Hugh Laurie, gentleman du Blues. Madame Figaro, novembre 2013
Hugh, bike
vicpei
Hugh Laurie, Blues gentleman.

The British actor, famous for his Dr House character, is now an author, composer and singer. A portrait.

For almost 10 years, the oh-so-British actor was Dr House, the most irresistible antihero in the world-most-watched TV show. Nowadays the 50-something wonderboy, also a L'Oreal spokeperson, writes, composes and sings. Portrait of a happy thespian.

He fumes, looks at himself in the mirror, fumes a bit more. His arms, long down to his knees, make it hard to find fitting suits. In the mirror, he looks like a kid grown  too fast and dressed as a man. He turns around, muttering « ridiculous ». He moans again. Against shirts, too short (« it's like they're fit for 12 years old boys »), against trousers that he has to buy low-cut to fit his so-long legs and hide his socks. « I know it's not bad fashion. The Prince of Wales loves to show his socks. But I don't. » Hugh Laurie is a 6'3“ giant, stiff and thin like a British India Army colonel' stick. Every bit of him is too long. His neck, his hands, his feet that he hides in big crepe-soled, laced shoes. Perfect for hunting in Balmoral's forest. As for the rest, he looks exactly like House on TV : bushy eyebrows, this blue, almost sadistic look of a hunting lynx, bed hair like he was just woken up during an on-call night. « Don't mess with my hair, or the balding will show », he rages. There is no doubt about him being a real Brit : imperious outside, conservative inside. Leave him alone and on his own in a suit at the Savoy in London. Guess what he will do? Take a cup, heat it with hot tea, pour some milk, grab the Times and sit by the window to wade through the newspaper, watching the pouring rain as if it was the most erotic show in the world. In short, the eternal Brit as shown by Gainsborough, as well as Kipling : a bit far away, silent, gloomy.

Did the whimsical English turn crazy?

Did his atrabiliary, always angry and whimsical character rub off on him? Let's check. « What did fame change in your life? » The question is followed by an icy silence. He puts his cup down, turns back, pulls nervously on his sleeves to make them longer, gets up like a gentleman in front of a lady, sits back, thinks, rubs the back of his head, looks from under and quietly answers : « Fame? I became famous on Wednesday, June 22 in 2005. A 3 PM. It fell down on me suddenly and I have never been the same since then. » Silence. Is he crazy? Then he gives an enormous laugh, happy with the result, gets up again and limps the way that made him famous. He is, suddenly, the most exquisite, gentle, sexiest man in the world. « This is what made House famous : the explosive mix. He is like the English weather, sometimes sad, sometimes threatening, sometimes extremely soft. You never know who you will get. He is surprising. He can be usufferable and suddenly tender. He is a funny, creative, charming, rough, astonishing man, with a flaw. He is not happy. He suffers and it allows him to be rough without turning out as an old moron. House is a antihero, brilliant and sadistic. People love the mix between talent and wickedness. » Hugh Laurie immediatly fell in love with the part, this generous and genius man. Is he jealous of him? « I could, yes, given the attractiveness he shows to women. But I admire him too much to resent him; » Laurie became House after a simple casting. « I think they picked me because I come across as a natural cynic. I give this impression because I am very shy. Cynicism is an armor. » Along the seasons, writers started to write a part tailored for him. « They ended up thinking we were one. They were wrong. House is smart, I am dumb. House is nasty and I am a cream of a man. But mainly, I am me and he is himself. Otherwise, why act? Knowing that you are playing, that is the pleasure of acting. If we mix it up, then the enjoyement of halving, that acting offers, it goes away. »

Doctor House has left the building.


Laurie's youth is like an English garden. He was born in Oxford in 1959. His father was a doctor. « It's true that I briefly wanted to be a doctor, but then I chose to imitate him by becoming a rowing champ. English girls, they like muscles better than brain. » He studied in Cambridge where he met and briefly dated Emma Thompson, then met Stephen Fry, his best friend and accomplice. Together they played within the famous Cambridge Footlights theater club, which has been managed for a hundred years by the students of the University. Out of there came highlights of the British comedy, people like John Cleese from the Monty Pythons. After their studies, Thompson, Laurie and Fry acted in hilarious sketches for the British TV, made ads, voice overs, movies. Laurie has played with Thompson in Branagh's Peter's Friends, then in Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility, before he was hired in 2004 for House, that made him rich and famous...

