Thursday, May 8

Jojo au Nouveau Casino, Paris, May 7, 2008

TO me it’s an evidence that the best musician isn’t the one who manages to play the best music : too much technique and not enough soul. But with our man Jojo, you got the best music, soul, sincerity, romance, love, emotion and tutti quanti ... I fell in love with JonathanRichman and The Modern Lovers (Jojo is one ML forever) when I bought the two fisrt albums in 1976.

Jojo and his percussive accompanist Tommy Larkins brought their soul warming contagion to the intimist Nouveau casino this time around.

Opening act was Suzanne, a folk German singer / composer (if you think that German language doesn’t sound good : listen to Trio). I’ve heard that some places, people all went to the bar since the 1st song, but to me she sounded rather ok, some poignant songs even reminded me of Peter Case’s wife (RIP), who opened for some Jojo shows in the early 80’s.

Then the venue began to be more crowded but wasn’t full, less than 300 persons, I reckon. It seems that Jojo will remain a “beautiful loser” and never get the huge success that his music deserves. But he already answered to me about that 5 years ago, saying that “it’s ok with me, I’m glad like that, as I’m glad for people who have success, they all deserve it ...”.

Jojo set was rather long, almost one hour and a half.

It’s always a real pleasure to see this charming man with his melodic songs, his touching / harrowing (but never lacrymose) texts, his so warm-hearted doddering voice, his ubiquitous humour. Not to forget Tommy, whose dumming mixed with Jonathan’s guitar brings a combination full of nuances.

Tommy played a lot of “drums solo” during the show, some lasting almost 30 seconds ! (eheh).

The show was composed (see set list above) by more or less old favorites, like “Girlfren”, “Pablo Picasso”, “Old World”, “Her Mystery ...” (one of my faves ever), but also by completely new (to me) songs, like “Silence”, “Too Young For That OIder Girl”, or this one about cellphones, with a kinda “She Cracked” riff, that Jonathan played twice, the second version being mostly sung by us, the public - one half of the audience being asked by Jojo to say “you can have a cellphone” and the other one answering “but not me”.

Or course, they played a lot of songs of the latest album – the show began by Leonard’s Cohen’s “Here It Is” - including the ones not sung “not in English”.

I do love when Jonathan kindly / (in a) funny (way) speaks or sing live in a foreign (to him) language (he’s so cute) : Spanish, Italian, French, Instro (I mean I heard him say “this is the English part” to indroduce the instrumental part of a song, ahahah, that Jojo !).

On the other hand, i must admit that I’m not very fond of those songs completely sung in Spanish, Italian or French (but Intros : yes !) on albums. That why to me Jonathan’s newest album is ”only” a 9/10. But I guess it’s a way for Jonathan not to be prisoner of the words, same as not being prisoner of the past, like he explains in his song “Es Como El Pan”. And heck, who am I to criticize Jonathan, when I can’t play a single note or sing and, moreover, my first (out of two) son is called Jonathan (guess why ?).

Jojo’s face shows that he was happy to be onstage, a winner/winner combination, as the public showed to him that he enjoyed every second of the show.

We were lucky to get a few encores songs, including “Paris Je T’Aime” and a very appropriate “J’Aime Paris Au mois De Mai” (I love Paris in May !).

By the way, those accapela parts, without microphone, added to the complicity between Jonathan and the public.

I prepared a few questions, but I didn’t met Jojo this time.

Nothing really interesting, don’t worry : as I know that he doesn’t like to speak to speak about his personal life or his music, I didn’t had in mind questions like “are you still scared on airplanes” or “tell me more about that song”, I just imagined silly questions about 78 RPM (Jojo faves) or French food, or “do you prefer Gail or Nicole ?” (nooo, not this last one, of course !).

Anyway, “Baby, you can’t go wrong ...” seeing Jonathan Richman live. And Jojoblog is here to spread the word.

Set list : Here It Is / Le Printemps Des Amoureux Est Venu / Pablo Picasso / Let Her Go Into The Darkness / In Che Mondo Viviamo / You can have A cellphone, But Not Me (?) / Egyptian Reggae / Les Etoiles / I was Dancing In A Lesbian Bar / Because Her Beauty Is Raw And Wild / Silence (?) / When We Refuse To Suffer / No One Was Like Vermeer / Cosi Veloce / Her Mystery Not Of High Heels And Eye Shadow / Springtime In New York / Es Como El Pan / Too Young For This Older Girl / Girlfren / My baby Love Love Loves Me / He Gave Us The Wime To Taste / Cellphone (reprise)

Old World / Not So Much To be Loved As To love / Paris Je T’Aime J’Aime Paris Au Mois De Mai.

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