Postcards from the Pit: Johnny Hallyday, Beacon Theater, 10/7/12

The last time Johnny Hallyday played a show in New York was in 1962. He was on a cruise ship (!) and Jackie Kennedy (!!) was in the audience.

This time around he was on dry land and I don’t know if there were any luminaries lurking in the Beacon or not. Probably, I guess; New York is that kind of town.

I was there because I’ve been conducting some extremely idle and non-scientific research on the subject French rock and roll, from which I learned that Hallyday is France’s equivalent / answer to to Elvis Presley, and I wanted to see what he was all about.

The show began with some dramatic images, such as this one:




Not long after I took that picture the wall in the middle crumbled dramatically and unleashed flames and flying skulls.

Then Johnny Hallyday walked out on stage:



His band and back-up singers also appeared:

I (still) don’t speak all that much French, so his song introductions and stage banter went completely over my head, but in rock concerts as with Mass, some things are universal and you can get by pretty well taking cues from your neighbors.

Most of my neighbors wanted to get up and boogie, which is kind of difficult in the Beacon. But we shook a tailfeather or two anyway.

About half-way through the show Hallyday switched gears, going from rock to rockabilly:


In addition to his own tunes Hallyday also did some classic rock covers. I definitely recognized Fortunate Son – which lost a crucial bit of snarl in the translation from English to French – and also Great Balls of Fire.

It was, overall, a fantastic show.

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