Concerts Reviews

Jarre in Carthage: The Chronicle

A few days after Jarre’s concert held in the Tunisian capital, with memories and documents captured on it, reviewed and assimilated, our reporters accredited to the event, DAVID MUÑOZ and SERGIO VALLINAS we offer an extensive and rich chronicle relating their experience .

Through their journey, their photographs and memories we get a different view of all that has surrounded this last concert of JARRE, which has flown over until the last minute the threat of cancellation due to the turbulent social situation in Tunisia.

 JEANMICHELJARRE.ES want to thank both SERGIO and DAVID, representing; also SERGIO CALLEJA, CARLOS VIDAL and PEDRO GARCÍA for the excellent work done on behalf of the JMJ community.Thanks to their work we could enjoy near real-time images sent from the Roman Theatre of Carthage as the concert progressed and other important events.


It was late May when JUAN GOMIS-Fjarre webmaster-opened a post on the web forum, announcing the concert of Tunisia. Soon some of us we joined the idea: DAVID “PISCIS” MUNOZ, SERGIO “PAQUIDERMO” CALLEJA, CARLOS “ALOMEJO” VIDAL, JUAN GOMIS and SERGIO “KEYS” VALLINAS bought tickets on May 31, on the reservation numbers 750 … A inner voice told us that we were going to have a great time. Some days after this, we reserved the flights of Air Tunisia and the Carlton Hotel in Bourguiba Avenue in the Tunisian capital, the main artery of the city, as a Gran Vía in our country

VICTOR “ZZERO” MAQUEDA proposed that at least two members of the group could be credited with press passes, and this task fell to Juan Gomis and Sergio Vallinas. Victor on one side contacted via email with the International Festival of Carthage and Sergio with festival director. The manager responded by denying the possibility of a possible concert retransmission of JEAN MICHEL JARRE by any TV station, and Victor received another message with the address of the press department for applications for accreditation. Roughly two and a half months that remained for the concert were going with little news and comments on tickets, with or without bar code printing, etc…

In late June, JUAN tells us that it is impossible for him to go to the concert and have to forget the trip. At the same time agrees to appoint another correspondent and that honor falls to David, known for his positive disposition for all.

The month of July passed and final tickets are received with corresponding barcodes to be printed in order to access the site. We are one week from the concert in early August and passed the contacts and data for press accreditation. Now the countdown begins, preparing a good battery of questions, both for the conference and for a possible interview with JEAN MICHEL JARRE himself and a possible meeting with three musicians, FRANCIS RIMBERT, CLAUDE SAMARD and JEROME GUEGUEN. Something new and could be interesting and attractive.

Sunday August 11. Meeting the four travelers in Madrid. LAURA SANCHEZ-organizer of the XVI Rendez-Vous to be held this year in Madrid joins us for lunch. After which subway ride home to the airport, Terminal 1. There we met with the fifth member of this trip, from Murcia PEDRO “Belial” GARCIA. Boarding and take off with 40 minutes of delay on the estimated time. Good trip and lunch / dinner on the plane. Perfect Landing and police control.

We headed to the taxi parking and we arrenge the price in 30 dinars per car and headed to the hotel. As our idea was going to Carthage to be present at the rehearsals, we arranged a price with the same taxi to go there. We asked for another 30 dinars, and we were not able to go down that price. We check in at the hotel. We left our things and go with our taxi-which suffered a malfunction that delayed us-for Carthage.

 11 pm local time. We were in front the gates that give access to the site of the theater and is located behind the stage. We arrived at the final part of “Chronologie 2” and from there we could see and hear the rest of the rehearsal. Some lights located behind us gave color to the Tunisian night and the trees located behind the stage.

In the arena we had a contact with the JMJ community informing us of how things were going. Due to late arrival we couldn’t enter to the rehearsal. We chatted with the porters and got to go find a member of staff. Appears minutes later but says you can not do anything, that the rehearsal has begun

And the only ways to enter in the arena (the sides of the venue) are forbbiden to the public.

