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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Jane Birkin’s voice dazzles the Grec despite her physical limitations

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Artist Jane Birkin and her daughter, film director Charlotte Gainsbourg, at the presentation of ‘Jane Par Charlotte’ at the 74th Cannes Film Festival in July 2021.Lionel Hahn (Getty Images)

Jane Birkin returned to the Grec two decades after this memorable event arabesque, is still remembered by many. He came back with a new album under his arm with no Serge Gainsbourg songs. He also returned after overcoming some illnesses that had undoubtedly reduced his physical potential. There was some uncertainty in the air as to what might happen throughout the evening. Despite these legitimate doubts, some 1,500 people (once again youth and even early maturity conspicuous by their absence) gathered at the Montjuïc Amphitheater, judging from what had been seen more to remember than to enjoy the new songs.

After a musical nod to the generation that filled the stands and was even applauded by some, Jane Birkin appeared in the dark with an anti-diva attitude. Oversized men’s jacket, sports shoes, with a slow and unsteady step he reached the stool set up in the middle of the stage, supported himself on it with his left hand and started precisely Jane Bthe theme that marked his first album with Gainsbourg in the distant ’69s, that erotic year, remember?

The audience remembered it clearly, but the singer seemed insecure, and her voice also didn’t reverberate with excessive force. After introducing his musicians and saying a few words in unintelligible Spanish even though he had the heel on the teleprompter, he took on a few songs from his new album and his voice began to shine again, although he hardly moved or moved away from stool security. A change that reached its full climax when he recovered little-known songs by Gainsbourg.

Birkin recalled recording a now mythical album together in 1971 and rediscovering four of the songs Melody Nelson protected by a great quartet that really puts us in the seventies and causes a clash between our senses. Our gaze, cliche though it sounds, saw the relentless passage of time. But if we closed our eyes we didn’t go as far as that erotic year, nor should we exaggerate, but we found again that Birkin of bygone daydreams who, with a voice not too flashy or polite, was capable of suggesting a thousand things with one single word and of the one thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine have changed you forever.

They tracked a couple of songs from his new album that the public didn’t know about. One of them in English, something unusual in his repertoire despite being born on this island. Immediately the volcano erupted again Ballad by Johnny Jane. And from there Les lingerie chics, Baby alone in Babyone, Sixties ex-fan, Di Doo Dah. With her eyes closed, the Birkin was bold, provocative and terribly sensual again, perhaps less of a bad girl than before, although her words continued to suggest those thousand forbidden emotions, a result of both her interpretation and the beauty of her ex. Partner’s songs.

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He ended this journey into a past that might not have been so past by returning to his latest album and lowering the tone of the evening. Almost an hour and a half had passed and the singer was smiling despite not being in her best physical condition. And the audience stood and applauded as she made emotional gestures. The logical sequence of encores followed, culminating in a solo performance with his lovable pianist pourquoi? from that last original album fourteen years ago. And that’s how the evening would have ended if the audience hadn’t been really enthusiastic. And the Birkin returned with a pro-European protest plan (which had previously condemned the war in Ukraine). Putain, Putain by Arno, and although his voice broke at some point, the solid and distorted musical accompaniment signed a high-end for a night that has to be called magical from what you heard rather than what you saw. Or also because, who cares, that a person who has suffered from various diseases and has limited mobility dares more than 90 minutes at a time without leaving the stage for even a moment, and in the end it blinds us all, that is like erecting a monument to him (It wouldn’t look bad in the Gardens of Grec).

With the latest notes Putain, Putain One of the mysteries that remained throughout the concert was also resolved: would the Birkin sit on the stool? No, he didn’t do it.

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