Did you really play in 177 House eps for 700 000 euros an ep? Hugh Laurie makes a face and evades. « The real important fact is that this part gave me self confidence. With this new confidence I was able to play music, an old dream for me. » Laurie started playing the piano at 6, « with an old broad who turned me away from learning. Which I was lucky for. I dreamed of playing jazz. I wanted to play this old folk song, Swanee River, and she had me make scales. » The big shock was hearing on the radio I can't quit you Baby, by Willie Dixon, when he was 11. « I was shaken up, he recalls. God knows why the good neat pupil I was fell in love with blues, when you had to listen to pop or punk at the time... »

Doctor House now has left the building, and Hugh Laurie is free to do what he wants. Like this hilarious L'Oreal ad, where he sells the virtues of VitaLift 5 : « See the results. In real life, I'm 95 years old, don't tell it to anyone. » He lives between Los Angeles, where he works, and London, where his family lives. « My wife, the one I married in 1989, and my three children. » He also finances an orphanage in Uganda.

After his first album in 2011 (Let Them Talk, Warner Music Entertainment), he released a second one, Didn't It Rain, in spring. He is touring worldwide. « I will never know if people love my music or Dr House's. This is my problem. » There is something Clint Eastwood-like in this peculiar man. « I love that, of course. I see Clint as a bit of a father. He would have educated me and showed me the goal. I love blues; this music from the cotton fields. Blues is soothing while telling terrible stories. » A strange thought comes to mind : would Laurie play the next James Bond? « I don't think so. First, I am bald. Second, I find that James does not have enough of a sense of humor. And finally, I am a sarcastic, realistic guy. Bond isn't. »


Original Article here: http://madame.lefigaro.fr/celebrites/hugh-laurie-gentleman-blues-091113-608278

Concert Hugh Laurie, Paris Le Grand Rex, July 9th,2013
Hugh, bike
vicpei

Paris Le Grand Rex, or the third Paris date.

Once a year I stop consulting early, get on a train for Paris and go to see Hugh Laurie perform. Once a year, watching and hearing him, I marvel at the charm he owns and at the so different abilities he shows.

So far, each show, even with a very scripted frame, has given a different vibe.
The first year in Trianon, still wrapped in House and looking like him, he was giddy to be there almost unexpectedly, we were giddy to see him almost unexpectedly. He was happy but shy and wanting to win us, which he didn't need to. He joked a lot, taunted us a lot, talked a lot.

Last year was very professional, less of a concert, more of a musical performance with lessons in blues. The CopperBottom Band was brilliant, Hugh talked a lot, explaining every song, but seemed to never vary from his speechs. Every gesture, word, scenery was scripted to the second. And he made a point of getting rid of House physically, too.

This year, he seems to have relaxed. The Hugh Laurie Grand Musical Blues Circus turns at its fullest. Of course there is still a trame, I caught recycled jokes, some parts have to be precisely written, BUT he allows himself to deviate from them. He seems to have lost this urge to introduce everything and comment everything because it is HIS show. He looks and acts like the boss, but the band is more on its own, the female singers (such great voices) take the lead on a regular basis, he stays more at his piano. This is a figure of speech : he never stays quiet. The head moves, the legs move, he gets up and turns around the piano, he throws himself on the stage. He is less cautious, almost danced properly before remembering he is supposed to be a funny dancer.

A few glimpses : sadly, we missed him introducing the first act. After this, men in grey coats and flat caps came onto the stage to rearrange the scenery- one of them looking a bit like HL, wich caused some roar. At this point, everyone has seen the stage, with the accumulation of carpets, lamps, tassels, flowery draperies, all this bric a brac a perfect mix between a Victorian interior and a risqué house in Old New Orleans (I hold photographic evidence, if needed).

Then a very deep voice in French : They are seven... They own superpowers. .. At night, they become the Avengers.... Ladies and Gentlemen, The Copper BottomBand! Enters the band, which starts playing, and Hugh entered on rythm of the music, allowing himself to look -almost- Housian, messy hair, suit, boots, shades, BUT ruffles. Ruffles must soothe him. Or he raided Liberace's closet. There was the traditional speech (in French) on the fact that he used to speak perfect French 30 years ago, but that needs practice, and "I don't practice anything". This, and the regular "one has to be an idiot to sing after her *pulls a face* " after each song by Sista Jean, are the only self deprecating notes this year. He may be growing up :)


Practiced jokes (pretending to open his belt- female cheer- "trust me, you don't want to..." voice trailing off), improvised jokes (girl shouting "I love you", Hugh, "now you promised you wouldn't say that in public"), trolling ("YOU are a much better crowd that Moscow"), ordering ("You are going to sing- better than that- of course you think, I payed, he sings, but that's not how we roll").

Everybody has heard the songs too, so I'll dwell on it. They came back for 3 encore (at this point, the whole ground crowd had left their seats and moved close to the stage) : Mardi Gras, You Can Never Tell (everyone dancing), then Sista Jean clearly urged him on the third. He came back showing empty pockets, saying he had got nothing more, literally, so he offered to play it all back from the start of the show. We cheered, he chickened out, and played I Wanna Be Like You. And they left for good.

