This Living in Nyon editor first saw Johnny Clegg perform in 1988 in the Royal Albert Hall in London supporting Stevie Winwood. Back then Johnny performed with abundant energy and superb stage presence. Last night under a Nyon sky (with the moon appearing from behind the stage to add dramatic effect to the concert), as he sang “Under African Skies” it was clear that 22 years later nothing had changed, the man still has what it takes to command and deserve the big stage – a superb concert.
Below the barefoot writer-Jonas Parson gives his impression of the same concert and also of Crosby, Stills and Nash and Hugues Aufray.
Now if Tuesday was the trash rock evening, and Wednesday the hyped musicians evening, Thursday was definately a day of legends. Starting off with Hugues Aufray, 80 years old and still going. He was the one who wrote the famous Santiano song, along with many other classics that are still sung round campfires in all French speaking parts of the world. Even under the pouring rain, you could feel the emotion of all those different generations who all grew up singing the same songs. Part of Aufray’s show was dedicated to Dylan, with versions of Blowin’ in the Wind, Mr Tambourine Man and other songs, sung in French!
It was quite a disturbing impression at first, before you actually understood what’ was going on. You started singing, only to realize that the lyrics aren’t the same… And then; “What? Is he actually singing Dylan in French?”
So that was a meeting with happy memories for the crowd, be they young or old. It isn’t because Aufray is old that nobody listens to him, quite the contrary. As many young people as older ones were there in front of the stage, showing once again the power of music to bring people (sometimes complete strangers) together.
After two days of wonderful weather, Thursday was well set on becoming a remake of Woodstock and co, with the rain and the mud everywhere. IT was the occasion for everyone to take out their special Paleo rain jacket, the staff wearing last year’s unfinished stock.
But the rain didn’t last, and by the end of the concert, the sky was dry again, so as to give the boat Santiano good sailing conditions for its trip to San Francisco. It must have been one mighty boat, because nearly the whole of Paleo jumped on board, rocking the boat away!
Traipsing through the mud after the concert, the comfortable squelch of mud under my feet, it was time for a morsel before another legend (or rather, legends) sent us sky-high at l’Asse. Not especially knowing Crosby Stills and Nash before the concert, all I knew was that they’d played at Woodstock, and that they were part of our musical history. I was amazed by everything they did. The guitar, the voice, the whole of the concert was just wonderful. I really had the impression of living part of history watching them, one of the bands that made it possible for so many small bands to play today. Had they not been playing in the 60’s, go knows what music would be like today. After the concert, I had the pleasure of meeting a real fan, a man in his fifties who told me that he’d been waiting for them for the last fifteen years. He was just more than happy. He could hardly speak anymore, rather overwhelming I gather.
Then it was time for the “White Zulu” to take the whole of l’Asse to Africa. After 30 years of concerts, Johny Clegg didn’t seem to be tiring. Quite the opposite if you can judge by his dancing and the way he behaved on stage. Running from one end of the stage to the other, jumping about in every direction, he just looked happy. That was probably the night’s main discovery for me, the concert was just amazing. I’m pretty sure that Johny Clegg might appear onto my Ipod one of these days….
So what an evening! And with all these concerts, I haven’t had time to go and have a look at the Ruche, the area devoted to circus shows. There’s usually always a nice company playing, and it’s nearly always worth it!
Ed: Other concerts last night early in the evening included Hugh Masekela in the Dome. Even though a lot of fans were a tad bedraggled and wet due to the early rainstorm, Hugh urged the audience not to complain too much as he reminded us a bit of water didn’t really do any harm as there those in other countries who really are suffering for so many other serious reasons, a sobering moment for us all.
Photo below the fires warming the fans up by night. This is the last year these fires will be here so go see them and sit by them to appreciate the atmosphere before it’s too late.
Over in the club tent and in the chapiteau the sound of very appreciative cheering crowds drew many people over to listen to Revolver and Archive. I caught only the end of each show but despite hearing only a few minutes of each I now want to hear more. That’s the beauty of Paléo – discovering new music.