Francis Rimbert, Claude Samard and Jerome Gueguen leave the rehearsal. We see them out, looking tired, but friendly. Before boarding the old bus that will take then back to their hotel, Rimbert approaches us. Handshake and brief conversation. “You come to the concert tomorrow?” Francis asks us, and whe said “yes”, he answers “Me too.” JARRE remains rehearsing with the laser harp and some other things.

We’ve got back to the hotel in Tunis, and things did not look good. No taxis or any mode of transportation. We looked Allo Taxi internet phone, called and presented in fifteen minutes, one, two, three taxis. “Bonne nuit. Si vous plait, a l’Hotel Carlton dans la Avenue Bourguiba “. Of course, after closing at the usual price 30 dinars. Finally in bed. It was a matter of charging batteries for the next day, Monday, the day of the big concert …

 Before leaving home we contacted directly with JARRE personal assistant, to see if we had the opportunity to make an interview, and he admited the possibility of make a meeting but not the day of the show, but maybe the next day. We played with the advantage that our colleague David was last year covering the appointment of JEAN MICHEL JARRE as honorary member of the University Faculty of Arts at the University of Alcala de Henares. We give his mobile phone to the Jarre assistant but they never contacted us.

Then we headed to visit the medina of Tunis. During the meal Sergio receives call from the secretary of the press office of Carthage Festival. The phone had been provided by Víctor from Spain. As is the day of the concert and in the afternoon is impossible to collect that acreditations on the city, we were reported that about 19:30, when we reach the Festival site, we had to contact the press officer in orde to take the acreditations.

So did David and Sergio, and after waiting a while in the front door and another at the entrance to VIP and press, there appeared this woman and activated the card to enter the enclosure. The remaining partners had already agreed and sat in thecchairs area. David and Sergio are heading to the chair area also but they said the that for the press there is a place reserved in the top of the stalls. Dilemma: either press up without knowing how good could be the sight or down with the rest of the Spanish expedition. We go down but is not possible. They call the head of security staff and explain the issue. We got our tickets paid and they allowed the pass to us for the chair area.

We met with our colleagues and we are located on the center of the courtyard. More or less in line 8 or 10 centered on the stage. We can come to the edge of the stage. Three steps separate us from the “Haima” carpet where the sets of keyboards and synthesizers. Loads of photos and sending it to Victor, who quickly published on the cover of JEANMICHELJARRE.ES.

Time passes. Night falls on us and see how the screen is displayed on the stage. They begin to show a series of announcements in Arabic of the sponsors of the International Festival of Carthage. Then is when “Waiting For Cousteau” floats in the arena. Until then the only sound was that of those who were already in the theater. The patio at this point had 50% of the seats occupied, and a bit more people in the stands. The courtyard at the end was not completly filled, but the stands were packed. Close to 30,000 people vibrate with this concert.

A female voice announces tha over 22:15 show starts with a short biography of JARRE, his records, concerts, etc, commented in French and Arabic. At the end turn off all the lights, the theater reverberates with the roar from the crowd and see shadows on stage (Claude, Jerome and Francis take their places). The writer of this chronicle can not ignore that now is in ecstasy.

They sound the first notes of the intro and we know that something will happen look for the stands. Indeed, at the top are lit light cannons and target JEAN MICHEL and his team (Louis his assistant security chief, a bodyguard and some more). Kisses, hugs, yet somewhat chaotic, but steadily moving down towards the bottom. Cameras, video, ipod … Jarre finally reached the courtyard of the theater and walks down the center toward the stage where we were, David and Sergio, among others, have the honor to shake his hand. Reach stone center stage, lower arm motioning his musicians, and they largely complete intro.

Explosion of joy from the audience, some already with wet eyes. Greetings to the public, the festival, and especially the Tunisian people. Concert starts with “Oxygene 2”. Versions not as reliable as in Santiago de Compostela, but closer to that sounded in Monaco and the last part of the tour of 2011. The concert unfolds track by track, following the scheduled tracklist, the same posted by JEANMICHELJARRE.ES and that David received from the very PATRICK PELAMOURGUES, JARRE technical assistant. The conspicuous absence of security in the edge of the stage allowed the audience to dance at only wo feet from where the musicians played; David, Carlos, Sergio Calleja and later Pedro did the same. Sergio Vallinas held back, while documenting with videos and photos that were sent to Victor, who then uploading it on the cover of the website, the forum and the Facebook JEANMICHELJARRE.ES.

