“From the theater of dreams to another theater of dreams,” proclaims Eric Cantona, during one of his very first concerts as a musician.
Having sold out two nights in just 12 minutes, the Manchester United great appears from the darkness on the balcony, arms outstretched, like Christ, receiving a level of applause rarely heard on his debut. As he walks towards the stage, a fan rushes towards him and a flash of panic appears in the eyes of the security team, while a chorus of cameras pans away as if of a red carpet event.
Dressed in a long black coat, sunglasses, a hat and red tracksuit bottoms, the ex-footballer who decided to write songs during confinement, stands at the microphone and lets out a hoarse, deep but whispery voice reminiscent of the end of the Leonard Cohen period. It is supported by a cello often plucked like a double bass, subtle jazz grooves overlap with neoclassical piano loops. Tracks such as The Friends We Lost, dedicated to lost loved ones, are truly moving and poignant, with fiery and deeply emotive cello playing, while Cantona gently purrs.
The atmosphere is less terrace chaos and more respectful silence. He only released four songs via the EP I’ll Make My Own Heaven, so the audience is patiently soaking up the new material that Cantona decided to record at these concerts to release his debut album next year .
During a new track, over a subtly fizzy electronic beat, Cantona sings like a lizard drinking beach sex cocktails in a bar, before a burst of cello explodes over electronic hisses and piano stabs wild, resulting in a pleasantly disturbed and humorous sound. experimental avant-rock piece.
Cantona’s vocal range is limited to the lower registers and when a song requires a more punchy or dynamic delivery – as is often the case – he is unwilling, or perhaps unable, to make it happen and relies so more on his sandpaper whisper. Which can make things feel a little monotonous and repetitive, especially since the evening stretches out to an overly long 90 minutes.
As Cantona leaves the stage, the respectful audience can hold him no longer. They rush to their feet and burst into unison with a football chant. Cantona thus ends the evening exactly as he began it: his head bent back and his arms outstretched, enjoying the enthusiastic applause of a crowd that bordered on religious adulation.