Concert Review Archive

 

Jean Michel Jarre

Saturday, 27th May 2017
The Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, CA, the US

Article and Photos By Patrick McAfee

Jean Michel Jarre is a pioneer of electronic music and in recent years, that fact has become more universally recognized. His influence on other artists was at the core of his two recent Electronica albums, the first of which garnered him a Grammy award nomination this year. That said, Jarre probably does not receive enough credit for the role he has played in shaping the modern concert going experience. For many years, he has believed that the visual experience of a musical performance is equally as important as the music itself. This view has resulted in his concerts being some of the most extravagant productions of the last thirty years. His impact in this area can clearly be seen in current rock and EDM productions.

Jean Michel Jarre

In some ways though, I always wondered if the sheer grandeur and size of his shows would actually lessen the impact of the music. Regrettably, I had no way of knowing for sure, never yet having the opportunity to see him perform live. That changed when Jarre announced that his Electronica World Tour would be coming to the USA. The massive Rendez-vous Houston Concert in 1986 was his only previous show in America, so this was exciting news indeed. The tour also gives audiences a chance to see Jarre in a more intimate setting, which is something he has been doing in recent years. I entered the concert with a definite curiosity and anticipation of what was to come.

Jean Michel Jarre

From the actual theater rumbling heartbeats of the opening number, The Heart of Noise, it was clear that this was going to be a wild ride. As impressive as the huge visual screens instantly were, they did not lesson the imposing figure standing behind the keyboard rig at the center of the stage. Master showman that Jarre is, amongst the absolute splendor of the 3D visuals, lights and lasers, all eyes were still focused on him. Ably joined on stage by Claude Samard & Stephane Gervais, Jarre was always effectively the center of attention.

Jean Michel Jarre

The setlist focused heavily on his three most recent album releases (Electronica 1 & 2, Oxygene 3), but there was also attention paid to classic material. Jarre introduced the first of these by dedicating the performance of Oxygene 2 to his late father, Maurice Jarre. This being Jean Michel's first show in Los Angeles, he noted that his Dad lived in the city and had produced many of his great film scores here. For this reason and others, he mentioned that this was a very important performance for him. It bears mentioning that throughout the show, Jarre was a very gracious and communicative host. He often took the opportunity to thank the crowd and/or tell a quick story. He also set the tone of enthusiam by jumping around and leading the audience participation.

Jean Michel Jarre

I honestly hesitate to give a lot of details on the actual performance as I think it is beneficial for people to walk into the shows on this tour with a limited knowledge of what they will see and hear. Ultimately though, this is a review, so I will say the following... I long ago lost count of the number of concerts that I have seen over the years. I have loved many of them, but it has also been a while since I saw one that truly stunned me. That was until this show. I sat in absolute wonder from the opening notes to the very end.

Jean Michel Jarre

It was a truly memorable experience and a perfect sonic combination of music and visuals. When I marvelled at what I was seeing, I was equally as connected to the music that was being performed. There was a legitimate WOW factor that could be felt througout the room and the reaction of the audience validated that. Having attended many prog concerts where people seem to be stapled to their seats, I watched amazed as Jarre had a similiar audience up on their feet both clapping and moving to the sways of the music. Some of these folks being on the elder side of the fanbase. It was astounding.

Jean Michel Jarre

I assure you the reader that there is no trace of hyperbole when I state that this was easily one of the top three concerts that I have ever attended. I can also say without hestiation that it was the most perfect blend of music and visuals that I've had the pleasure of witnessing. As I am sure was the goal, the astounding visuals never once took over, but more so complimented the music to create a truly mesmorizing experience. If the opportunity presents itself for you to see a show on this tour, rush to get a ticket. You will thank youself later.

Setlist
The Heart of Noise, Part 1
The Heart of Noise, Part 2
Automatic, Pt. 2
Oxygène 2
Circus
Web Spinner
Exit
Équinoxe 7
Conquistador
Oxygène 8
Zero Gravity
Souvenir de Chine
Immortals
Oxygène 19
Brick England
The Architect
Herbalizer
Oxygène 17
Équinoxe 4
Glory
The Time Machine

Oxygène 4
Zoolookologie
Stardust

Links
Jean Michel Jarre official Website

The Microsoft Theater

 


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