Pharrell leaves Montreux festival fans wanting more

MONTREUX Switzerland Tue Jul 8, 2014 6:55am IST

U.S. singer Pharrell Williams performs at the 48th Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland, July 7, 2014. REUTERS/Richard Juilliart/Pool

U.S. singer Pharrell Williams performs at the 48th Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland, July 7, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Richard Juilliart/Pool

MONTREUX Switzerland (Reuters) - Pharrell Williams gave a slick concert for a pumped-up crowd at the Montreux Jazz Festival on Monday night, but some fans were less than happy when he left the famed stage after just an hour.

The American R&B singer and producer, accompanied by his band, two vocalists and six female dancers, played tracks from his second album "GIRL", including "Marilyn Monroe" and "Come Get it Bae", before closing with his global viral hit "Happy."

Known simply by his first name Pharrell, he repeatedly voiced support for women's rights during the concert, declaring 2014 "The Year of the Woman" when things are going to change.

"My new album is an ode to women. From A to Z, I make no apologies for the way I appreciate women," he told the sold-out standing crowd who paid 135 Swiss francs ($150) per ticket. "I make no apology. I love women in every kind of way."

Minutes later he played "Blurred Lines", the raunchy R&B smash hit with Robin Thicke that was last year's top song across the U.S. Billboard music charts, followed by Daft Punk's Grammy-winning disco track "Get Lucky."

"I told you, it's all about women," Pharrell said.

For "Happy", from the "Despicable Me 2" soundtrack, he was joined on stage by a young female fan whom he told: "We are depending on a girl like you to grow up and change the world."

The 41-year-old Pharrell, who has had four Grammy Awards and three mega hit singles, was appearing for the first time at the Swiss resort, one of Europe's most prestigious summer music festivals, whose 48th edition runs from July 4-19.

The Swiss festival's legendary founder Claude Nobs died in January 2013, but his former deputy Mathieu Jaton has deftly taken up the baton, drawing headliner Stevie Wonder on July 16.

Former Blur frontman Damon Albarn, hip-hop duo Outkast, the veteran Van Morrison, Massive Attack, and Thicke are also booked.

"Tonight is a celebration of music. Claude Nobs, who is no longer with us, put together this amazing conjuring of unique ingredients. So for me, for him, and for this organisation, I want you guys to let it out," Pharrell told the crowd.

But fans were disappointed when lights went on at 10:30 p.m.

"It was good, but kind of short. I was disappointed there was not a encore. If he would have done one or two more songs and less talking I would have been satisfied," said Tracy Starr, an American fan living in Lausanne.

"He wanted to make clear what the message is of the album, especially after 'Blurred Lines'. From what I've read he has a good relationship with the women in his life," she said.

A Geneva man who gave his name as Thierry, said: "Montreux Jazz Festival means live shows. He was using playback (lip-synching). Some people are stage stars, others are radio stars.

"There is room for improvement," he added.

His friend, who declined to be identified, said: "It was a bit short given the price."

Pharrell wore jeans, a white T-shirt, and the same beige hat with a flat brim trimmed with a ribbon as at the annual Serpentine Gallery summer party on July 1 in London.

Pharrell, rapper Nicki Minaj and newcomer August Alsina led the winners at the Black Entertainment Television awards last month, which also honoured veteran soul singer Lionel Richie. Pharrell won two awards, including best male R&B/pop artist.

($1 = 0.8932 Swiss Francs)

(Editing by Eric Walsh)

Reuters Showcase

India Cricket Chief

India Cricket Chief

Former ICC boss Dalmiya returns as BCCI chief.  Full Article 

S&P on Budget

S&P on Budget

Budget shows commitment to keep fiscal deficit low - S&P.  Full Article 

New Phone

New Phone

Samsung unveils sleek new Galaxy phones to battle Apple.  Full Article 

MH370 Search

MH370 Search

Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon.  Full Article 

Blogger's Murder

Blogger's Murder

Bangladesh says arrests main suspect in U.S. blogger Avijit Roy's killing.  Full Article 

England under Fire

England under Fire

Changes demanded after England's latest World Cup flop.  Full Article 

Anti-Putin Rally

Anti-Putin Rally

Anti-Putin protesters rally in New York after Nemtsov's murder.  Full Article 

Brit Awards

Brit Awards

Brit awards shake up British album chart, boost Sam Smith.  Full Article 

Lathmar Holi

In Pics: Lathmar Holi

Images of "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon in Uttar Pradesh.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage