“Music Man” by Gregory Charles: music as an extreme sport
After touring his Music Man show across English Canada for nearly a decade, Gregory Charles will pose for the very first time on Quebec soil this week. And beware: it is the spectators who will hold the reins of the evening… from the end of their smartphone.
Of course, we always expect to see Gregory Charles improvise on stage when we buy a ticket to see him perform. It goes without saying. We even hope so, so legendary is his ability to seize the ball and lead us into unusual and interactive musical sequences.
But with Music Man, it is without the slightest net that he sets off night after night. The program for these shows? Gregory Charles is totally unaware of its content when he takes his place behind the piano. Because it draws all the titles delivered on stage – on average around forty per performance – from special requests sent in real time by people in the room.
How? They just have to connect to the event's virtual platform and interact directly with Gregory Charles and his gang. This still requires impressive cerebral gymnastics for the singer and musician. But the game is worth the effort since it allows him to keep his finger on the pulse of the public throughout the show.
“I do a lot of things at the same time; I create music, I sing songs and I read what people write to me as they go. So you never know where the evening will take you. And that's what gives moments of grace every night,” says Gregory Charles in an interview with Journal.
And it is precisely for these “moments of grace “that he continues to chain projects of the genre. The adrenaline and the pleasure felt on stage are comparable for him to the exaltation felt – and sought after – by parachute jumpers, for example.
“The fact of improvising, I do not do it out of pretension; it's a search for thrill, for strong sensations like people who do extreme sports”, he attests.
“The best singer »
This musical “extreme sport” is not practiced solo, but in a group. In addition to being flanked by his musicians, Gregory Charles is accompanied every evening by his accomplice Kim Richardson. Or, in his own words, “from the best singer [he] knows”.
“I have moments at every show to throw myself on the floor, moments when I give thanks to the heaven for creating Kim Richardson. That woman can sing anything. We have a great bond and what happens between us and the musicians every night… it's exhilarating”, explains Gregory Charles.
The show Music Man will be presented at the Théâtre du Casino du Lac-Leamy, in Gatineau, on February 9 and 10.