LYON: After football, cinema or painting, Eric Cantona, the former Manchester United star striker, went on a tour of Concerts to share his “emotions” that fluctuate between “dark and light”.
On his first date in France after England and Ireland on Friday evening in Lyon, the football legend sang around twenty of his compositions with rock and melancholic accents, sometimes in English and sometimes in French.
In front of a largely established audience in the small Comédie Odéon theater, Eric Cantona, wearing red trainers and trousers, a long black coat and a small hat, literally soaked his shirt.
After forays into the music world with other artists, Cantona presents himself solo at the age of 57, or almost: only two musicians, a pianist and a cellist, accompany his rough voice.
“I do this for the stage and for the audience. This is my pleasure,” he told AFP before the concert.
“On stage I become someone else who comes into contact with the room,” enthuses the former France international, who was particularly “interested” in “this moment of sharing”.
“On the verge of unconsciousness”
His “Cantona sings Eric” tour logically began at the end of October in Manchester, the city that crowned him king of football between 1992 and 1997, and will soon take him to Geneva, Marseille and Paris, before a second tour planned for spring 2024 is .
Four tracks, an EP (“I’ll Make My Own Heaven”) are available on the platforms and a live album with around twenty songs will be released at the end of the two tours.
Music is not new territory for Eric Cantona, who has excelled on screen since retiring, most notably in British filmmaker Ken Loach’s Looking for Eric.
In France his voice could already be heard in the group Dionysos, in songs by Bernard Lavilliers and Rachid Taha.
“The first songs I started writing were for my wife,” remembers actress Rachida Brakni. “These are pieces that I wrote for myself,” in a state “on the verge of unconsciousness, in which things spontaneously take shape.”
“I wrote down my feelings (…) my emotions, what I dream about, what I strive for. It’s very personal,” explains the man with many jerseys, who hopes to be “old/but surrounded by love/Of happy people” after his death.
He insists on the tones of “hope” in his repertoire. “That contradictory side between darkness and light always comes out in my songs: that way of finding light at the end of the tunnel.”
“I want beloved friends/Nocturnal animals/Bats/Spiders/From morning to night/Worry yes/But hope,” he whispers again in “Je vous,” a song with psychedelic overtones, the version of which is available online from the famous “The End.” of the Doors, whose singer Jim Morrisson appears Pantheon” by Eric Cantona.
The football genius also cites Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and Tom Waits as references. “I like them because they are personalities and I want to be a personality.”
“His non-conformist side” has already seduced Florence Faubourg, 48, who waited with around fifty other fans at the exit of the dressing rooms to greet the artist, whose “person and lyrics” she appreciates.
“He holds up well on stage,” says her husband David, 52 years old and a football fan, who first followed the “rebel” player to Cantona.
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