Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Jarre in Monaco

This Jean-Michel Jarre concert was held in Monaco on 1 July 2011 to celebrate the wedding of that country's Prince Albert (a close friend of Jarre) to Charlene Wittstock. They were both there throughout the event, and went up on stage at the beginning.

The four musicians on stage played a total of 24 items, including one written specially for Princess Charlene and a slightly improvised version of Here Comes the Bride(!) Two of those 24 were encore items, by the way. A good selection from the traditional favourites comprised most of the set, which the audience very visibly enjoyed hugely.

I gained the impression that this event might have been put on in a bit of a rush, as the visual effects – most notably the projected imagery – were somewhat simplistic. That might also have been why there was no choir, whose parts were either recorded or synthesized. At least the fireworks were apparently non-polluting, as a mark of respect for the Prince's environmental stance.

On the subject of improvisations: some of them worked well and some were a little iffy, as usual at events of this nature. However, when Jarre gets hold of that 'stick' (a Roland AX-Synth), even if you're expecting something from memory and it isn't coming out quite as it is on the disc/CD/iTune, after a moment or two that no longer matters: you realise you are listening to sheer brilliance.

Jarre is a virtuoso on just about every instrument he has, from the 'seventies VCS-3 synths via the Laser Harp to the Stick, and all the weird and wonderful gadgets such as the Theremin (and I am convinced he is the best living player of that strange device), and you can witness much of that virtuosity in this two-hour (and a bit) event...

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