In most of our Take Away Shows, it’s rare to have to wait until the
very end, until the very last second, to really feel the intensity of
the performance. For some of the sequences, we imagine out the
scenario and the conclusion beforehand, then indolently watch it play
out on film as if guided by an invisible hand. Introduction, plans
finalised, deep breaths, song, break, conclusion, laughter, round of
applause. This one, however, finishes rather unexpectedly. Promise.
This time, I’m From Barcelona were all together after their concert at
Bataclan. The concert finished in the pit, then swept out onto the
sidewalk in a joyous “Ophelia”, chaotic, confetti-covered, helped by our
megaphone. We became children, jumping around, hitting the red balloons. They had earned it: the group had just released Who
Killed Harry Houdini
, a dark, engaging, and courageous contrast to
their first, naive pop album.
The multitude of video sessions produced by the group – ad nauseum
the very admission of Emanuel, their singer – had forced us to
organise this show. Remembering an improvised choir at the Carreau du
temple a few years ago, the band was excited to play with us again.
They didn’t disappoint, affirming our initial enthusiasm for the
project a hundred times over.
Patience was the safest way to get to the ecstatic finale of this take
away show, as it inched forward bit by bit, especially on the last
night of October as the cold enrobed the boulevard Voltaire and the
few fans who had stayed to serve as the group’s choir one more time.
It was in the tour bus in the moments after the concert that the
situation became a little chaotic, as the Swedes came and went without
really knowing what was coming next. Colin, camera in hand, had to get
soaked by the exotic cocktails of his new Swedish friends before he
could benefit from a visit to the bus, catching Emanuel peacefully
covering Sleepy Jackson’s “Rain Falls for Wind” with his guitar. A soft
and quiet cover, a moment of calm in a tumult of laughter, applause,
sirens and a megaphone…
More than a cacophonous hour passed before the strange procession made
its way to the metro station. Our group was still thirty or forty deep
behind the alcohol-soaked Swedes, who started playing “Mingus” just
outside the Saint-Ambroise metro station; thirty to forty made a pop
wave too big for the RATP turnstiles to handle.
Everyone who participated in the final moments of this Take Away Show
will remember one girl in particular. We don’t know her name. She was
pretty, smiling, coming up from the platform where she had just gotten
off the train. She was surely returning from a night out with friends,
from a movie with her boyfriend or from dinner with her parents. It
was midnight and she heard the noise engulfing the stairs to the upper
station. She is what we like best in the Take Away Shows: unplanned,
different, she was the stunned then conquered stare. Perfect timing;
she arrived just at the apex.
Translated by Tara Dominguez