It was not until the age of twenty-two that the young Héloïse Letissier created Christine and the Queens shortly after moving to London from Paris. Christine would become the identity that helped her find the strength and courage to express herself both in her personal and artistic life. Since then, she has taken the world by surprise, crossing the pond with her debut, Chaleur Humaine (Human Warmth), and embarking on her first solo tour in the US in October.
The anticipation was rising high for the sold-out show at the Showbox Market as fans screamed and clapped waiting for Christine to come out. As soon as her figure appeared through the door they became louder. I even heard a few people behind me in first row say things like, “I can’t deal with this excitement, I’m going to die,” and, “There she is; I think I’m going to faint.”
She quickly took the stage with her dancers (her “Queens,” as she calls them), all dressed in black, including her three musicians that stood on the left and right side. She stood in the middle towards the back of the stage with two dancers, facing the white projector screen that hung on the wall. She started by dancing slowly and singing “Starshipper,” as she then turned around facing the crowd, revealing herself. The next song, “Half Ladies,” brought out two more dancers and another choreographed piece.
Her dancing alone was something to enjoy throughout the night as she paraded back and forth the stage creating something that seemed so organic and interpretive yet well-rehearsed. When she sang her slower-tone pieces, a mic stand would appear in the middle as she poured her emotions through her words.
She wasted no time letting the fans know what her intentions for the night were. “I hope you all have a great time tonight, I want you to know that for our time together, this is a free zone. You are free to experiment, change your name, if you want to become a bicycle you can,” she said. “Who am I to judge you, really? I grew up wanting to be everything. A little boy always dreams of becoming a man.” This was the moment the light in the very front of the stage lit up and provided a large shadow as she stood in the middle of the floor, playing “iT.”
She continued with “Paradis Perdus,” a mashup cover of Christophe’s “Les Paradis Perdus” and Kanye West’s “Heartless,” which is such a beautiful rendition. It was a little ironic that not that far away, West was singing his tune, as he was in Seattle on the same night. “If you know the words, please sing along,” and the crowd followed her command during the chorus of the song.
She then followed with “No Harm Is Done,” before stopping again to chat with the fans. They screamed loudly as she walked back and forth, looking at them and saying that they are wonderful and that she was really feeling like a rock star tonight. “Believe it or not I don’t always feel this way. Probably because the world gives us precise shapes to fill, but I don’t fit in any of those, and I know I’m not the only one,” she said as people clapped and screamed, showing they agreed. “I decided to stop caring and I feel much better these days. You see this world of ours feels very straight and I feel a little more “Tilted” than that,” as she made a clever intro to her hit song.
The main set ended with her dancing around for her songs “Intranquillite,” “Saint Claude,” and “The Loving Cup.” She returned to the stage chatting with the fans, sharing what a great experience the US tour has been, highlighting events that seemed unreal, like playing Jimmy Fallon, RuPaul tweeting at her, and discovering all of her audience. Then she suggested, “We’re going to try something, you’re going to sing in French on the next song, it’s quite easy just follow my lead,” as “Nuit 17 a 52” began. After her guidance and a little effort she declared, “You are now all French citizens! The wonderful performance came to an end with the venue bathed in light from everyone’s cellphones. The rising star was everything we expected and much more, and we can’t wait for the next chapter in her career.
(Check out more photos from the show HERE.)