Yann Tiersen at Carrick Hill

Well, I had a pretty special weekend. A long while back, I discovered by chance that Yann Tiersen was going to be touring Australia, and that he was even coming to Adelaide. Then I discovered he was playing two days at the French Festival, and tickets were only $20 a day. The marketing wasn’t great — imagine if I had missed it? I was totally there, along with the man with whom I became a Yann Tiersen fan:

You could call us “Yann buddies”, I suppose. For those not in the know, Yann Tiersen is widely known outside of France for his soundtrack for the movie Amélie, which he somewhat lifted from his other albums. It’s a lovely piece of work, and the movie wouldn’t have been the same without it.

This concert was the best I’ve been to, because what I got was so unexpected. I had heard a rumour that he wouldn’t be playing live at all — it was a cruel trick and he’d be playing via satellite or some such (I mean, $20?! That’s like 10 Euro and a bit). And then others were less than keen because he was playing guitars, and his earlier albums were very much not rock; more classically inspired, I suppose.

So the weekend crept up on me over the months (having bought my ticket as soon as I could), and suddenly I was calling up Chris asking when he’d come by so we could get there. My denial of cars does make transport rather dependent on others at time.

And with no expectations at all, after a day of light drinking, heavy eating, and tremendous heat, there appeared an incredible band with some sort of progressive rock sound, but often to the tunes I knew much better as piano-accompanied. Not that the classical elements were all gone:

but damn did that band know how to rock out. Yann switched instruments between multiple guitars, violin, accordion, and mini-pianos (?) almost just because he could,

backed by a fat bass, cello (and other strings, albeit played like a cello), and second guitar, whose methods ranged between violin bow and electric drill to produce sound from the thing. It meshed so perfectly with the metamorphasised songs I knew and the newer songs I didn’t; I never imagined it, and it surpassed anything had I tried.

His skills on the violin and accordion really shone out. When playing those instruments, his whole physique would change, his face would soften, and his hands move faster than I could keep track — how can such music be possible?

As the first day was sublime, I made a trip of it on Sunday to repeat the whole event. And the second day in a row did not disappoint.

The only other thing I have to say is that his earlier music doesn’t make its mark on his demeanour; maybe I can’t see through the French exterior, but he looks far more haunted than I had imagined from his earlier music. The music direction I heard yesterday, frenzied and powerful, suits his face a lot more. But why should it be a beautiful man who makes beautiful music?

I regret terribly I didn’t approach and talk to him briefly, but what would I have said? In another lifetime…