La Maroquinerie, Paris / France

November 26, 2002

(My own report)


Paris, the city of l'amour. Well, it wasn't l'amour that brought me to this place, or then a different kind of, but the Wilko Johnson Band. One of the very few possibilities to see them live on stage outside of the U.K., so that was enough reason for me to make this trip. Prior to the gig, I've paid a visit to Mr. James Douglas Morrison, who's just around the corner at Pere Lachaise.

Then, it was La Maroquinerie (which I believe is meant to be a former tannery). From what I could see, it's a place where they have mostly poet's readings and the like. This seems to be on the ground floor where the restaurant and bar is. The concert stage is in the basement. A nice little venue. The average Wilko Johnson fan in Paris seems to be in her/his midforties as I can not recall having seen an older audience at any gig I care to remember (Wilko Johnson or otherwise). Of course, that didn't make me stand out as being the oldest, but I would have nicely made the average age bracket. Good to see that the people of Paris are not satisfied with a cultural life between soap operas and sports on TV.

The bar in the basement was even decorated with some Wilko Johnson and Dr. Feelgood LP's (the black "Watch Out!", "Down By The Jetty" and others. I've no idea what the "Private Practice" LP did on the wall. Maybe just an oversight. Also a frame with some photos of the Dr. Feelgood period). Very nice!

At 2230hrs the Wilko Johnson Band took the stage. Another drummer to the one I've seen a little over a month ago in Basel. Until Wilko Johnson introduced the guy about 50 minutes later, I wondered as to who this could be. He didn't look like Monti (on the pictures I've seen anyway), he seemed to have longer hair, looked a bit skinnier and played like he's been with the band forever and a day. A relaxed kind of drumming, it was clear to see, the guy was familiar with the songs they were playing. It was Monti after all (I've never seen him live before, so, I'm to be excused).

No surprises in the set and there were all the songs you've been waiting for to hear live again. Ninety minutes of the excellent Wilko Johnson Band and still no "Roxette". Looks like this has been deleted from the live set. Wilko doing some of the intros in french (which is a nice gesture, doing some stuff in the native language of the country where you're playing - that's probably the reason you can't see the Wilko Johnson Band more in countries other than the U.K.)

"The Beautiful Madrilena" and "Dr. Dupree" being some of the highlights, without a single song during the set falling behind. Of course, "Don't Let Your Daddy Know" was one of the pillars of the set again. Speaking of pillars, there were a few obscuring the view, especially the guy behind the mixing desk must have walked a mile while trying to see where Wilko Johnson was on stage. He did an outstanding job with the sound, which was crystal clear throughout the gig.

Ninety minutes later, it was all over and with "Route 66" having been played as the last song, I had witnessed another truly great gig of the Wilko Johnson Band. Having seen two gigs in rather quick succession, it was inevitable that I was starting to compare the two sets. Apart from the obvious (different drummer), the whole set had also a different feel. But to say, that one set was better than the other is impossible. Sometimes I think the Basel gig did have a slight edge over the one in Paris. But I'm talking warm air here, as probably nobody else but me could have made that comparison. When I left, I overheard some people talking about a magnificent gig. And to this, I have nothing to add.