“The Best Gig I Ever Saw” is a weekly column that will see us ask a musician to chat about their favorite concert thus far. This week it's French singer, songwriter and producer Christine & the Queens, often known as Chris, who will be performing at Coachella this weekend and next.
The best gig I ever witnessed was probably Anohni at the Philarmonie in Paris.
She performed her record in its entirety, and every choice was incredibly powerful, emotional and political at the same time. It was a performance that questioned what it meant to be an artist, when the record itself was about all the noises and inner monologues of a tormented world. She arrived onstage with her face covered, and sang just this way, swaying her hands, sometimes crouched, sometimes raised toward the sky, in front of an LED screen that projected behind her several faces, filmed up close. The faces were lip-syncing her words.
Past the frustration of not seeing Anohni’s own expressions, you then understood that something more urgent was at stake, the notion of giving voice to them — and the expressivity of the performer, only in the vibratos and the ghostlike presence, was then radiating in every frame, on some other flesh.
At some point, I got deeply emotional, for I found there something that resonated with what I want from an artist: radical choices, danger, a sense of universalism that feels more like an acknowledgment of diversity than a smoothed-out, washed-out version of humanity.
It was queer, bold, like a manifesto, but it was also incredibly rich musically (I mean, the record is insane, and the vocal performance was enough to cry, if you want my opinion) — I think I like this gig more than everything because sometimes I think of it, sometimes it pursues me, sometimes it still raises questions, sometimes I’m going back to those sensations. It just haunts me in the best possible way.