Kunst!rasen and a lot of blurred pictures. My fault entirely. This was my third concert by Zaz and I really should know by now that like all exotic and beautiful birds, she’s apt to fly away in an instant. There were certainly warmer and drier places for her to fly to on Wednesday, but what would a Summer season be without her gracing the Bonn Open Air stage?
You have to feel sorry for Sarah Ferri. Opening the show 15 minutes after the gates open at Kunstrasen, and then facing blusters of heavy rain. Her light Jazz style struggled to compete with the weather but at least she came away with a ‘Supported Zaz’ addition for her CV. I remember a lively version of ‘Love Cats‘ and a pleasant ballad ‘Were you there?’ with her own accompaniment on piano. All I can hope is that she didn’t have to come far for the gig.
Nina Attal Was always going to be in with a shout of giving Zaz an early run for her money and so it proved. Attal already has a lot of fans in the area and it’s easy to see why. Early on and she was trying call and response with the line “See Over The Mountain” but with virtually no response. By the time her set finished they were not just singing, but dancing in the rain. Indeed, sometime during Attal’s set it must have stopped raining, but I didn’t notice when that was. The girl has a warm style and there’s often a Caribbean touch to her Jazz/Rock style.Definitely worth making a note to check the Harmonie for a future date by this young lady if you like your Jazz rocky and your Rock Funky.
It’s virtually 8.30pm when Isabelle Geffroy aka Zaz, bounds onto the stage to the opening strains of ‘Ira’, the title track from her latest CD. Is she really 33 years old? She still has that raw energy that most mortals lost when they exchanged Student Union nights out and discos for children and mortgages.
She’s looking great and singing as she always does – beautifully. This being my third time at one her shows I’ve come to realize that Zaz also has a first rate band of musicians behind her: Jean Philippe Motte’s grey T shirt looks the perfect working mans clothes for the job of drummer, and when it gets colder he gets to wear a natty washboard waistcoat to keep rhythm in. I’m a little disappointed that Ilan Abou has abandoned his trademark Fedora hat but the band wouldn’t be the same without the man himself on bass. The same is true of guitarist Benoit Simon who plays alongside Zaz almost by instinct.
It would have been easy to hide further back on the stage as the raindrops hit home again, but to her credit Zaz instead gave the impression that she would gladly share the discomfort. It added a certain gravitas to the slower paced numbers like the marvelous Piaf classic ‘Dans Ma Rue‘and was completely forgotten as soon as the ‘invisible kazoo’ was put into use on her monster hit ‘Je Veux’.
With memories of two hour shows in the past here there were a few small murmurs of disappointment when shortly before 10pm the lady came onstage for the last time here in 2013 accompanied by Benoit Simon’s acoustic guitar. Even as the last notes of ‘La Lessive’ were floating around in the damp late evening air we were hoping for a surprise last minute song as there was so magically two years ago at Museumsplatz. Only 90 minutes of magic then. I almost expected to see her jog past as we walked back – A quick run along the Rhine to Cologne before bed, for the bundle of French energy that is Zaz. I would not have been at all surprised but I guess even the liveliest songbirds rest sometimes.