The esplanade de Bercy bears his name, “it will allow us to meet among fans”

Under the threatening sky, thunderous noises resound. Those of the roaring bass of guitarists and the engine rumbles of bikers. The concert of his two passions: what more beautiful melody to pay homage to Johnny Hallyday? It was on the occasion of the inauguration of the Johnny-Hallyday esplanade on Tuesday, in front of the AccorHotels Arena in Bercy, in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, that his family, musicians, bikers and fans, gathered. Yvan Cassar, Yarol Poupaud and Robin Le Mesurier, musicians close to the singer, notably host the concert.

“Paris pays homage to one of its children,” says Anne Hidalgo. The mayor of Paris believes that the rock star deserves to see his name inscribed on a plaque because he is “the idol of young people, who became the idol of a generation, before fate made him a legend. Johnny has stood the test of time, he has become a legend. “

Overlooked by Johnny’s bar, the esplanade is imprinted with the memory of the singer and the hundreds of concerts he gave at the Accor Hotels Arena. A memory materialized by the work of Bertrand Lavier entitled That I love you and unveiled during the inauguration. This sculpture which “freezes the quintessence of what Johnny inspired, music, motorbikes and freedom”, according to Laeticia Hallyday, represents a motorbike suspended at the top of a guitar neck.

Mixed reviews of the Johnny tribute sculpture

However, it is not unanimous. “She’s ugly,” slips a biker to his group of friends. Further on, Yasmine, another biker, confirms: “I don’t like it at all. I don’t recognize Johnny in it. Maybe some have a more abstract mind than me so I respect but I thought we were going to see it, that it would be a bust of Johnny. Another group, in fact, is more understanding. “The neck of the guitar and the motorbike are still symbolic. It really looks like him. Johnny didn’t want a statue of him, he never liked it, ”says Nathalie.

Bertrand Lavier’s work in homage to Johnny Hallyday – Jacques Witt / SIPA

The fans, like Yasmine, still agree on one thing: “At least we have him closer to us. When we love Johnny, we want to have him next to us. “” It’s a way to collect each other, it will allow us to meet with fans, to come and pray, because for three and a half years we have only had the Madeleine “, adds Monique. The singer’s grave is far from Paris, in Saint-Barthélemy. So, every 9th of the month, fans gather at the Madeleine where a mass is celebrated in his honor.

Anne Hidalgo therefore sees in this esplanade a new place “where all the fans could come and collect themselves, without going to the other side of the Atlantic where Johnny now rests, at the foot of the waves. “And to fill the fans, the music continues this Tuesday evening, with a concert broadcast on France 2 at 9 pm.

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