Concert Reviews Music

 Concert review: Stromae makes his grand return to Montreal 

 The Bell Centre was filled with 14 thousand people on Friday as Belgian artist Stromae gave a stunning performance accompanied by futuristic stage effects.

Stromae stopped in Montreal last weekend for the first of his four concerts in the city. The shows are part of his North American tour to promote his latest album Multitude. The album was long awaited by the fans after the francophone singer’s eight-year hiatus.

South African artist Sho Madjozi opened the show with a dynamic performance, riling up the crowd. Thirty minutes later, the concert officially started and the wait was more than worth it. A sci-fi short film played on stage, featuring an animated Stromae in a futuristic world. The crowd went wild as the artist himself appeared with his band to start the show with “Invaincu,” the first song on Multitude. 

Montreal welcomed back the 37-year-old singer with intense enthusiasm, which was also noted by Stromae. “We were at Madison Square Garden, and they weren’t making as much noise as you,” he told the fans. 

There was no dull moment during the concert. Beyond the wonderful vocals, there were amazing stage effects: colourful animations, robotic arms in constant movement and vibrant lights, all of which helped make the experience captivating for the audience. Stromae filled the stage with his signature gawky moves as the packed arena sang along.

The pop singer craftily balanced performing his new songs alongside some of his classics, like “Formidable” and “Papaoutai.” With almost a billion views on YouTube, the latter is his most popular song and helped expand the Belgian artist’s fame beyond the French-speaking world.

Even in the seated areas, fans were up and dancing as Stromae sang his more upbeat tracks, like “Bonne journée.” He calmed things down intermittently with softer songs like “Riez.” 

During the concert, the pop artist didn’t shy away from performing his more socially-conscious songs with heavy subjects like misogyny, mental health, and prostitution. “Quand c’est?”, a play on words for cancer, was one of the highlights of the night, the performance made eerie by the moving screens filled with black goo.

The singer took the time to name and thank everyone on his team, from the band to his marketing team, and also his wife who was present in the audience. As the show ended, he teased his fans by leaving the stage but another short film appeared on screen, where an animated Stromae from 2009 could be seen playing music. The crowd went crazy at the implication. Indeed, the singer came back on stage to close the show with his breakout song “Alors on danse.”

After receiving a five-minute-long standing ovation, Stromae — who was visibly touched — performed an encore to the delight of the crowd. The artist asked for complete silence as he sang an ethereal acapella version of “Mon Amour” accompanied by his band, concluding the amazing night.

Photo by Tatiana Mulowayi-Pelletier

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