After that we went to wait at the backstage door. All the musicians came out and interacted with us, chatting, taking pics, signing. Hugh came last. We saw a man in a red tee and jeans, tousled hair, head a bit bowed, who took a cautious glimpse outside. When we cheered (no yelling, no big move), he lit up. He took a lot of time, signing everything we asked him, chatting, smiling, thanking us, saying "sure" at everyone asking for a pic (to our credit, everyone asked. Politely.) He even posed with people. And turned back one more time, after climbing in the bus. More than 2 hours 15 of music. A happy band and a happy crowd. I hope it will remain an annual rendez vous.

As for personal interactions, I knit a lot. HL wears knitted hats. On a friendly urge, I knitted hats. Not sure he would stop to sign afterwards, I passed them on stage near the end of the show, where they landed on his foot then under the piano. Too bad.

I also own a House guitar, the one HL bought for the crew, complete with the greetings card, his greetings on one side, the sheet music for Stairways to Heaven on the other side. I brought this card, in case there would be a signing. When I handed it to him, he looked at the sheet music and squinted a bit at me, so I told him, this is actually your card, and flipped it. O

He recognized the text, said OMG, how did you get it, and I explained. He listened, smiling, read the card again and chuckled at the text, said OMG again, signed and handed it back, and thanked me for coming. I thanked him.he went to sign for my friend, who told him that I had knitted a hat for him that landed on stage. He said "I felt it.I thought it was a cat or something". She said, well, it's a hat she knitted for you. He turned back to me and softly said "for me?"and I said yes, and he thanked me again, with his hand on his heart. We were lucky to see him in such a good mood. The show went great, and I believe this, and the respectful behavior the crowd showed, lead us to a smiling, happy band afterwards.

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Paris Le Grand Rex, July 9th, 2013
Hugh, bike
vicpei

Paris Le Grand Rex, or the third Paris date.

Once a year I stop consulting early, get on a train for Paris and go to see Hugh Laurie perform. Once a year, watching and hearing him, I marvel at the charm he owns and at the so different abilities he shows.

So far, each show, even with a very scripted frame, has given a different vibe.
The first year in Trianon, still wrapped in House and looking like him, he was giddy to be there almost unexpectedly, we were giddy to see him almost unexpectedly. He was happy but shy and wanting to win us, which he didn't need to. He joked a lot, taunted us a lot, talked a lot.

Last year was very professional, less of a concert, more of a musical performance with lessons in blues. The CopperBottom Band was brilliant, Hugh talked a lot, explaining every song, but seemed to never vary from his speechs. Every gesture, word, scenery was scripted to the second. And he made a point of getting rid of House physically, too.

This year, he seems to have relaxed. The Hugh Laurie Grand Musical Blues Circus turns at its fullest. Of course there is still a trame, I caught recycled jokes, some parts have to be precisely written, BUT he allows himself to deviate from them. He seems to have lost this urge to introduce everything and comment everything because it is HIS show. He looks and acts like the boss, but the band is more on its own, the female singers (such great voices) take the lead on a regular basis, he stays more at his piano. This is a figure of speech : he never stays quiet. The head moves, the legs move, he gets up and turns around the piano, he throws himself on the stage. He is less cautious, almost danced properly before remembering he is supposed to be a funny dancer.

A few glimpses : sadly, we missed him introducing the first act. After this, men in grey coats and flat caps came onto the stage to rearrange the scenery- one of them
looking a bit like HL, wich caused some roar. At this point, everyone has seen the stage, with the accumulation of carpets, lamps, tassels, flowery drapes, all this bric a brac a perfect mix between a Victorian interior and a risqué house in Old New Orleans (I hold photographic evidence, if needed).

Then a very deep voice in French : They are seven... They own superpowers. .. At night, they become the Avengers.... Ladies and Gentlemen, The Copper BottomBand! Enters the band, which starts playing, and Hugh entered on rythm of the music, allowing himself to look -almost- Housian, messy hair, suit, boots, shades, BUT ruffles. Ruffles must soothe him. Or he raided Liberace's closet. There was the traditional speech (in French) on the fact that he used to speak perfect French 30 years ago, but that needs practice, and "I don't practice anything". This, and the regular "one has to be an idiot to sing after her *pulls a face* " after each song by Sista Jean, are the only self deprecating notes this year. He may be growing up :)

Practiced jokes (pretending to open his belt- female cheer- "trust me, you don't want to..." voice trailing off), improvised jokes (girl shouting "I love you", Hugh, "now you promised you wouldn't say that in public"), trolling ("YOU are a much better crowd that Moscow"), ordering ("You are going to sing- better than that- of course you think, I payed, he sings, but that's not how we roll").

