a short site about The Divine Comedy

Divine Comedy & The Brunel Ensemble (Paris, April 1st 1997)

The sun is back, it’s early Spring and after a long Easter bank holiday spent in the country, we’re back in Paris just in time for the concert of the month, the return of The Divine Comedy…

The gig has sold out ages ago… Tonight La Cigale is completely packed and thank God (or rather Paddy!) we’re on the guest list!

The support band, Jacques (an acoustic version of Jack) makes a rather good impression… Singer Anthony walks on stage, alone, and croons the opening song ‘Her Cello’ with conviction. Then we are treated with acoustic and violin embellished tunes: a triumphant “We Can, We Will’, a very slow & lovely version of ‘Biography of a First Son’ and the intense and moving ‘F.U.’ closing the set… Jacques dedicate their gig to themselves, for being still alive after 2 weeks touring!

Long live Jacques!

By the time The Divine Comedy go on stage, the venue is twice as packed, and everybody claps with enthusiasm… Neil Hannon appears on stage wearing a suit fat too big for him (important not: He shaved off that terrible beard!!!) “You’re all too bloody kind! I’m speechless… I love you!”, he says. Neil clearly feels at home in Paris, looking over-confident and wearing eccentric sunglasses. From the first notes, he pretends to be King, and we pretend to believe him.

There is a 23 piece orchestra tonight, which makes the show even more grandiose than usual. Songs performed through the impressing two hours set are just are just a mix of new and old songs: the splendour of ‘Tonight We Fly’, the wit of ‘Middle Class Heroes’, the grandeur of ‘A Woman of the World’, the ridicule of ‘Alfie’, the delirious version of ‘A drinking song’…

Even if the gig slightly disappointing compared to their first ever orchestral performance at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London, it’s good enough to be a enjoyable night to remember.

Anne Roels
Crème Anglaise, Spring 1997