Mylène Farmer's fifth live album to date, No.5 on Tour, documents her 2009 tour of France in support of her most recent studio album, Point de Suture (2008). The standard edition of album includes 20 songs spread across two discs, including a bunch of her greatest hits performed in the electro-rock style of Point de Suture. Though some of these songs are also included on her previous live albums, most recently Avant Que l'Ombre...A Bercy (2006), N°5 on Tour stands apart from its in-concert predecessors on account of its new arrangements, abundance of new material, and recording quality so pristine that it sounds as though the album were recorded in a studio with overdubbed interjections of audience noise and stage banter. Known as a dazzling concert performer with a flair for provocation, Farmer performed more or less the exact same set list for much of her tour. N°5 on Tour follows the standard set list, which is broken up into several different acts. The album opens with "D'Entre les Morts," an instrumental studio recording, before the in-concert material commences with "Paradis Inanimé," one of seven songs from Point de Suture. Farmer balances the new material with a bunch of greatest hits, including "L'Âme-Stram-Gram" (1999), "XXL" (1995), "À Quoi Je Sers..." (1989), "Pourvu Qu'Elles Soient Douces" (1988), "Rêver" (1995), "Ainsi Soit Je..." (1988), "Libertine" (1986), "Sans Contrefaçon" (1987), "Je Te Rends Ton Amour" (1999), and "Désenchantée" (1991). The newly arranged songs from the '80s are all highlights. Several of the Point de Suture songs are also highlights, in particular "Je M'Ennuie," "Dégénération," "C'est dans l'Air," and "Si J'Avais au Moins...," the latter two of which close the album on a high note. The pristine sound quality of N°5 on Tour is also notable. The audience noise can be heard only between songs, and the vocals and music are so perfect, it begs the question of how much editing was done in the studio. The integrity question aside, No.5 on Tour is far and away the best-sounding of Farmer's live albums to date. Longtime fans might wish that the set list wasn't weighted so heavily toward Point de Suture, and they also might find themselves recoiling from the new arrangements. As a representative document of Farmer's 2009 tour, however, N°5 on Tour could hardly be better. The collector's edition adds a three-track DVD of trivial value.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2