Coherent Light

Back to Spektrum, but far better seats this time, and far better sound. We were seated about fifteen meters from the stage, close to the center, and had an unobstructed view of Jean-Michel Jarre and his band.

This was not my first Jarre concert, but it’s my first in a long while. Last time was the Oxygène 7-13 tour in 1997, which (I believe) was the first time Jarre dropped the outdoor format in favor of smaller, indoor concerts. Obviously, he focused on the newly released album, and played several of the tracks in sync with dizzying animations which played on huge screens over the stage.

This time was different. This tour was not linked to an album release, and if I’m not mistaken, everything he played tonight, with one exception, was pre-2000. Most of it was from Oxygène (both the original and Oxygène 7-13), Équinoxe and Rendez-vous, with some Chants Magnétiques, Révolutions and Chronologie thrown in, and one track (Souvenir de Chine) from Concerts en Chine. He actually played Rendez-vous 2 and Rendez-vous 3 twice—but, to my great disappointment, not Rendez-vous 4.

The stage show was also different. There were no videos, just spotlights, circular LED arrays, and… lasers. Lots of lasers. He must have cleaned out every single laser fab in Asia, and made Shuji Nakamura a very rich man. Unlike Sweden, apparently, Norwegian health authorities don’t give a rat’s ass about our eyes (eyecare is not covered by social security), so Jarre was able to point the lasers straight at the audience. I’m still seeing spots, but I’m not complaining; the show was fantastic. Phenomenal. Stunning. I kept trying to grab the laser beams and thinking about how our cats would react :-)

The LED arrays I mentioned earlier were pretty cool too. While Jarre played (if memory serves) Équinoxe 4, for instance, they showed stylized faces with goggles, or rather field glasses, and while he played a track from Chronologie (I don’t remember which), they showed clock faces with the hands racing around.

The audience was very appreciative; Jarre was called back not once, but twice. I’m pretty sure the first encore was planned, but I don’t think the second was.

I satisfied my need for Rendez-vous 4 by listening to it on K’s iPod on the way out. Then I listened through most of Oxygène 7-13 on the tube, doing my best to ignore two atrociously clad women (think inner-city white trash and multiply by ten) who had both recorded the entire show on their camera phones and absolutely had to watch both recordings on the tube, simultaneously, comparing notes, with the volume all the way up.

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