I have seen every Madonna tour there since The Girlie Show in 1993. Actually, except for two dates, I think I have seen every single show in the French capital since 1993.
Of course I had to be there for the Rebel Heart Tour, happy it would once again be passing at the famous Paris Bercy arena, one of the best venues.
Especially because of the French public. The French just rock in a concert. The mood is always one of the best.
I had Early Entry again, but I had to work a half day, so I only arrived in the early afternoon at the venue.
I wasn’t particularly fond of queueing again. Standing so many times in a row took its toll and I felt the atmosphere among fans to fight for the best spots got more and more stressed.
I met up with my friend Fred, and we got our numbers in the queue, #274 this time, ridiculously far in the back you could think.
We got our wrist band and the famous tour book gift… and a new friend of mine, Ricardo from Brazil, really wanted the book so bad, but could not afford it. I though… what the heck, I got eight already, I could sell it but… and gave it to him. I hope I made his day.
Considering how crazy the queueing and the entry always had been in Paris – running, screaming, kicking, jumping over tents and sleeping bags and scrambling for the top spots – this entry procedure was downright civilized, I felt.
Well, apparently not for all. People were still pushed, fell and ran for their spots. Lots of fans were unhappy, it seems.
I was thrilled though, we got to see parts of the sound check.
Madonna and her troupe were still on stage when we came in and we got to see her perform Burning up… Hiding behind huge sun glasses (!) she had one of her French dancers explain and ask everyone not to film or take pictures.
It seems she’s not comfortable without the great professional make-up she gets to wear later-on.
Well, we’re fans, and obeyed, and we didn’t take pictures. I have two, three shots of her in sunglasses just before they asked us not to take photos, but I won’t put then on.
We ended up third row at the intersection of the cross. For all the stress we avoided camping for days, this was a top spot.
Now on to the show. The French really are the noisiest crowd. They were not that much in heat before the show (we’re all not getting any younger it seems), a few attempts at la ola that never really took off, but once M is on stage, the roof blew off.
We got a special treat in the acoustic section: David, Madonna’s son, took the stage with a guitar and performed Redemption Song, a Bob Marley cover I didn’t know about. He looked a bit overwhelmed by the crowd, but did a great job and M was seemingly proud.
I was waiting for the French reaction to La vie en Rose, which had stunned me in Montréal and sent shivers down my spine with the arena raising to their feet and roaring like hell…
But then, never have expectations, right? The French made some good noise, but sorry Paris, you didn’t beat Montréal.
The bitch of the night was, of course, who else but Jean-Paul Gaultier. And the banana he won wore a tiny Gaultier top, as well.
All in all, a great evening I spent with my friend Fred.
I went on to meet some of the fans who were queueing up outside for tomorrow’s show after, but honestly, that was a bit of a let-down. For some reason, everyone there seemed stressed, unhappy about their place at tonight’s show, stressed about tomorrow… My good friend Chang was all upset about how he got treated by other fans.
Honestly, it all didn’t seem right anymore. If at the end of it all, people are just stressed, what’s the point…? I took three steps back, turned and left… and decided I won’t queue again. I want to enjoy this.
I went to eat a soup in one of the nearby Brasseries and closed my day calmly, until…
I saw a report that Madonna was performing a small surprise gig at Place de la République with a couple of fans right now – well, 20 minutes ago. Quickly checking how far I was, I decided to let it go. By the time I could get there, she undoubtedly would already have left, so again, no stress.
Some lucky fans had seen her tweet earlier and made it in time, some friends of mine arrived too late but still caught Monte Pittman, her guitarist, and sang a few songs with him.
What a crazy day.
Below are a few of the best pictures, focusing more and more on her dancers, as I feel I have already taken a picture of her in every pose and angle possible.
I have around 400 pictures, way too much for this site, I’ll upload them onto my flickr soon, and you’ll find the link at the end of this page.
Enjoy the pics, share, link… but respect my copyright. It sucks to see my pic posted on websites with someone else’s name on it.
Check out my flickr account for more pictures of Madonna’s shows.