Summer mystery: Who was the French rock star we saw?

For a Sunday side note, I am just realizing that this forum is a perfect place to ask for help with our households’ big mystery of the summer: Who was the French rock star(?) we saw?

Here’s the story:

On one of the warmest summer days of the year my boyfriend and I dropped of the toddler with the grandparents and headed to Biarritz to enjoy an outing together before the newborn left my body. The outing, a concert with Neil Young and Crazy Horse (I swear I am so born in the wrong decade music wise … ), was high on my list of must-see musicians – and I had looked forward to the evening for a long time. Honestly though, I was a bit nervous for how it would go, since in my whale-like condition I did not handle neither the heat nor the prospect of having to stand up for 4-5- hours straight to well, though I tried my best to put my game face on. Knowing me very well, my sweet boyfriend reassured me that we were very close to the hospital in Bayonne, were I was going to give birth, so I could just relax and let go. Well, thank you honey!

Anyhow – we made it to the concert and while trying to find our way around the stadium, we wanted to access a staircase. A security guard stopped us, but I am not so easily stopped (especially when that whole big body was first put into motion), so I asked in my broken French: “On peut pas passer – maiiis … pour qoui? C’est le VIP?” The guard answered: “Oui, Oui Madame, c’est le VIP. You need a special bracelet … “ but then stopped himself in the middle of the sentence, took a good long look at my sweaty face and my gigantic belly and said “ … but for you it is okay … please go in”. Ha. Thank you, Mr. Security Guard, I am forever grateful. So - we saw Neil Young sitting down at good spots, had access to free water, free beers and, most importantly, nice clean toilets of the running water kind!

The VIP area was of the usual lounge-in-a-stadium-kind, but the guests were somewhat different. I do not think it’s because the general age group that listens to Neil Young is, well, a generation or two older than me, but rather the fact that the VIP area was for the sponsors of the events, but there was not much rock’n’roll over the place (I do hope I don't offend anybody here - but think in the line of pink shirts for the men, and pastel-colored big flowered shirts / dresses for the women). So when a cool group in their late 30s, early 40s walked in, they for sure arose attention. In to the pastel coloured group of people entered 3 women of the Charlotte Gainsbourg / Lou Doillon kind, along with 2 men. One curly haired, tattooed, baggy pants in the cool-non-teenage-way man (the guitar player, we nicknamed him). And one man, a bit older than the rest (late 40s or 50s), and very very cool. Short greyish hair, jeans, denim jacket, wayfarer sunglasses. We had already spotted him when he walked over the grass to reach the VIP area – and judged him to be a big Neil fan who hadn’t changed his style since the hey-days of “Harvest”. Well – much to our surprise, we were not the only ones that found him cool. Because during the concert several people walked over to talk to him, get an autograph, get their pictures taken with him. And they were star struck. Literally. Getting shy, beaming, stuttering. Both men and women. In the age group 30s and up (but that had probably more to do with the fact of where we were sitting).

Now my question is this: who was it?!

(Yes, I know we should have asked somebody there, but we were too busy “rockin’ in the free world” ..)

It drives me crazy. I now scan all the glossy magazine covers every time I go to the supermarket (a detour that costs I can tell you since the toddler is with me and quickly seize the opportunity, graps a Miffy magazine and won’t let go), but do not know what else to do. A google search for “French rockstar” is kind of not helping. I only know that it is NOT Jean-Louis Aubert, though around his age and a tad more rock’n’roll.

So, let me hear from the network. Do you have any ideas? Shoot away …

Johnny Hallyday?

I've seen the Nouvelle Star show with Phillipe as music critique - he comes across as a real 'rock and roll' lover and really likes the contestants to show some pluck and be original. Glad you got to see some interesting things in your heavily pregnant condition :)

WOAHOOOOW and BADABING! Johnny - I am SO impressed! Within a very short period of time, you first nailed Martins question spot on - and then ... in the first go - you nailed mine.

I didn't even have to do an extensive search since a Google image search for your first suggestion, Philippe Manoeuvre, proved right! Luckily I was doing this search at home, alone, so nobody heard my laughter, my shouts and my high appraisal of your answer - I must have sounded like a mad woman!

So Johnny, you have been very very useful - and I now know who to go to when I begin my quest of learning more about French music (it is disgraceful - I do not know a lot more than Edith Piaf, Zaz, Daft Punk and Air). But first I will look through your blog.

One thing I have to ask though ... WHY is a music critic being idolized like we saw it? In the household we have two ideas: my boyfriend believes it's because he is a legendary music-journalist and people approves of his work. I am much more sceptic since no good music journalist have ever seen that kind of attention, so I believe he must have been exposed on tv or ...? Do you know?

Finally I have to say that when looking through the images I have to agree with you - on most of them he does not look as cool as he was the day we saw him.

Anyway, Johnny, you are great and now I will look at your blog.