Festival d’été, another year of success

In past years, the Festival d’été in Quebec City was for me an occasion to see an endless number of underground quality bands, and maybe one mainstream band for an incredibly low price every year. The Bravery, The Frequency, Metric, The New Cities, Pascale Picard are just a few of the artists I had the chance to discover, while I also saw some of the greatest artists ever like Kanye West, Akon, Wyclef Jean and Linkin Park.
This year, the line-up for the festival seemed more targeted towards an older audience with artists like Kiss, Placido Domingo, Styx and Sting being the main bands playing during the week. Though not a die-hard fan of any of these bands, I still decided to buy the pass for the festival, thinking that all these guys are legends, and even if I mostly don’t know their songs, the show they would give should be amazing.
So, in the past weeks, I got all of Kiss’ and Sting’s greatest hits and listened to that full time to get in the mood. On Thursday I went to see Kiss, and I was totally stunned. Fireworks, make-up, spandex and rock ‘n roll music was a perfect blend for an awesome show in front of over 80 000 people. The now not-so-young Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons still gave a performance that is now in my top 5 shows I’ve seen in my life.
And then, on Saturday, I went to see Sting. Sting was not on a tour and he had spent the week in Quebec, repeating with his all-star team of musicians, Dominic Miller, David Sancious and Josh Freese, who have played with people like Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen and Nine Inch Nails. They basically created a new show in a few days and then performed it on stage in front of a crowd that looked even bigger than the one at Kiss. Though not as visually impressive as the Detroit band, the musical atmosphere Sting created was incredible, and it pleased a crowd that was formed of people that ranged from 15 to 70. When he played Every Breath You Take, time seemed to stop and every single person in the audience sang along. It was really something special.
In the end, even if I did not relate much to the bands at this year’s Festival d’été, I still had a great time watching a high quality of music throughout the week (big props to Gym Class Heroes also) and I’m anxious to see what I’ll discover in 2010.
In the meantime, check out the video for one of my favorite Sting songs, Desert Rose.


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