Chris Rea is a guy who wanted to rock without being a rock star at a time when the Dire Straits and Bruce Springsteen were at the top of the charts. He's a diesel who took a long time to get started but who finally managed to make a place for himself alongside his idols, selling more than 30 million albums on both sides of the Atlantic.
This lover of beautiful cars, Formula 1 and Ayrton Senna takes us to the edge of the blues, in a road-trip that we imagine sunny and windy and which has known few breaks in 40 years. It tells the story of our wanderings, our strolls, our destinies through journeys that are sometimes sentimental, sometimes epic and sometimes as banal as a road that crosses a monotonous landscape over kilometres. With a voice that is broken, hoarse and tailor-made for the genre he loves so much, he reminds us of an old backpacker who would tell anyone about his adventures with nostalgic accents.
Against a backdrop of licked melodies, endless introductions, sounds calibrated for radio waves and even his lack of charisma are nevertheless pointed out by critics. So many obstacles along the way that Chris Rea has no use for. Anyone who has looked death in the eye after pancreatic cancer no longer has time for these squabbles.
If he staked everything on his hit-maker talents at the beginning of his career, what he wants to do from now on is to continue doing the blues, with frankness and simplicity, as he always did. And if his career and his concerts have become more intimate, he prefers to rejoice and hit the road as always, his banjo slung across his shoulder.
Chris Rea takes his time to get into music. Originally, he wanted to be a journalist and he bought his first guitar at the age of 19. It was only four years later that he decided to embark on a full-time career as an artist.
After playing in the band Magdalene without success, Chris Rea decided to go solo. His first album, Whatever Happened to Benny Santini? was released in 1978. The title Fool (If You Think It's Over) was his first success and he won a gold record in the United States.
The 80s were prolific, with the artist releasing almost one record a year. And this time, he met with success in Europe through flagship titles that instantly made people want to hit the road, such as On The Beach (1986), Josephine (1987) and especially The Road to Hell in 1989, which reached number one in the English charts.
In the early 2000s, the singer announced that he was suffering from pancreatic cancer. He then defies death during a 2 p.m. operation where his chances of survival are slim. This event marked a turning point in his career as he decided to return to his first love: the blues. He said: "I've never been a rock or pop star, and maybe my illness has given me the chance to do what I've always wanted to do with music".
It was obvious that Chris Rea's journey was not going to end so quickly. After several film and documentary projects around his second passion for cars and Formula 1, he will release a new opus in 2017, Roads Song for Lovers. And we instantly fall back under the spell of his ballads by imagining the landscape passing through the window of an old car.
Chris Rea had been on my list for a long time and I'm really happy to have made the journey to experience this incredible show! He really has a unique voice and his performance of Road To Hell was a highlight, just as I expected.
Chris Rea's simplicity and discretion is in the wake of the great artists of his generation such as Clapton or Dire Straits. His music is timeless and always sounds like an invitation to hit the road to a still unknown destination. His hoarse voice lends itself particularly well to his intimate concerts, like a stroll among friends that we never tire of sharing with him.
Malt voices, slide-guitar slices, catchy rock/blues melodies, the road is now mapped out. From sunny cool swing to radio-crafted turnarounds, Mister Rea will impose his label, from album to album, bottleneck after bottleneck, selling his records by the millions up to the majestic The Road To Hell and his follow-up Auberge, which mark the pinnacle of his career.