Los Angeles’ European contingent — led by former French president Nicolas Sarkozy — was out in full force Wednesday night for Carla Bruni’s concert at The Orpheum Theatre downtown in support of her new album, “French Touch.”
“It’s so chilly in Los Angeles today, but you are so warm,” Bruni purred as she sauntered around the stage in all black leather jeans, T-shirt, blazer and ankle boots. (She changed into what looked like a Balmain band jacket after a brief intermission.) The crowd was full of seasoned continental types also donning leather pants and all manner of black clothing, along with recognizable faces such as Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan and his swimsuit designer wife Susan Holmes, actress Lucila Solá, Nathalie Marciano, and two other model contemporaries of Bruni’s, Elaine Irwin and Patricia Velásquez.
Sarkozy emerged from the wings and slid into a seat in the orchestra next to David Foster as the lights were dimming, but he didn’t remain unnoticed because his wife referenced “my man” several times and sang a song she wrote for him, with the chorus “triste garçon,” or “sad boy.”
Bruni’s fourth album, produced by Foster, features a range of English language standards, pop and rock songs reinterpreted in her signature French vocal stylings. The Rolling Stones’ “Miss You” and AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” were followed by “Crazy,” the song by Willie Nelson that was first redone by Patsy Cline, and Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence,” ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All” and “Moon River,” made famous by Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” She also sang some of her most popular French songs, and one in Italian. Bruni, who has been writing and performing music for 20 years, was born in Italy but raised in France from the age of seven.
She’s well-versed in chatting up her audience, offering bon mots such as her take on “Highway to Hell”: “Every time I am singing this song onstage, I wonder if maybe going to hell is funner? Or maybe it’s just warmer.”