Second day for me at Gent Jazz, and seventh day of the festival. Today for some Belgian acts and the headliner of the night, the French singer Zaz, who made me put a request to attend the festival as a photographer, and hopefully see her from the photopit!
At 10 pm came the moment of the night that most people were waiting for, the appearance of Zaz on that stage, that was nicely decorated with a tree and some candles. But that didn’t happen as one would expect though. Few minutes before the start, the tent was almost full again, photographers in place, and we were announced that Zaz was coming from the public and the stairs on the photo pit had to be removed and the area cleared. So I jumped on one of the flat areas of the crash barrier, and waited impatiently for the show to start. First the band started playing, and finally, we started hearing Zaz singing “Les jours heureux”. We couldn’t see her at first, everyone was looking in all directions, and suddenly there she was, walking among a very excited and surprised audience, towards the stage. From the moment she set foot on that stage, the audience was hooked, making everyone dance with her contagious energy. If that was not already good enough, she prepared a small text in Dutch that she read after putting on her glasses, saying that “Elke dag leven wij met magie. Maar we zijn er zo gewend aan geraakt dat we het soms vergeten”, and lit a candle for peace, for respect, and for that every person each person stands for themselves. Good vibes were spread throughout the concert with her enthusiasm and her jazz folk gipsy music, and her non-stop movement all around the stage and constant engagement with an audience that complied with every demand when asked to repeat and sing what she was asking. I was ready to leave to take again the last train, but she started with some of her most known songs like “On Ira”, or “Je Veux”, and I decided to take the risk and stay to listen and dance to these last songs. It was obvious that these were also the songs that most people new the lyrics from as she had a big amount of attendants singing along with her. While in the train, I had to check the last songs on my phone, through Instagram stories, and I was very sad to see that I missed the pink ending with “La Vie en Rose” and the public using their phones to light up the tent.
Before Zaz and up at the Main stage was Hooverphonic, first time at Gent Jazz, and who kept the upbeat and cheerful atmosphere left by Isolde. The singer captivated me with her moves while I was flowing her around with my camera, although this time only for the first three songs. They pulled out a bunch of covers that were beautiful remade, and I enjoyed the concert even better from the audience far away from the stage, feeling the energy from the almost full tent. We even had the pleasure to enjoy “Vinegar & Salt”, played cosily eoth only vocals and piano.
The opener of the Main Stage was Isolde Lasoen, native from Ghent, and what a difference to finally be allowed on the pit. Moreover, for this show we were allowed to stay for the whole show, as Isolde was playing musical chair with another band member, to switch from drums to the marimba and other instruments, while singing in English, French. And even sometimes opening a song with vocals played from a tape. Although the beat of the performance was not always cheerful enough to engage the audience, they did know how to make the crowd dance.
The day though, started at the Garden Stage, where Anthe opened the day with her enchanting melodic voice accompanied by a long piano, and another singer Luna Maes, creating like a ying and yang image with their blond and white dress for Luna, and the brown and dark black dress for Anthe. Their voices matched perfectly while the public was listening relaxed, laying on the grass, allowing everyone to just close their eyes and stay present to enjoy the beautiful sounds. That day was again one of those days where I regretted not knowing that much Dutch, as the girls were giving some explanations in between the songs. So, with Anthe music still ringing in my ears, I went almost floating back to the office to take a refreshment and head to the Main Stage for the big shows. Other bands performing at that stage that day were Elias D'Hooge Trio, which were mixing traditional jazz with improvisation, and later on the duo Sleam Tomo.
Elias D'Hooge Trio
dinsdag 11 juli 2023, Gent Jazz 2023 (Gent, BE) | Foto's & tekst: Cristina Vergara