Everybody has heard the songs too, so I'll dwell on it. I'm not a good judge in music. I loved it, found full of energy and enthusiasm, and extremely well played. Suffice to say that the band and the crowd thoroughly enjoyed each other. They came back for 3 encore (at this point, the entire floor had left their seats and moved close to the stage) : Mardi Gras, You Can Never Tell (everyone dancing), then Sista Jean clearly urged him on the third. He came back showing empty pockets, saying he had got nothing more, literally, so he offered to play it all back from the start of the show. We cheered, he chickened out, and played I Wanna Be Like You. And they left for good.

After that we went to wait at the backstage door. All the musicians came out and interacted with us, chatting, taking pics, signing. Hugh came last. We saw a man in a red tee and jeans, tousled hair, head a bit bowed, who took a cautious glimpse outside. When we cheered (no yelling, no big move), he lit up. He took a lot of time, signing everything we asked him, chatting, smiling, thanking us, saying "sure" at everyone asking for a pic (to our credit, everyone asked. Politely.) He even posed with people. And turned back one more time, after climbing in the bus. More than 2 hours 15 of music. A happy band and a happy crowd. I hope it will remain an annual rendez vous.

As for personal interactions, I knit a lot. HL wears knitted hats. On a friendly urge, I knitted hats. Not sure he would stop to sign afterwards, I passed them on stage near the end of the show, where they landed on his foot then under the piano. Too bad.

I also own a House guitar, the one HL bought for the crew, complete with the greetings card, his greetings on one side, the sheet music for Stairways to Heaven on the other side. I brought this card, in case there would be a signing. When I handed it to him, he looked at the sheet music and squinted a bit at me, so I told him, this is actually your card, and flipped it. He recognized the text, said OMG, how did you get it, and I explained. He listened, smiling, read the card again and chuckled at the text, said OMG again, signed and handed it back, and thanked me for coming. I thanked him back, and he went to sign for my friend, who told him that I had knitted a hat for him that landed on stage. He said "I felt it. I thought it was a cat or something". She said, well, it's a hat she knitted for you. He turned back to me and softly said "for me?"and I said yes, and he thanked me again, with his hand on his heart. We were lucky to see him in such a good mood. The show went great, and I believe this, and the respectful behavior the crowd showed, lead us to a smiling, happy band afterwards.

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Thoughts on Didn't It Rain, or a Night at the Blues Club.
Hugh, bike
vicpei
1. The St. Louis Blues (HL)
2. Junkers Blues (HL)
3. Kiss Of Fire (G Moreno, HL)
4. Vicksburg Blues (Taj Mahal)
5. The Weed Smoker's Dream (G Moreno)
6. Wild Honey (HL)
7. Send Me To The 'Lectric Chair (JMcLain)
8. Evenin' (HL)
9. Didn't It Rain (G Moreno, J McLain)
10. Careless Love (HL)
11. One For My Baby (HL)
12. I Hate A Man Like You (JMcLain)
13. Changes (HL)

Hugh-Laurie-Didn-t-it-Rain-Photoshoot-2013-hugh-laurie-34253766-683-1024

This is an album. As much as Let Them Talk, two years ago, was a musical pleasant suprise, it was a collection of songs Hugh loved. This time, there is a true atmosphere, one you could almost write a story around. Here's mine. Asked what his dream job would have been, Hugh said it would have been to play the piano in a jazz club, unnoticed, while people enjoyed the atmosphere. (So much for the unnoticed part. Still). It seems to me it's what he is doing here : sitting at the piano, watching people live, sometimes taking the lead, sometimes retreating. He impersonates the piano guy.

As the album begins, it's still daytime and there are people in the club (St Louis Blues). There is a dancing vibe with tango accents (beginning of St Louis Blues, Kiss of Fire). We learn that the piano man is flawed and lonely, and how not to think about House in Junker's Blues? ("People think I'm loaded all the time, but I am happy all the time"). He's not miserable, tho. There is a woman (Kiss of Fire), several women (Wild Honey), other addictions (Weed Smoker's Dream), people to listen to (Taj Mahal in Vicksburg Blues), people worse than him (Send me to the 'Lectric chair). As time goes by (Evenin), nostalgy and sadness grow (Careless Love) until it's the end of the night and the club has to close (One FOr My Baby), and he's not the only one in pain (I Hate a Man like You). But even if there is sadness and nostalgy, there is no despair (Changes). And that is a reason to come back to the club the day after. And that may account for the romantic side HL said he wanted to add.

