It is a summer lightness that hovered in the streets of Lille yesterday Saturday, June 3. The capital of Flanders hosted the first of the thirteen dates of Mylène Farmer's tour, at the Pierre Mauroy stadium, before passing through the main cities of France, but also in Switzerland and Belgium. A series of concerts commensurate with his reputation: the star, accustomed to so-called "American" shows, mobilized 90 semi-trailers for this installation, and sold no less than 550,000 tickets. This is the biggest tour of its kind in France, a promise of all superlatives, like an apotheosis. Because Nevermore 2023 obviously hints that this will be his last tour.
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The first spectators, of all styles, already arrive in the afternoon. Mylène Farmer federates beyond generations. Nearly 40 years after the release of her first single Maman a tort, her faithful have rushed to the squares. We can also see some rare Russian fans in this crowd: the singer is a star in Russia and dates had been planned in the country but were canceled due to the international context. In any case, it is still time to relax, like a moment suspended before the great scenic storm. Mylène is already pulling on the thread of our emotions.
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A few skulls of scavengers are arranged and a large inflatable crow sits on the platform, as a totem animal of this Nevermore tour. At 21:15 p.m. is broadcast the clip of Regret, duet of Farmer with Jean-Louis Murat disappeared on May 25. After a few moments of floating, the first impatience is felt. The star is still desired. The night falls quietly like the freshness of the air and our breaths are held back. The lights go out, the crowd cheers. The show can start. First on the screens, a big work of videos in the staging, partly directed by Woodkid. A few minutes that reveal a disturbing flight of birds, horde of ravens of ill omen. Shouts accompany the images. And Mylène appears in condensation of these dark birds. We discover her in a shiny black outfit signed Olivier Theyskens, which is reminiscent of her equestrian period. What is first believed to be a capillary square turns out to be a long catogan that sublimates its red mane. The scenography could not be more gothic and Mylène begins her first title, Du Temps, comme un chevalier noir sur un champ de bataille. Her second song, Maybe You, is performed from a platform that makes it visible to all spectators in this huge arena. Then she drops her jacket and reveals herself deliciously eighties by covering her hit Libertine.
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Then the scene finally opens after this introduction of three songs. And it is a ruined cathedral decoration that we discover, probably a tribute to Notre-Dame de Paris. The major tones of this painting are copper, as is the new jacket put on by the red-haired icon who now sings Optimistique-Moi. The rhythm takes, the titles are linked perfectly, in a precise mechanism. Forever, from his latest album L'Emprise, seems to be appreciated here and It's a beautiful day transforms the stadium into an open-air party. Mylène Farmer, 61, is well-oiled. This is her eighth salvo of concerts and we feel that she takes a real pleasure on this stage, not caring about missteps.
Mylène Farmer at the premiere of Nevermore. Robin FRANCOIS
First break. The time that appears a giant crow, decidedly red thread of this show. Then comes another hit from the 1980s, Tristana, which the singer performs in a long golden coat, perched high. Finally AaRON arrives for Rayon Vert. The duet between Mylène Farmer and Simon Buret, all melancholy and emotion, works very well in a rather soft musical arrangement. So far, she hasn't interacted too much with her audience. Then comes Yvan Cassar, musical director of the show and pianist familiar to fans since he follows the singer since her debut on stage. He is acclaimed as a star: the piano voice, and Mylène's emotional overload, are essential to his concerts. She already warns that she will cry – but we knew it – even before starting her song, Rêver, in a long silver dress that gives her a virginal look. His eyes are indeed moistened at the sight of the thousands of lights lit on the smartphones of the public, public who approves by these cries: "Mylène we love you". His relationship with his fans, very strong, materializes at this moment. She continues on Pas le Temps de Vivre, which she cannot sing, always moved. "I'm so happy to see you again," she finally said. Some moments of hesitation are unfortunately to be deplored between the titles of this second part. Que l'aube est belle is always performed in piano voice, but it is a bit like the soft underbelly of the concert, and the energy of the audience seems to have subsided. The lights change color, the stage is drowned in red and the singer leaves in a landscape of flame escorted by burning crucifixes.
Rayon Vert, Mylène Farmer duet with AaRON
It is now pitch black. Mylène returns for Sans Counterfeits, in a white suit with black checks, a nod to her mythical outfit of the 80s that she already wore for this song. Then comes Oui Mais No, which takes over the scenography of the clip. New painting, Mylène wears a bright red outfit and high boots. After Que je devienne, begins on electric guitar the intro of one of the greatest hits, XXL, from his album Anamorphosée, and the magic operates, it is a great moment of the show. The two guitarists Joel Shearer and Jonathan Noyce advance on the stage for a very popular electric guitar interlude.
Then the first chords of her greatest hit, the essential of her concerts, Disenchanted, more than seven minutes of communion with the audience who sing with her. As an encore, to relight the stars, she wears a suit, with wings on the front. The finale of this black mass is accompanied by pyrotechnic effects. Mylène smiled, really delighted, and said goodnight soberly. Its release is more dramatic, on minor and heavy chords. The singer walks towards a glass cage crossed by a vertical ray that takes her far, up there. Behind, we can see stars scroll in a journey that we guess interstellar. It leaves as it arrived, disappears, evaporates in a flight of crows. This is the last image we have left, without us knowing, yet, if this departure will be followed by a return. On the way out, it is a full moon in the inky night that we can no longer help but stare.
Mylène Farmer at the premiere of Nevermore. Robin FRANCOIS