Our friend Divo went to the gig given by Jean Michel Jarre at the MEN Arena in Manchester last May 23. This is his review of the concert:
Last night I screamed so much that my throat hurts and I think that I was the only one because the Englishmen of Manchester seemed to go to that concert with the intention of travel to another dimension. Nobody was screaming or moving at all.
I arrived to the Arena, which is a big one, at around 7:20 PM. It was a tough day because I arrived directly from Paris. My girlfriend took me at the airport and then we go out … FOR SHOPPING!! I couldn’t believe it. She was very calm but I was rather nervous. So, as she was well aware of my mood, we went to eat something to MacDonalds where we ate quickly and badly. After that we went to the venue and some people were greeting me because of my Oxygene T-Shirt, purchased at Marigny in Paris. There were a bunch of fat old people with his fat and old wives. It was funny.
I arrived to the venue and passed the first security control. There I saw with emotion my firs laser of the night: The lector of the bar code of my ticket. The guy controlling ask me to leave my bottle of water and in that moment I realise that it would be a very dry night. I passed control and few seconds later a guard came to me running and I get very nervous. The found mi camera, but the guard said me that it was ok because only video cameras were forbidden there. So I went into the main Arena.
In that moment I suffered mi first robbery: 12 pounds for a program. I couldn’t buy it but I couldn’t help to buy a T-Shirt. I saw pictures of the merchandising and it not was that amazing. 5 pounds for a mug and 20 pounds for the T-Shirts. 5 pounds for the poster and the program of the last tour costs 6 pounds. I purchased only the T-Shirt with JMJ face in front and the globe map at the back. There were more T-Shirts with the figure of Equionoxe and the mask of The Concerts in China, but there were pretty expensive for a T-Shirt that you can make easily on your own.
After this robbery, we went to our seat, on the floor; block A row N, seats 3 and 4, in front of the stage, in front of Rimbert and the Theremin. When I entered in the Arena I was surprised by the density of the air it was like if everybody were smoking there, with a white smoke. It was because of the laser. And because of the laser the terrace in front of the stage was forbidden to the crowd, because this was the high risk for the people.
I went down stairs to the floor, and we went down very slowly because there were many of the stewards with yellow jackets saying people where their seats were. I arrived finally to my seat and I realised that it was better than expected.
The wait for the show was tedious. I arrived 30 minutes before the start of the concert and Waiting for Cousteau was sounding loud. I took a moment to go to the stage to take pictures and to dream a little Moog, Syntex, Nord Leads, ARPs, AKS, VCS3. Roland, Korg, Mellotron, Eminten… All the arsenal of synths ready and swiched on.
10 minutes before the start of the show, three guys appeared on stage: Patrick Pelamourges, checking that all the instruments were tunned and switched on, especially ARPs; Thomas Alsina, who was installing a camera in front of the audience; and the third guy I didn’t know who he was.
After taking some pictures I went back to my seat. The Englishmen were very calm waiting for the start of the show, whit their beer glasses. My seat neighbours were a couple of about 50 years old, and it was their very first time with JMJ. While I was arranging all my stuff the woman saw my picture with JMJ in Marigny. She said to his husband “Is must be photoshop”. I laughed to this. Then I asked them if it was usual that everybody were drinking beer there, because in Chile is forbidden to go to a stadium with any bottles. I was thinking about the injustice of taking of my bottle of water at the entrance while everybody there was drinking beer. I continued talking to my neighbours and said them that Jarre usually made playback in his concerts. When the man said me that the ticket for that concert was a Christmas gift from his wife, my girlfriend advised me not continuing talk to the couple in order not to kill their illusions. Anyway I stressed in the fact that in that tour Jarre was playing mainly LIVE.
They turned off the lights, and turned off Waiting for Cousteau, and the Industrial Revolution’s sequence starts. Three lasers forming a fan were displayed, and like the Concerts in China videos, Jarre cuts the lasers with his hands greeting to the crowd. And the crowd gave a great ovation to Jarre. Wow, what an amazing start!! Great sound… And the song was a good improvisation. Then Magnetic Fields 1, Equinoxe 7… Amazing sound!! The skills of Terrier and Rimbert was very obvious.
In Oxygene 2 the VCS 3 failed and there were no “laser gun effects”. It’s obvious that Jarre mimed the main chorus of the theme but not the second part where he failed playing it. It don’t mind, because he played live and without fails Rendez Vous 3… really amazing. I was so nervous waiting for any fail in the performance… but it never arrived!!
Then arrived Oxygene 12 in a version similar to the Marigny one, but without projections. The five robots behind the stage were up and down with LED effects like a clock: Very good effect, indeed. Then a little calm arrived with Souvenir of China and a sound saturation with Magnetic Fields 2. We were treated with a stunning Perrier’s solo. I was still thinking at that moment about what was doing Samard on the stage.
I think that Oxygene 5 and Variation 3 just didn’t fit in the concert. Then I realised that there were not Digisequencer. Instead of that there was a great computer with a big tactile screen, used by Jarre to play sequences. After that, Equinoxe 4 and 5 arrived where the robots were now the figures of Equinoxe. Then Chronologie 6 arrived… uff!! I’ve got a contradictory feeling about this track: I was happy for hear this theme but it was a shame that Jarre just didn’t play the accordion better than I play it. All in all, and despite of some out of sync sounds, it sounded well.
Then arrived Chronologie 2, for me the strongest track of the setlist, with amazing light and laser effects, with a stunning energy. I would like to stand up and scream but with the exception of a crazy block dancing at the terraces; the rest of the crowd was immobile. When the song is over, Jarre went out of the stage with his band and the crowd started leaving!!
After some applause, Jarre come back to stage and introduced the musicians and they played again Oxygene 4, with the Eminent failing in the firs part of the song. The crowd, at last, stood up from his seats with joy. Then Jarre dedicated Calypso 3 to his father, and the song went rather well, with a good AX Synth solo by Jarre. Then, arrived Rendez Vous 2, a very well performance of this classic without any fails. The Laser Harp was a real delight for the crowd.
The concert ended with the encore Industrial Revolution 2 with the same fan-like laser effect being cut by Jarre’s hand saying “good bye”. The crowd didn’t move at all, but in the last moment the crowd seemed reacting and was shouting for more. Jarre came back to perform Oxygene 4 again.
The concert was over and I wanted more. I would like to know where Jarre and his band could appear but it was a difficult task because of the size of the venue and because of the security. In the streets there were some people selling fake ugly T-Shirts with a picture of Jarre playing the Laser Harp in Beijing 2004. I walk towards the underground station thinking about I saw again Jarre in concert, but this was not like the first time I saw him in concert, because you never forget the first time, the most important one.