I'm probably making up all of this, but at least the track list and its order makes my imagination work, which is a good thing for an album. The production is flawless, luxurious I'd say, and could probably have been a little bit more dirtier (cut to HL choking on his drink) to feel like a more bluesy album. This one feels more like Hollywood bluesy, or transition to Jazz/Blues. I picture the Rat Pack here rather than the Deep South.

As voices go, the contributors are great. Jean McLain definitely has a great voice and interpretation, and Gaby Moreno's accent and Spanish add a little more sexiness to the album (which is indeed sexier, given the themes of some songs). The "Kiss of Fire" duet, with Gaby's deep Spanish and Hugh's clear voice, works perfectly.

If I had to complain, I would say that Hugh will never have a Blues voice. It's too high, too clean, too controlled. He definitely has a crooner voice, which gives its best on One For My Baby or, last time, Let Them Talk. He should stick to this type of songs and let the raw voices (Jean McLain and Taj Mahal) sing the strong blues songs. But once in a while, it works, like Wild Honey, which he sings with abandon and delight.

Unchain my Heart, in bonus tracks, is an error for me. Joe Cocker's interpretation, in all his raw emotionality, killed every other possible way to sing it. Hugh's way too controlled and restrained. But if he absolutely wants to keep singing it, then yes, not competing and weeping it quietly may be the way to go.

As I recall, his live interpretation has always been better for me, with the voice gaining depths and gravel. So, I'll let you know how it works, after the Paris concert on July 9th this year...

A testament pic to House, Md
Hugh, bike
vicpei
I stopped watching on May 21th, 2011.
I have heartfelt memories from the years before that.
My own private collection, in progress.

photo

photo(1)

My first HL concert, Paris, Le Trianon, May 2011
Hugh, bike
vicpei
Since I posted reviews of 2012 concerts her, I thought it felt right to add my feelings about the first concert I attended in 2011. It was initially posted at House's House of Whining forum the night after the concert. There is indeed a giddiness at seeing him live in person for the first time. But since this was part of his first tour of 6 dates, and the only French one, there was a clear giddiness from his part, too.
Bear in mind that this was written exactly two years ago.
To start, a blurry but loved pic :
DSC03719

on to the posts :
Just back from the Trianon Concert, still flying. I was in the 5th row, right in the middle, next to Zumi and we had a great time! Great views on Hugh. He looks even better in person. More when I get a better internet access and time to upload pics and vids.
It was really, really worth it!!
Just one more word : Hugh asked for the theater to have more light on the audience, he looked at us all and said we were really beautiful. Since Zumi and I were right in the middle, we are going to pretend he was talking to and about us. Seriously. I won't accept any other explanation.
He said we were beautiful several times before turning the lights back on the band, he apparently wanted to see us and we all cheered and waved, it was nice . He also made a big show of removing his jacket ( with a drumroll) Kind of flirty, indeed. French reputation, maybe? It worked ; we were definitely seduced.
He also offered a Macallan shot to a girl from the front row then made fun of her because she swallowed it and got burned.
Some new bits I'll add and we all sang happy birthday to Simon who brought the whisky.
Hugh looked very Housian, scruff and bedhead. Very smiling, very chatty.
I liked Jericho, Alleluia and Let Them Talk the most. His voice is definitely different, stronger and deeper, nicer live.
I only heard very positive things; and people telling him they loved him
Not heard of House ( saw some tees)
He made a joke about Huddy Leadbelly, pronouncing it Huddy as we would in France for House/Cuddy, so he got a huge reaction from the fangirls, but he was perfectly aware of what he was saying and acted like "oh what did I just do" . It was all very fun and cheery.
More of Paris, then. My two friends and I arrived at Le Trianon at 18.00. (Zumi had already been there until 14.30, and there were people waiting before her!) There was a huge waiting file...I went to meet Zumi who was right in front of the doors, then went back to wait with my friends. We did not move for about ¾ hour, then we got in pretty quickly and quietly. Waiting was not that long, because we were surrounded by other Hugh fanatics and we chatted a lot. We had a fear when one of my friends discovered that she had only printed the purchase receipt, and not the real e-ticket, so she ran to the next cyber café to print it. The staff at Le Trianon was cool and helpful, and getting to the seats was easy without rush. We went to the first balcony, on the right side of the theater, because we were right in front of the piano...and had a great view on it. Then Zumi waved at me from the ground ; she had kept a seat, I left my friends on the balcony and went down to sit with her. We were in the middle of the fifth row, with a great view on both piano and microphone with the guitar. The theater was really very beautiful (it is an historical place) and they played opera while we waited.

Then the band came in and started playing, and Hugh came from the back of the theater, walking in slow motions and taking pauses every few steps. He passed by our seats and he is TALL. He climbed the stairs to the scene and froze, and I understood why old interviews kept comparing him to Buster Keaton : there was something in the face, and the gesture.

