In the beginning there was a place. More specifically, a theatre: the Bouffes du Nord. It was there, in Paris, between the Chapel and the boulevard Rochechouart, that Raphael, tall as three apples, felt his first emotions as a spectator. “There is something very beautiful in this burnt ceiling, a mysterious, almost abandoned side,” he describes. At 46 years old, following a meeting with producer Olivier Poubelle, the artist also wanted to make this mythical room vibrate. However, to settle in Les Bouffes, a simple concert is not enough. And that was good, twenty years playing in the Zenith as in smaller venues had given Raphael new desires. “Live is comfortable for me, I know how to do it. That’s something else…”
The expression is well found. “Magnetic tape” is something else, or rather something. First, a studio session where the public discovers intimate thoughts, untold anecdotes and, above all, the real soundtracks of the songs they know by heart. Thanks to Superpoze, the rising figure of electro, who accompanied Raphael on the arrangements of the show, “The wind of “Mariachi Blues”, “Caravane” and the other favorite songs of their author find a second wind. “There are interesting things on the tracks, but they get lost once you put them end to end. This time, we can perceive them. »
Between the titles he interprets with rare emotion, he listens, dialogues, and gives himself up a little
Another first, Raphael is in a tuxedo and at the piano on stage, with a “wild” practice. Well, that’s what he says… To play “properly”, he also called on the virtuoso Marc Chouarain, a pianist who has accompanied him for several tours. As well as – more surprisingly – two actors, Maxence Tual and Jean-Luc Vincent. “They have a rock energy, they know how to improvise, they are beasts of the stage. “Between the pieces, the evening comedian (they play alternately) becomes a grumpy sound engineer, acerbic critic, highly funny. We will remember in particular this reflection: “But why is your name only Raphael? You will end up in limbo wandering with the nameless, Jenifer and Jordy. Text written by Raphael himself, by the way. “You can see this guy in a lot of different ways: a madman, a prophet, a vision of my mind, a hostility between me and me… He’s the villain of the music hall, you always need one.”
Also read.Raphael: fire under grace
As a backdrop for this extraordinary performance, a wooden cabin (like in a recording studio) sits in the middle of the space, framed by the upright piano and a chandelier. Chic and cozy. The projections of the stage background screen and the play of lights serve as ambience dimmers, from disturbing to funny, from sad to lighthearted. “The scenography and lighting in the theater are richer than in concert, where it’s always a bit the same thing. I’m glad I can have this. So, for an hour and a half, Raphael plays, in both senses of the word. Between the titles he interprets with rare emotion, he listens, dialogues and, through the texts he has thought up for his songs and for his strange sidekick, gives himself up a little. Here, there is no question of making the crowd sing, nor of playing “Sur la route” on the guitar, the moment is for introspection. “It’s curious not to speak to the public, as if we were putting up a fourth wall. It’s a pretty lonely crossing. It made me white hair, this show! But I like it. And I hope he will like it. It’s good to offer demanding, barred performances… No? Do you think people are going to say to themselves: “What is this snobbish bullshit”? “For that, no risk.
“Magnetic tape”, at the Bouffes du Nord (Paris X) until March 27 and on tour.
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