WE WERE THERE – On Sunday, to close its anniversary edition, the festival offered a show by the New York group. Between the rain, the sound problems and the lack of motivation of Julian Casablancas, this prestigious gift turned out to be poisoned.
The fiasco. After three intense festival days, the public is waiting for only one thing: the arrival of the Strokes. The arrival of the New York group at the Parc de Saint Cloud is a prestigious gift, which will prove to be poisoned. A few hours before the concert of Julian Casablancas and his band, the rain falls on the festival-goers. The public, already crowded in front of the big stage, fears that the festivities will be canceled, like last year, at We Love Green. If the wait seems endless, the group’s few minutes late are even longer. And as bad news never comes alone, the sound system, damaged by the rain, threatens to drop. Demoralized by the situation or simply in a trance, the singer of the group does not even give 100%. After reflection, we would almost have preferred that the concert be canceled.
18 hours. Festival-goers enjoy the last hours of the concert at the Parc de Saint Cloud. On the main stage, the performance of Amyl and The Sniffers comes to an end. Some fans hurry to leave the area so as not to miss a concert by Wet Leg, on the Cascade stage, or that of Young Fathers, on the Bosquet stage. Others take advantage of the movement of the crowd to get as close as possible to the big stage, in the hope of seeing their favorite group from the front row within four hours.
The sky darkens. The downpour is imminent. Ten minutes later, the public is soaked, the stage and the sound installations too. But it takes more to discourage festival-goers. The Strokes haven’t performed in Paris since the pandemic, so there’s no question of ending the festival season without them. The rain gives fans the opportunity to proudly put on their sweatshirts with the group’s image, freshly bought at full price in the festival shop. A few minutes after the deluge, Foals takes the stage. The concert goes off without a hitch, bringing smiles to the face of the thousands of festival-goers already present. They do not know it yet but this happiness will be short-lived.
The curse of Rock en Seine
Like last Wednesday before Billie Eilish’s concert, there is no question of leaving your place. And if the average age has changed since the passage of the American superstar, the mentality has not changed one iota. The fans push each other, shout at each other, prevent each other from passing. The wait is endless. The group ends up arriving, late. The public is so happy to find Casablancas and his gang that they won’t hold it against them. At least for now. Because it will not take him long to understand that the singer is not at his best. And that the group does not follow. We have the feeling of attending a rehearsal or the first passage of a beginner group in a telecrochet like X-Factor.
Between two songs, Julian takes the floor. His jokes are uncomfortable and his anecdotes are far too long. Too bad, it would not have taken much to convince an already boiling public. And that’s not all. It’s the sound system’s turn to act up. YOLO, The Adults Are Talking , Ode To The Mets… The group’s biggest hits are almost wasted. The sound is jerky, unpleasant. The concert is strangely reminiscent of that of Arctic Monkeys, a year earlier. The curse of Rock en Seine has struck again.
For many, it is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Those who, two hours earlier, jostled for a “front-row” place are already turning back. No one wants to witness this disaster any longer. The Strokes concert is so bad that it could, once digested, become unforgettable. A bit like the separation of Oasis, in 2009, here at Rock en Seine.
The Chemicals Brothers, Cypress Hill, Placebo…
If the Strokes have largely disappointed, others have surprised. Tove Lo, Girl in Red, Lucie Antunes… On Wednesday, to inaugurate its 20th edition, Rock en Seine offered a 100% female program, closed by Billie Eilish. To his 40,000 fans, the interpreter of bad guy, headliner of this anniversary weekend, delivered a precise concert, without fault or downtime. At her hour and a half show, Billie was able to integrate her saddest ballads, under the wet eyes of her audience.
Friday, after a day off, the festivities resumed. Boygenius, Christine and The Queens and Placebo caused a stir, celebrating rock the way festival goers love it. The next day, Rock en Seine gave pride of place to pop and electronic music. While waiting for the release of their new album, the Chemical Brothers were able to celebrate their 30-year career alongside Belgian DJ Charlotte de Witte and the group Yeah Yeah Yeahs, famous for their hit Heads With Roll. At the last minute, the Latin American group Cypress Hill had to replace Florence + The Machine, absent for health reasons. The veterans of hip-hop gave a much rockier performance than many bands claiming this aesthetic.
20 years of Rock en Seine in pictures