He went to the piano, they did the first song and then he came to the microphone and told us a few sentences in French (same as in German, more or less) . Then he said « That's all I've got. » « Je parlais Francais il y a 30 ans, maintenant je vis aux Etats Unis » (I used to speak French 30 years ago, but now that I live in the States....) But he kept saying a few words in French all along : Santé (Cheers), Vous êtes très gentils (You're very kind). He asked us if there were english speaking people, and we all said yes, so he went on. He also told us it was the last show, so it was up to us to make it exceptional. So, we sang, and clapped, and stomped our feet all along. It was very lively, and relaxed. The order of songs was the same, so were the introducing speeches, more or less.

What was new :

He forgot to present the saxophonist after his first solo and got very nervous about it, apologized, went to kneel in front of him, told us he was going to get punished for this and if not, that he was going to do it himself.

He presented us the guy who brought the whisky shots, and told us that it was his birthday, so we all sang « happy birthday » ; Hugh hugged the guy (I think he kissed him), a woman on the balcony shouted that it was also her birthday, very excitedly, and Hugh warned her « Don't jump! »
He gave us his talk on the bonding over Macallan with the musicians, and as a gift to the Gods of music. He said he brought a bottle of it on their first rehearsal, as a peace offering, hoping to find only recovering addicts, but unfortunately they all drank and they ended up « bonding » earlier and earlier.

He offered a whisky shot to a girl in the front row when she asked, telling her to sip it and pass it over, then made fun of her when she got burned (« That's how whisky tastes ») ; It was a very funny moment, you can see it here , if you rotate your head to 90°.
http://telly.com/KT3JE

Later, he asked the first row (again) if they were seeing him when he played the piano, and they said not well. So he asked for a big phone book to sit on, because he didn't know how to play standing up (he tried). Instead, they brought him a big fat red cushion that he actually took. He sat on it while playing.

There was a Huddy slip/joke when he explained how to pronounce Leadbelly's first name. Lots of young girls in the audience roared, he laughed, took his head in his hands and said something like « what did I say/do », it lasted one minut or so and was good-humored laugh, really.

He asked for the lights to be directed on the audience (« I'll pay for it » while putting his hand in his pocket), watched us, we all waved, he said we were really beautiful (several times ), we answered « you too ».

He said we were very kind, nicer than the English, then said « I should not have said that » when the audience cheered.

Simon came back with a second round of shots and he said « See? That's how good he is » and downed his second shot in one gulp.

We had Tipitina as an encore, they came back a second time to wave, and that was it. He did not ask for request, Maineac.

Afterwards, he did a signature backstage, so we took the queue. People could enter ten by ten. Unfortunately, he stopped before we could enter, so we did not get to see him. Instead, we went outside and had dinner with Zumi and my friend.

I found the show very well conducted. Hugh's voice was indeed better live, deeper, fuller, sexier I dare say. Part of the professional photographers that were on the first balcony stayed the whole performance (they were authorised to shoot the first song only) and told my friend it was very good. They stayed because they enjoyed it.

Hugh was very House-like, which startled me a little in the beginning, because I was awaiting clean-shaved Hugh. But in the end, it was like a phantasy coming alive ; very, very pleasant.

And I have to agree with Luna Argentea : he looked and sounded very self confident, like the boss. Not the polite, self deprecating guy the media like to show us. He was smiling, and polite, but I felt where House comes from while looking at him. There is, indeed, a rough, strong side, some mischief awaiting in those eyes. And, just like she said, when these blue eyes get to you, you can almost feel the focus, and the brain behind. I don't think I could worry for him any more ; he may get depressed, but there was a very strong, manly, confident side of him showing. And he was thoroughly enjoying himself. He kept playing with the audience, dare I say flirting ; I did not record the jacket strip with the drumroll, unfortunately.

I forgot!! While singing "You don't know my mind", he started dancing (well - as close to dancing as he can do - that may be his flaw) by just moving his hips. And the first row, close to said hips, had a flailing moment. He did not help by turning around and giving us a nice backside view. You may find videos on twitter, the audience was noisy.
At least, the French girls have been appreciative!

Just for the memories : Jericho : http://telly.com/AAGFE , Let Them Talk : http://telly.com/MD5JV, and a goof on Hallelujah I love her so : http://telly.com/D6XAB

A little charade : the portraits at HL concerts
Hugh, bike
vicpei
Hugh Laurie has been performing in concerts with a portrait close to his piano. It looks like they appeared when he started playing in Europe. The portrait is always someone British, with an obvious or a more difficult-to-find link to the place he is playing at. Is it a personal joke? Is it a game with the audience? How (and why) did he come up with this? Most of them are labelled as "British Comedy/Slapstick Comedy actors/British clowns. Maybe this is still how he sees himself.