“Rendez Vous 3” laser harp with less than 5 meters is incredible Feel the music and spectacle in the front row, without bodyguards or security, and a great public behaving within the dance craze and wildness JARRE music will make this concert something unique and difficult to relive by the proximity to our musical idol. Anecdotally, note that for “Souvenir of China” on the rehearsals they projected on the screen the three known masks over red background. However, during the concert the screen showed only the background.

First encore after “Oxygene 4”, a few minutes to recover and then blast with “Chronologie 4”, followed by “Teo & Tea” and “Vintage”, danced intensely by the audience.

The peace comes with Calypso 3 (Fin de Siecle) and planting of fireflies in the audience: the stands teemed with lights and other mobile electronic devices. Powerful sound and brilliant. Emotions almost fired. Some wet eyes and some tears.

Farewell and departure from the scene. Many thought it was the end of the concert. With both red hands clapping, we gather around our chairs the five friends. Faces of surprise and satisfaction when we see them take the stage again. They run on the last encore and, surprise, “Rendez Vous IV”. Total Insanity. Sergio wields his video camera and tripod rises from the above eight feet, perfect vantage point for recording in all its splendor “Rendez Vous 4”. Shooting with the camera the heads of public and panoramics with lights and people dancing. At the end of the concert Jarre introduces his musicians and this is the end of the evening.

Notably JARRE in different speeches made a strong defense of Arab women would be held the next day the National Women’s Day Tunisian-like past, present and future of the country. Publicly denounced the situation of prisoners and calls for ideological freedom for the people. This words we wonder that would not much liked by the powerful people, close to Islamist movements, who prefer subtract rights especially for women. Neither politicians present at the concert, they were booed at the entrance.

The turned on the lights of the enclosure and the audience begins to leave the stands and yard chairs. The five of us were together with a few other fans near the stage, trading post first impressions concert. Pedro left shortly after the concert to the hotel because he left early back to Spain.

We went outside the stalls, and look forward to going to see Jarre and his entourage. Our contact told us that Jarre would leave the venue soon, because they had a cocktail at the hotel and had to go fast. Ahead of us were organized truck with three containers filled with fly cases to house the instruments and equipment, the material should be sent to the U.S., Belgium and France. They install a fence around a Mercedes escorted by a white landrover of the Police.

JEAN MICHEL makes an appearance, many kisses, handshakes, “oui-oui” and goodbye. He hastily put in the car and away from us. In the background is the same old bus that previous day for the rest of musicians, leaving the Spanish quartet there along with a small group of fans.

Shortly afterwards, seeing that there was nothing to be done, without JARRE and his musicians in place, we decided to hit the road and take the same task of returning to our hotel. About 2:30 am we arrived at our hotel.

The next day a last walk to the medina, last purchases, and at 13:00 we head to airport Boarding passes, police control, etc.We landed in Madrid about 7 pm after having eaten a courtesy kit Air frugal Tunisia.Kisses, hugs and goodbyes. Carlos and David are left in the capital and both Sergios heads to Valencia.

David and Sergio want to tell you that it has been an honor to send pictures and videos live and see them reflected on the cover almost in real time thanks to Victor. Some of us have commented that shipping meantime not fully enjoy the concert. But knowing that there were people enjoying a small part of our work, which makes us more proud to share with you all that our experience in our community. We all enjoyed our trip to Tunis and we felt secure all the time in the country despite the news.

Look out for the 2014 tour and Perth!

DAVID MUÑOZ and SERGIO VALLINAS, representing JEANMICHELJARRE.ES, wish to acknowledge the assistance and care provided by the Festival of Carthage, especially MOURAD SAKLI (Director of the festival), and JIHENE TURKI and KHAOULA BAYA (Press Department) and CYRINE GANNOUN (General Coordinator of Logistics).

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