a Peter Hammill section in my website for many years now, but it is still to be built… Fortunately, his sofasound site and a couple of great sites are updated on a rather frequent basis.

Few artists in popular music have proved so tenacious, clever, ambitious in the right way, uncompromising and unwilling to sacrifice music and texts to trade and trends.

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Peter Hammill in Paris and London, January 2010

The 1st pop/rock/jazz concert of 2010 was Peter Hammill at La Maroquinerie in Paris. Peter is not a person to arrive late – something I really appreciate – but due to our congested public transport system I was the one who was a couple minutes late and missed the 1st song, Easy to Slip Away.

I was not happy with it but quickly focused on the songs the thin man delivered with passion, anger, humour, and all the range of human feelings.

As usual with solo gigs, PH opened playing on the keyboard, performing brilliant versions of Other Old ClichésShell and Gone Ahead. This song is one of my favourite from his album Incoherence, the follower of Clutch, 2 masterpieces from the 2000s.

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