Here is what I have got so far. Feel free to help me feel the blanks.

concerts

Edited after several pics added. Still some blanks and connections to find. Thanks to all.

Third time is the charm, or why I love a crankier Hugh Laurie : MonteCarlo concert.
Hugh, bike
vicpei
Third time is the charm, or why I love a crankier Hugh Laurie : MonteCarlo concert.

Three times the same concert, in the span of one year may seem a lot, but no ; because it wasn’t the same man playing. Last year, Hugh was a beginner in this music business ; despite the act, and the confidence, you could sense some insecurity, some shyness left. He kept checking on us, to see if we liked the show. He still had the House look, and the House posture, even if you could not mistake him for his character. In Paris, 15 days ago, he was thoroughly enjoying himself, giving a well written, well trained performance. In Monte Carlo, he delivered an impeccable performance in a more hurried fashion. Even if he was charming and witty, and the show was perfectly professional, it felt more like a job well done than a personal pleasure yesterday. I’ll explain.

The venue : Salle des Etoiles, MonteCarlo. A gorgeous place by the shore. The roof and walls can be opened if needed, which they did during the dinner and supporting act : the view is impressive. They did close it again for Hugh, for a better sound rendition, I suppose. There was a dinner, before the concert. Supposed to be served from 8.30 to 10 pm, before the concert started at 10.30. But the very wealthy audience kept arriving late, eating late, which led to the concert starting more than 20 mn late, which led to a slightly pissed Hugh, IMO, waiting backstage.

He was cheerful, though. Greeted us in multiple languages, since MonteCarlo is an international place : French, Englis, German, Russian. Less French than in Paris, which left me a bit nostalgic. Asked if the dinner had been good, with a bit of jab in his tone. I think the guy doesn’t like to wait, and he, obviously, had a schedule. So he left at the previously due hour, cutting 20 minuts in the show : he spoke faster, there was no whiskey ceremony, no Careless Love, no final Tanqueray. Only one (short) encore with Changes. And, despite, being deprived of 20 mns of Hugh, I like that. I like that he is confident/perfectionist/ not vanilla enough to do as he had decided to. Even if circumstances that he is not responsible for are not in his favour.

The jokes and explanations were here, a few ones I hadn’t heard before : James Booker was gay, which wasn’t easy at his time “and still isn’t”, “you may think I’m a music nerd (whispering “which I am”). He nursed the same shot of “10 years old apple juice” for the entire show. He danced, quite happily, still voluntarily clownishly, but not in a dislocated way. Looking closer, he is perfectly in rhythm even if it could not seem so : http://t.co/uvJ7iprZ. He thoroughly enjoyed himself during Sister Jean’s song, and is still in awe of his band : http://t.co/cM5pojsV.

The audience was – well, older. And quieter, even if they clapped and sang as requested. There was a group of very dolled up women, tho, who did a lot of noise and cheering at first. They made sure he knew it was a birthday party. He asked the birthday girl for her first name and age. She said 40, he said really? Is this your name or your age? Again with a bit of edge. Then sang and played a bit of Happy Birthday for her. Even if it was kind of cute, his voice wasn’t particularly warm. I got under the impression he just wanted to quiet them down. At the same time, a member of the crew came to them and asked them to calm down. Which they did, more or less. They hummed and waved at him a lot, staye up while we were all seating. He made a point of ignoring them after that. They were all busty, spectacular and blonde. On behalf on all the non blonde, non busty, non spectacular, Hugh, Thank you.

My man, who hadn’t seen him before and isn’t particularly fond of blues, agreed that the show was very professional, and that Hugh’s voice was way better than he expected. Given the audience’s reaction at the end, they had a good time. I’m not sure Hugh will consider it one of its best memories. I liked seeing him a bit more sharp, tho. I like that the guy isn’t only a nice, smiling, well bred, self deprecating Brit.

So, next year?

How Hugh unfolded after the end of House, or musings on my second Hugh Laurie concert
Hugh, bike
vicpei

How Hugh unfolded after the end of House, or musings on my second Hugh Laurie concert.

First of all, I disagree: it's not a concert. It's a show, with music, probably his personal vision of a concert, but still, a show. With acting, scripted from beginning to end, with decors, too. A glimpse in the brilliant maze that this man's brain must be. What brings him to play the blues in a comfy british living room decor? With ruffles, carpets, lamps, flags? And where does this portrait idea comes from? On stage, a framed picture, different on every show. The portrait of someone both British and related to the country Hugh is playing in: Queen Victoria in Russia ( grandmother of Queen Alexandra Romanov) , Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouzeau in Paris. Accurate.

