“Eric Cantona declares, during one of his debut performances as a musician, ‘From one dream stage to another dream stage’.”
In a record-breaking 12 minutes, the legendary Manchester United player sold out two nights of shows. As he emerges onto the balcony, his arms are raised in a Christ-like pose, and he is greeted with a thunderous applause rarely seen for a debut performance. As he walks towards the stage, a fan rushes towards him causing a moment of panic for the security team, while a barrage of cameras captures the moment as if it were a glamorous red carpet affair.
The former football player, who took up songwriting during the lockdown, stands at the microphone in a long black coat, sunglasses, hat, and red tracksuit bottoms. His raspy and deep yet whispery voice is reminiscent of the late Leonard Cohen’s later works. A cello provides a bass-like accompaniment, with subtle jazz elements blending with looping neoclassical piano. The track “The Friends We Lost,” dedicated to those who have passed away, is particularly moving and heartfelt, enhanced by the passionate and emotive cello playing, while Cantona’s gentle vocals add to the overall effect.
The ambiance is characterized by tranquility rather than chaos on the terrace. Despite having only four songs available on the I’ll Make My Own Heaven EP, Cantona’s audience calmly absorbs new material that he has chosen to record during his live performances, which will be released as his first album next year.
In a recent song, Cantona croons over a soft electronic rhythm about being a lizard enjoying sex on the beach cocktails in a bar. Suddenly, a cello comes in and adds a burst of energy to the hissing electronics and frantic piano, creating an eccentric and funny experimental avant-rock piece.
Cantona’s singing abilities are mostly limited to lower pitches, and when a song requires a stronger or more energetic performance, he either refuses or struggles to reach those levels and resorts to a rougher whisper. This can make things feel monotonous and repetitive, especially during a long 90-minute performance.
As Cantona exits the stage, the attentive crowd can no longer contain their excitement. They rise to their feet and erupt into a unified football chant. And thus, Cantona concludes the evening in the same manner he began: with his head tilted back and arms extended, basking in the enthusiastic applause of a crowd that almost worships him.