The well know French rapper OrelSan was back in Brussels for two nights on 4 and 5
November. The 40-year-old rapper from Caen (France) was back for the second part of his
“Civilisation” tour, he had already come to the Palais 12 in March and he was one of the
headliners of the festival “Les Ardentes” (Liège) in July
OrelSan is described as a rapper because he was rapping when he started in 2002. But today
he is not considered only as a rapper, he can be considered as a conscious rapper, but he can
also be described as a singer. OrelSan likes to use his voice to talk about social and political
issues. In Brussels the public was varied between 15 and 65 years, his songs are powerful and
meaningful especially for adults. He has won the Victoires de la musique 9 times.
He is no longer a rapper, now he is a singer.
It’s 8pm and the band 3% enters the stage, they are 3, Mao, Floyd and JD accompanied by
Phazz a well know producer in the French rap industry. They introduced themselves in music
and tell us the story of a girl in a trilogy. The pit looked happy but it was not the same
atmosphere for the sitting audience. A good energy but a more classical rap than what we
came to see.
It’s time for OrelSan to jump on the stage, all the lights on, he comes in from the side, high
five everyone in the front row and then comes on stage. Just a mic in hand he is alone still
with all lights on and he is talking about something he has been working on for months, fans
who have seen his documentary (Montre jamais ça à personne) know what he is talking
about. He simply sings the opening lines of his song “Jour Meilleur” and lets the crowd sing the
chorus. An emotion of unison sweeps through the Palais 12.
Then his musicians come to stage with him and play 2 songs with the light on, it felt like a
little reunion between friends. At one point we wondered if he was going to turn the lights off
or if it was going to be a friendly show from start to finish. And then the lights go out.
The sheets come down and there’s a big stage, with massive screens. There is an amazing set
of lights and visuals, it’s colourful and well thought out. There are 4 main parts to the show.
First we heard songs from the latest album “Civilisation”, then he played a big medley with
10 songs from older albums such as “Perdu d’avance” (2009) and “Le Chant Des Sirènes”
(2011), he created an old bedroom atmosphere with all his friends and invited 2 fans from the
pit to come on stage to play a video game Civilisation Fighters (his video game created for
the tour) against each other. About 1h15 has passed and he announces the last song. He says
goodbye and leaves. But the lights are still off.
Everyone knows it’s not over.
He comes back with the third part mainly songs from his album “La fête est finie” and starts
with “San” from a platform at the top of the stage, everything is black you can’t see his
musicians anymore it’s just him under a blue light and us in a totally black Palais 12. He also
sang his song “Notes pour trop tard” from another platform that recreated his teenager
bedroom; first we saw him on the screen and as the song played, we saw this big room
coming from behind the stage.
He sang lying on the floor during “Shonen”, sitting on the edge of the stage in front of the fans
during “Ensemble” and jumping for “Du propre”. He gave us an almost 2 hour show with jumps
all the time, he gave all his energy for his audience with more than 30 songs (medley
included). He was as always accompanied by his friends, Manu (drums), Phazz (keyboard
and multi-platinum producer), Skread (Grammy Award Winning Producer), Ablaye
(backliner), Eddie Purple (Guitar, bass and keyboard) and Dylan (the most famous
cameraman on TikTok this summer).
The show was incredibly good, most of us came with no expectations, but we ended up
getting chills and goosebumps the whole time. It’s a show worth seeing. It was not a simple
rap concert; it was an experience. To finish his trip to Brussels, he received his Platinum disc
for his album Civilisation on November 5th.
OrelSan is a name to remember.