Saturday, November 12, 2016

Les Insus? (Téléphone) @ Le Zénith, Paris - November 12th, 2016

If you're not French you can be forgiven for not knowing who these people are and why their reunion is such a big deal. But if you lived in France anytime in the past forty years then chances are you've heard their songs at parties, in bars, on the radio or in television commercials.

Telephone was the biggest and best Gallic rock and roll band. They were dubbed "the French Rolling Stones" by the rock press, and while that might be too high a praise they left an indelible mark on the local musical landscape thanks to their many hits like Cendrillon, Un Autre Monde, New York Avec Toi, Hygiaphone, Crache Ton Venin and the immortal Ça (cest vraiment too).

After thirty years apart, three out of four members decided to put the band back together to promote their new Greatest Hits record. Financial and romantic disputes excluded original bass player Corine  Marienneau and the the guys had to change the band's name to an untranslatable pun for legal reasons. But make no mistake, this is Téléphone.

I was never a huge fan of theirs (or French rock in general) but those songs are such a part of my youth that it was impossible not to sing along and dance. The many (many!) beers helped, too. 

The band was fantastic, with more energy than most bands half their age. I didn't realise lead singer Jean-Louis Aubert took so many guitar leads in the band, but guitar hero Louis Bertignac was the one who ripped it up the most. Richard Kolinka is a maniac  on the drums, and their enthusiasm was contagious.

In the afternoon before the concert they announced one last show at the Stade de France (with a capacity of 80 000 people!) after which they have stated that they will most likely put the band to rest. If that really happens then this tour was great swan song for the band, a perfect bookend to a wonderful story between them and the fans, some of which (including yours truly) were finally able to see the band live.

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