Christine And The Queens - o2 Apollo, Manchester
Unapologetically herself as ever, Héloïse Letissier, aka Christine and The Queens, blessed Manchester Apollo with a performance on Wednesday night, which can only be otherwise described as art. Fascinatingly captivating, the entire set was theatrical; with dancers and aesthetics to explore gender, sexuality and desires, the audience get to know Letissier, now reinvented as 'Chris', in a way they’ve never been able to before.
To say the gig was sold out would be a huge understatement; as the venue was packed to the brim with fans of all ages, all eager to experience the new, reborn ‘Chris'. If everyone in the room was aware of Letissier’s work before or not, after the performance she delivered, they were guaranteed to leave in awe of her music. The passion put into every song and dance was undeniable, making even a gig in one of Manchester’s larger venues feel so truly intimate, as Chris sold her soul on stage for all to see.
Opening her set with Comme Si, dancers take to the stage as the songs synth begins and eyes scan the room for the presence of Christine and The Queens. Radiating charisma and energy, Letissier bounces on stage and immediately her dance routines are underway. From the get go, it is clear that this show is going to be hugely entertaining, yet different from anything fans have seen previously.
Alongside the dancers, visuals also played a strong role in the nights performance, with the stages setting changing throughout the show. As the backdrop of mountains falls to the floor to reveal artwork of crashing waves, Letissier claims "We are breaking down walls Manchester". With every aspect of the show so cleverly crafted together, nothing is misplaced and everything has its purpose; as colour and lighting are too used in the exploration of power and boundaries.
"This is a safe space" she promises the crowd between songs, ‘a night to reinvent yourself, to experiment’. That’s the beauty of a Christine and The Queens show, anything goes, with no emotion or expression seen as too unconventional. Despite the diverse crowd, Letissier possesses a power to bring everyone under the same roof together, encouraging them to embrace their own uniqueness and everything that makes them stand out in the world. Her speech soon cleverly segways into the beginning of her next song, as she shouts "This is Science Fiction".
Fans are also treated to an acapella version of her emotional French song Nuit 17 à 52; A powerful voice that is still as smooth as silk, the audience remain captivated throughout the entire song, singing the melodies of the chorus back to Letissier as she smiles at their efforts. A set full of quirks and surprises, her song blends flawlessly into Michael Jackson’s Man in The Mirror before the band rejoin on stage for one of her newer tracks, Doesn’t Matter.
The real treat of the night has to be the encore. Shirtless, she holds her red shirt in her hand, dangling it over the balcony with the spotlight beating down on her. As said earlier in the night, Chris really had broken down walls throughout the show, ending her setlist with her realist self, as she performed Saint Claude. Not quite finished, for her last song Chris runs from the balcony to the pit of the crowd; surrounded by her dancers she radiates vivacity and a passion sure to stay with the audience long after they leave the room.