Entering with a glass and a Buster Keaton -like dead serious face, like he did last year. Only last year, in Paris, we still had Hugh as House, stubbled, hair mussed. All of this has been erased. Greetings in French, longer and more self assured than last year. Then moving to the music, and I mean it physically: he's moving a lot, stomping, dancing (akwardly, but voluntarily so), in an old ABOFAL fashion.

The apparence : pre House day, ABOFAL days, only older. A tall, thin chap ( he lost weight) clean shaven, oddly clothed. He lost last year's shyness, is way more comfortable on stage, and seems less bossy with the audience. There is less direct interaction, although the quick, sharp wit is there on demand. And he taunted some spectators for being almost asleep in too comfy seats. The audience has changed too : the very young fangirls from last year were not there, or they turned quiet. More music lovers, I guess. And curious people too. The House madness is down a notch.

His voice is deeper, lower, more gravely. Maybe cigarettes and whiskey did the trick? Although the drinking rumors should be toned down; he nursed the same drink until mid-show, and his second glass wasn't empty when he knocked it off the piano at the end.

As for the music, the band has gained experience together and it shows. Sister Jean is awesome, every musician gets his moment. Hugh keeps praising them. The stage tricks are praticed : starting the show using the microphone as a crank, killing his keyboard mimicking a gun, ending the encore playing the piano on his knees after he kicked the stool, Jerry Lee lewis style. Still an acting performance. Old songs : Jericho is still striking, I do love Let Them Talk, Careless love. Tipitina and Swanee River bring clapping. I'm less convinced by his covers of Unchain my Heart (no one can beat Joe cocker on this one), and Yeah Yeah (Matt Bianco's version was hysterically energetic). He plays the guitar well ( watching and hearing Breit's expert solo, he says : I could do that. I choose not to), but he is at his best on the piano. And mostly when he is engrossed in sad pieces like Dear Old Southland, eyes closed, alone. The only tiny moment of the show when House comes back. Because of the posture, and the few notes of Georgia on my mind he plays there, like House did at the end of Saviors. The mind has ways of its own.

Watching him ( and I did a lot of watching...) you can see, -a posteriori- what huge amount of work he did for House, and layers of the construction of the character : there was stubble, hair and the limp, of course. There was the different voice. But there was, too, a very differently constructed gesturing, all restrained for House, when he now shakes these long limbs. And it seems like he lost House's broad shoulders. Like he spent eight years curled up in the character. Since House died, he is unfolding. And he clearly enjoys every second of it, on stage. Good to witness.

I'm curious to see what he will do after that. Rumor has it, he will record a second album in december. Does he consider himself a real blues singer in a second career now, or is he still spreading the love and paying hommage to a music he (obviously) loves? Will he act again, in blockbusters or Indie movies? Will he write, dammit?

Meanwhile, I'll be attending my third concert in a couple of weeks. I'll keep you posted.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

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Interviews in French mags
Hugh, bike
vicpei
HL Series Mag interview : This interview sounds forged. The first paragraph on the car crash is, word for word, David Shore's interview saying « he always believed  that House could kill someone » and he was aiming for the house, not the people inside. Then HL said he found the car crash idea brilliant, because Huddy had to end in an explosive way. He says Huddy had to end badly, because House is too selfish to care about someone else. He says he was surprised by LE departure, which is regrettable for the show, and that the crew and himself will miss her. Says next season will be the last, probably, and that it is his wish. Says he doesn't know what is in for season 8 and hopes that the end of House will be completely unexpected. Says he want to have a quieter lifestyle and take care of his wife, because House's work schedule has had a bad effect on his marriage and they have been close to the end. Then usual stuff on his album, which I remember to have read elsewhere.

The whole thing sounds reharshed from other interviews, for parts, and doesn 't sound like him for others. And the timeline of the interview/events does not fit with HL schedule. I am doubtful.

The LE interview : is an old one, which seems to have been made before the finale was known of LE. The heading of the interview seems to have been added afterwards to mention her leaving the show. They say they could not ask her much because she was supervised by Universal folks, and interview was stopped when they asked her about her departure from House. Remember we are beginning season 6 in France. They mainly talk about House and Cuddy relationship, she explains how it will go, says she doesn 't think House can love a woman because love isn't natural for him. She says she thinks their story is endless. Asked about Hugh, she praises how hard he works and how hard he is on himself. She says they sometimes have long discussions and he told her about his next novel.
She talks about her father, her decision not to have children,her age and how it influences women's career, does not answer when they ask her if she really wants to go and says that after House, she hopes to be in another serie. And they mention the « Move on » ad, just to say she is an activist. No mention of any Fox phone call.

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