Live: Yann Tiersen at Thalia Hall

Posted by: Luke Landry

Yann Tiersen is a French musician and composer who now resides on a small island in the Celtic sea. His major breakout occurred when he created the soundtrack for the popular French film, Amélie. On May 18, 2019, he returned for his second two-hour show in a row at the magnificent Pilsen venue, Thalia Hall.

People were seated throughout the entire venue; many were dressed in gorgeous suits and dresses, speaking beautiful languages that I only wish I could understand. It was a picturesque atmosphere that was created not only by Thalia Hall’s stunningly rugged and fulfilling energy, but also by the people who calmly strode through the hall, excited to open their ears to world-like music that would soar through them all. 

The concert commenced after the room became dark and a spoken story began to echo through the hall. It was a story about traveling through the world and how one species’ actions will affect the next. No matter how small the interaction, the way we connect with each other and with those living things that are not so similar to us, will eventually come back in an impactful way. Aligning with the beautiful and thoughtful story, Yann Tiersen glided across stage and sat at his massive piano, effortlessly letting his fingers soar through heart-grabbing rhythms and melodies. 

The sounds that were created throughout the show were often calming, and one would find their breath slowing to a pace that may go undetected. Deep breaths of love and awe filled the hall as neighbor to neighbor we sat mouths ajar. Just when comfort set, moments of anticipation and tension began, and breath would stop. As this tension progressed, musical climaxes would erupt. Overflowing throughout the hall, absolute power and indescribable aural pleasure encompassed us all. 

Through Yann’s set, he invited more sounds to join him on stage. His set featured many pieces from his 2019 release, All. It was the first album to be created at Yann’s new home, called The Eskal, which features a studio, venue, and community center. The Eskal is located on Ushant, a small island in the Celtic sea, where Yann has lived for the past ten years. With Yann’s connection to nature and his surrounding environment, he incorporates live audio from places like the redwood forests of California, the Tempelhof airport in Berlin, and what seems like a playground where children are laughing and playing into his recordings and live performances. Yann would rotate between the many instruments on stage, whether it was his piano, keyboards, tubular bells, melodica, or violin. He also employed guest musicians to sing, play percussive instruments, or help with any other one of the arrays of instruments that were set on stage. While working together, his team created an absolutely stunning atmosphere. 

Visually, a screen sat high above the musicians’ heads. Throughout the set, environmental cinema would appear. The video would feature still or slow-moving camerawork that captured a calming sea, a bristling forest, or a rushing river through a valley. The screen was not employed for the entirety of his concert, let alone the majority. Instead, it was accompanied by a dazzling and calming light display. In addition, there were eight thin rods that stood upright and were dispersed equally throughout the stage. These rods would alter in color and would pulsate in rhythm to create an all-encompassing environment.

Following an absolutely gorgeous hour and a half set, Yann waved the crowd goodbye and exited the stage. Everyone in the hall rose from their seats and gave the most real encore I have ever been apart of. Loud cheers and applause echoed through the venue without waver until Yann emerged back on stage. He sat at the piano with total nonchalant composure as if he wasn’t putting on the greatest show I have ever seen at Thalia Hall. One last time, he began a musical progression as if adrift a calming sea, and then caught in a roaring storm.

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