“Tonight I would like to do some songs for you, like we do some nights when you feel good, only with a few friends at home. If you close your eyes tonight, I’m going to invite you to my place… ”Slipped into the introduction of the country song“ Tes tender years ”in 1995, these words from Johnny Hallyday summarize the fusional relationship that the rocker has maintained with the Palais omnisports of Paris Bercy (POPB).
After having tamed the Olympia (1961-1973), the Palais des Sports (1967-1982) and the Zenith (1984-1985), the star needed an even more imposing venue that lived up to his ambitions. Johnny puts his bags down in Bercy at a high point in his career: in 1987, he just expanded his audience with two flagship albums from his discography produced by Michel Berger (Rock’n’roll Attitude, in 1985) and Jean-Jacques Goldman (Gang, in 1986). All French people have the new hits on their lips: “Something from Tennessee”, “The abandoned singer”, “L’Envie”, “Laura”, “I promise you” …
Unlike previous shows – very bombastic – this first Bercy plays the card of sobriety. “Michel Berger [director of the show, Editor’s note] gave a classy side to the show,” explains Jean-Claude Camus, the producer. With him, goodbye to stunts. All that kind of stuff was gone. Clad in a black suit, Johnny comes on stage playing the introductory notes to “Rock’n’roll Attitude” on the piano. The special effects are sophisticated: a magnificent wall of rain mysteriously descends on the stage during “L’Envie”.
Three years later, Hallyday is boosting its second Parisian return to the POPB. With the departure of Berger, it is also the return of the stunts to the sound of the greasy hard rock “Possible on a motorcycle” composed by the son, David Hallyday. Above all, Bercy 90 – also known under the name of “Cadillac Tour” – offers new songs: “Adeline”, in homage to Adeline Blondieau with whom Johnny married the previous summer in Ramatuelle; but above all two covers: “Diego, libre dans sa tête”, a song by Michel Berger which will become a Hallydean hit, and “I am not a hero”, Johnny finally exploiting the scenic potential of this song that Daniel Balavoine had written for him in 1980.
In September 1992, the event in Bercy was first on the famous red seats, where spectators found a leaflet reading “Retiens ta nuit”, which announced the 1993 Parc des Princes concert series. But before singing in the stage of the PSG, Hallyday dazzles the public of the POPB with a magical entrance, in the first sense of the term: to the sound of the anxiety-provoking musical introduction of “Voyage to the land of the living”, an elevator descends from the hangers. Apparently, it is empty. In truth, the conjurer Hallyday is there inside. A sleight of hand signed Seigfried and Roy.
The last big meeting of the 1990s in Bercy was called the “Lorada Tour”, and for the first time offered a stage in the middle of the public in order to offer fans greater proximity. It is on this stage – before singing “Loving You” – that Johnny presents for the first time his fiancée Laeticia, a shy young girl with curly hair who hides her eyes when she discovers that the spotlight of Bercy is on her.
After 1995, Johnny made infidelities to the POPB to prefer the big football stadiums to him. However, he returned in 2003 to close his winter tour and offer the public “Le cœur en deux”, a nugget of his discography never sung before, and in 2006 for the “Flashback Tour” which revisits all the Parisian venues of his career. .
Bercy returns to favor during the rocker’s last tours: from 2013 to 2017, Johnny sings every year in the hall of the 14th arrondissement, with several moments of anthology: his 70th birthday with an impressive entrance by the crowd, a duet with Charles Aznavour , the “Rester Vivant Tour” and the Vieilles Canailles concert series. During his 101st show at Bercy on June 25, 2017, Johnny was physically weakened but managed to make the public forget that he was suffering from cancer thanks to his inimitable voice. Bercy will never forget him.
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