Hi every one, I had promised you a review of the show in Paris so here it is.
The devil Pumkins are definitely back in ! Owata a crazy night it was on November 9th in Paris.
At 9PM the Zenith was crowded with nearly 5000 overexcited fans of the band urging its members to perform by shouting out loud and clapping their hands. Suddenly a black curtain fell, the lights on the psychedelic daisies in the back were turned on and the super powerful combination of Quasar and Panopticon started. That was just awesome ! To give you a hint of the atmosphere at that point -which was only the very beginning of the show-: some guys were already crowdsurfing, and plastic cups were flying in the air! Can you believe this! Then Starla began ; the oldest fans joined the group, banging their heads here and there, and an energy explosion happened on Geek USA. (God I actually loved the USA for providing us such great bands at that point). Billy's solo was incredible.
On Muzzle there were lots of vocals in the crowd, me included. You'd thought that the lives of all the Pumkins fans have been extraordinary blessed and cursed and won…
After that the show went on with a succession of cool and strong tunes (Window Paine, Lightning strikes, Soma and Siva) I really loved the Lightning strikes live version without the keyboard part that I am not really fond of on the album version. At the end of it thunder filled the air, it was easy but funny. Soma was really beautiful and Billy's voice was still there, for sure. During Siva Billy had a great stage presence, with his head going forward and backward, pointing at the audience, crossing his wrist and so on. It felt like he really wanted to get there faster.
To be honest Oceania didn't receive a welcome as warm as the other Oceania songs but it was scheduled at the right moment (at last some relief) and I happened to enjoy the kind of shoegazing parts of it. It was the most avant-garde part of the show and honestly I didn't expect to appreciate it that much.The band members seemed to be drifted away imperceptibly out of this world and time, it was a very poetic moment in the show.
With Frail and Bedazzled we were back on earth and then we had a super powerful version of Silverfuck,. The band and the crowd were so into it. I felt like Billy had plugged himself on power supply. He even sticked out is tongue out due to exhaustion at the end of it and smiled which was really cool. He tried to interact a little with the audience during the bang-bang part having the people at right side of the stage shouting "Bang-bang you're dead" whereas the left side answered "Hole in your head". I couldn’t help but get into it and once again Billy's voice impressed me, especially in the whining parts of the song.
A stupid man ruined my Pale horse moment. I told him what I had in mind and hopefully he left me appreciate the end of it. When the "Please come back" moment came I blew a kiss towards the sky for Martha of course but also for all the ones I know and love who are up there I guess. It was a very fragile moment. Then Pinwheels started and the audience gave it some credit. I personally loved the sound of the Gretsch on that tune and its efficient riff.
I wouldn't have missed Thru the eyes of Ruby played lived for anything in the whole world. This song and the way it was performed were just perfection to me. Billy and the crowd singing together "The night has come to hold us young" was a very powerful instant that just blew my mind. Exactly like the following Cherub rock which left me ecstatic.
More recent stuff for the end of the show with Owata and My love is winter. These are more groovy tunes (especially Owata) and the crowd seemed to like them as much as I did. I liked the new version of my love is winter. I'm glad I heard it live, it helped me to set my mind on which version I prefer. It's probably the next hit of the band as the crowd sang together with Billy.
For those who wonder Billy sang "Oh Chicago, look what you've done, look what what you've done to me / Oh Gay Pairee (Paris) I'm coming home, I'm coming home to you" on Owata.
For Martha closed the setlist with Mike on the mellotron which was a surprise for me. For Martha performances are always deep and emotional, it was also the case on that particular evening. At the end of it the band left the stage and there were applause, whistles and shouts for what seemed to last an eternity to me and hopefully the encore began.
Billy came back on stage and thanked us for the warm welcome, and said some nice things about the people and the city. Then he introduced the band and told us Oceania will be released on march 2012 if everything goes well (damn I hope the release date will not be postponed again, I can't wait to hold this CD in my hands). Then he told us that he used to come to the Zenith as a spectator and he remembered that particular time In 1992 when he came to see "Les Rita Mitsouko" and he was impressed by the short-sized lead-singer (well Catherine Ringer is indeed not very tall. By the way RIP Fred Chichin). He also promised that the band will come back next year and I sincerely hope they will.
And rock music started again with Zero. The fans did wanna go for a ride and people were just bouncing everywhere. I let you imagine how the show ended with Bullet with butterfly wings : it was just pure delirium in the pit.
I've just detailed you the setlist but there were also really special moments all along the performance like solos between Jeff and Billy both facing each other. Mike also had his moment and really surprised me. That man is without any doubt a terrific drummer. His face was not as expressive as Jimmy's but he's really talented and proved that he could deal with emotions either with his drums or with a keyboard on For Martha. I may be wrong but I felt like the band was exhausted but nevertheless had some great time on stage. Only Nicole seemed a little dreamy from time to time, but her playing was awesome and you can see that sha has been active during the elaboration of the new songs. I also liked that moment when several men were crowdsurfing really close to the stage and Billy glanced at Jeff with a "What the heck?? " look on his face and both smiled. You could se the rapport they had.
Well I could talk to you for hours concerning that shows but I will now end this review by saying that the Pumkins are definitely back in, that the new material is amazing, that their stage presence is still here and that they are better than never musically speaking. Their sound is their own, and it feels so good to see band members who can actually play their instruments so well and try new experiments on stage. Go and see them live with no hesitation and enjoy a pure musical moment !
PS: I have nice pics to share with you guys. Soon...