The trip to see Blaze Bayley at Le Scene near Bastille in Paris proved to be quite eventful. A strangely excitable Parisian lady rolled back into the front of my car causing a nice dent and I got hideously lost. In short, the ultimate white knuckle experience of driving through Paris is enough to make your hair go gray overnight.
However, within a few numbers of Blaze (avec band) taking the tiny stage it all seemed worth it. Le Scene is not one of the French capital’s biggest venues but it makes up for that in atmosphere. Entering through its back street entrance it looks like some medieval castle with its wooden panelling décor and ancient looking lights.
The stage is small, but this proved to be the only thing that can be described that way on this particular evening. First up was French rocker Mr. Jack who warmed us up impressively with some good old straight ahead rock. As the allotted hour approached for the arrival of Blaze Bayley I just stood there wondering how the hell he and his band were all going to fit on that stage.
Sure enough after a few collisions with wired bass man David Bermudez those problems seemed to be very genuine. Not that you would have necessarily known as Blaze blazed his way through opening number “The Man Who Would Not Die” as if he was playing the Stade de France just up the road.
Blaze is larger than life. There was enough energy coming from the band that they could have lit the Eiffel Tower on Bastille Day. So much so in fact, that the venue felt as if it could barely contain it all.
The enthusiastic, largely local, audience quickly responded to Blaze’s infectious passion as the band blasted it’s way through a set list that contained the crowd pleasers but also served up a few surprises.
A new track “Watching The Night Sky” (I hope I’ve got that right. I will have to wait until the new album to double check) was well received. However, an unexpected highlight for me was a touching “At The End Of The Day”, the title of his recently published biography, which cooled us down and had the audience reflecting into their Paris priced drinks.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better along came “The Clansman”. Introduced by Blaze, as a reminder of the last time he had played Paris, the chants of “Freedom” all but lifted the roof.
Going back to his book, watch out for a Eurorock review of it here soon. It will be quite a ride through the eventful, sometimes triumphant, and sometimes tragically sad life of the ex-Maiden front-man. Its 396 pages promise to be quite a read. After all, this is a guy who does nothing by halves and last night was no exception.
He thrilled, delighted, and passionately connected with the Paris audience. Pointing out that he hadn’t been to the city in a while due to past management and label problems, he promised a return for next year. This will help promote the release of another new album Promise And Terror which is due out in February 2010 and will, also find its way onto Eurorock’s pages.
Also included in a relentless set were powerful versions of “The Launch”, “Kill And Destroy”, “Voices From The Past”, and “Samurai, amongst many others.
Blaze has understandably thrown himself into his work of late and has released a studio album The Man Who Would Not Die, a live album The Night That Will Not Die, and a DVD by the same name. He has published the aforementioned book, been on tour, and recorded the next album. This tour is due to end at the Z7 in Switzerland where the DVD was filmed and the CD was recorded.