Which is kind of all I want to say about her, cos it sums it up really. Blimey. But if I must elaborate, then…well, see, I saw Ms Zaz in the Heimathafen Neukölln a few months ago and was completely blown away, and proceeded to gush and gush about it on this site then, and I hate to just do that again, although really it is what I’d like to do. But I’m trying to avoid it, just to not appear like a complete sycophant.
Still, for the second time now I’m really pretty amazed by the woman. Although it’s true that the Zitadelle Spandau lacked that special close-up experience afforded by a (relatively) small club gig, it was brilliant anyway.
The venue itself must be the visually most lovely in Berlin. Entering from the road on foot you pays yer money and then are faced with the walls of a castle stretching out to left and right, a wide moat with waterlilies floating on the surface and the banks hung thickly with trees. You cross the moat and enter into the citadel which now is filled with a large stage way off in front of you where the support band is playing and you’re confronted by a line of concession stands and so naturally you head for the beer stand where after an inordinate amount of time you are able then to proceed on your way like a character in a video game picking up extra lives before entering the castle itself.
Yeah so we got right to the front which was brilliant. No pushing heaving crowd this. Zaz attracts a more genteel crowd, generally a bit older although no less enthusiastic for all that.
Eventually the band comes out and Zaz bounds out after them and they launch into their set.
The band is cool, they work together well and they can all play, it’s no mean band at all, but really the show is all about the woman. She’s just simply got loads of personality and beams out from her. She’s one of those people who have been gifted with just tons of lebensfreude, and everyone gets caught up in her energy and joy of being.
She kicks off the concert by reading in German off a big sign at her feet a line that says, Be just how you are and don’t be afraid of anyone. Then she launches into the first song and within five minutes the whole crowd is dancing along. Zaz is great at getting the audience to sing along and wave their hands and dance and everything and everyone basically has a really good time. And jesus, what a voice! She’s been referred to as the new Edith Piaf and in fact at one point she sings one of the singer’s biggest songs, La Vie En Rose, and does a beautiful job of it.
The main thrust of the music is French folk with a definite flavour of the south of France and Basque country, but there’s also a big bit in the middle where the drummer comes out and sits with brushes and a snare and they turn into a jazz band, which Zaz obviously really enjoys. After that they do some more mainstream rock/ballad type stuff then it’s more folk and a bit more jazz and then a couple of big numbers to close.
As always I half wish I knew what she was singing about and half don’t mind it at all, and as before I’m blown away by Zaz. Brilliant gig. Great band. Good songs. Lovely lady. Long may she reign.