(Note: After receiving a great comment from an American who made the trip ALL THE WAY TO PARIS to see Polnareff play Bercy, I have decided to republish this post to enable comments directly.)
This is the story of a family uniting around an album, almost to the point of obsession. This is the story of doing something that seemed a little crazy, especially on a school night. This is the story of how snow can wreak havoc in Aveyron, even in late March.
This is the story of my family's trip to see Michel Polnareff at the Zénith concert hall in Clermont-Ferrand. Mind you, this was not just any geezer rock show. This was Polnareff's first concert in his home country since 1973, the year he left France (on the luxury liner of the same name) for the USA. He has lived in my home country since, and the announcement last year of his return to the French stage caused great excitement, with over 100,000 tickets to his ten Paris concerts selling in just a few days.
Our love affair with Polnareff started, at least for the girls and me, with getting to know the album "Live at the Roxy," recorded under rather mysterious conditions in 1995. My husband, who remembered the "Polnarevolution" of the 60s and used to listen to the singer's hits on the radio, bought a copy of the CD about ten years ago. And we listened, listened, and listened some more.
The updated versions of Polnareff's hits presented on that album are emotional and intriguing. Although the Polnashow of 2007 lacks the intimacy of the Roxy performance, it is a splendid spectacle. The singer-songwriter still has his amazing voice, as the French press has gleefully reported, and has brought an outstanding bunch of American musicians with him.
My daughters were a little surprised that much of the crowd was even older than their parents, but they had no cause for disappointment. Polnareff's show is decidedly a rock concert, even if my favorite moments were when he was alone with his piano.
It was worth the money, it was worth the drive, it was worth the creepy feeling of crossing the Aubrac mountains in the snow at one o'clock in the morning...and it was especially worth it to share this special moment with my entire family.
See our Flickr slideshow of the concert.
And/or check out my (and just about everybody else's) favorite Polnareff song. It was his "Lettre à France" but for me, it's a song for expats everywhere: