Wolfman packs 'em in Quebec's rebel rocker takes fans on wild, whimsical 'trippe'
par T'Cha Dunlevy
dans The Gazette, 17 mai 1999
The Happy Birthday singalong started before the curtain was raised, as did the chants of "Le-loup! Le-loup!" Quebec's long-reigning and still-defiant 39-year-old rebel rocker. Jean Leloup is having a week-long party and everyone's coming.
Last night marked the first of Leloup's five shows at Metropolis this week. Four are sold out - there are a few tickets left for Thursday. By the looks of things, it's going to be a good week. For a man who has put out just four albums in 10 years, Leloup has consistently had the province's youth wrapped around his finger.
It was obvious in the pre-show buzz, in the delighted cheers as he read a French translation from a Bill Gates book from backstage (transmitted via video screen) to kick things off. It was obvious when the crowd started clapping along before he had sung a note of the show opener, Voyager.
But despite the crowd's eagerness to literally leap in - bodysurfing and audacious stagediving permeated the first, 40-minute set until Leloup put a gentle stop to it in the second - it took the wolf a little while to let loose.
Plowing through the first three songs with nary a look up, he stopped to catch a breath during the laid-back groove of Faire des Enfants, from 1996's Dome album. During what turned into a 20-minute jam, the crowd instinctively took over the chorus - "Look at my looove/Look at my soul." "Il y a quelque chose que j'pogne pas," said Leloup during an instrumental break.
But before he had time to relay the object of his troubles, the audience adjusted, hands in the air clapping and began to sing along to the new chorus of "Come on, come on."
And so goes the the simple, irresistible appeal of Jean Leloup. While he did his duty, dropping one of his renegade adrenaline hits every once in a while, his heart was in the groove. And in the unexpected twists. When the crowd responded to a subtle Leloup wave and put together a roof-raising cheer during Vampire, a song in the second set, Leloup seized the opportunity to play conductor. And not just any conductor. Picture Bugs Bunny working Elmer Fudd in the opera solo of Barber of Seville. So Leloup worked the cheers, raising the house to a roar, then cutting it short only to start again. The key for Leloup is fun. He does his best to "trippe." And he knows his audience wants to trippe along. Rarely does an artist get so much freedom.
When Leloup broke into his rollicking L'Amour Est Sans Pitie to end the second set, after veering through cheesy French musicals, extended guitar twiddling and endless grooves with no album-reminiscent hook in sight, the crowd went wild - proof that they were still there, hanging off the charisma of their hero.
Each show will probably be different this week, but somehow, some way, Jean Leloup will make them all rock. That's just what he does.
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1 novembre 2001.