Chris Stills is surely tired of critics making a point of his musical pedigree by now, but he must have known that this recording would inevitably bring up the issue again. The son of folk-rock legend Stephen Stills and French chanteuse Véronique Sanson, he comes by every element of his musical style honestly: his sound is meat-and-potatoes roots rock, but he alternates easily between English and French lyrics. When the Pain Dies Down: Live in Paris, the bulk of which was recorded live in the Studio du Palais in Paris, finds him switching from piano to guitar and from solo to full-band arrangements easily and naturally, singing sweetly catchy melodies in a disarmingly unaffected style. The most compelling moments are those that involve the full band, most notably his relatively muscular "Flying High" and the lovely title track. He shouldn't have tried to get his audience to clap along, as their anemic participation on both "Demon" and "Fin du Monde" tends to sap the energy from the already rather light performances; even when he loses patience and encourages the audience to get into it ("Allez! Come on!") they just can't seem to bring themselves to contribute much. But he soldiers on and the songs come across just fine. The EP ends with a studio recording of "Fanny," Stills' faithful French translation of the Band's classic hit "The Weight." It's a respectful and respectable rendition, but it doesn't add much to the original. Here's waiting hopefully for the next full studio album.
AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson