In the 80's; being a open minded music fan, always in search of something different and a lover of 80's synth soundtracks ( John Carpenter works and Giorgio Moroder ) I stumbled upon a piece of late 70's Electronica ( On vinyl ) in a second hand shop: Equinoxe by a Frenchman; that man was Jean- Michel Jarre.
Later i bought Rendez - vous, and Revolutions which came out in '88 (the year i left school) I was hooked on the experimental and trippy pieces, ambient in to electronic. It was futuristic and out there ( A bit like me as a child ) Back to '86 and J.M.J played a gig in Houston, Texas on the Rendez - Vous tour ( It was televised and watched by millions ) Wow! What a spectacle. I knew from that day i had to witness him live myself. Unfortunately it took me nearly 30 years ( I regret not seeing him at London Docklands ) but better late than never; i find myself at the Glasgow Hydro to witness the godfather of Electronica.
( Live Houston, Texas )
After a solid warm up set of Tech and Electronica from Marco Grenier; the subdued crowd, mainly consisting of 50 something fans politely chat while ambient sounds float out in to the Hydro. Very relaxed for a Friday night in Glasgow but i like it. Suddenly the lights go off and the stage lights up. We can see the percussionist of the 3 piece J.M.J band begin hitting the drums of what will be the opening number and title track off the new Electronica album: The Heart Of Noise. Our electronic hero takes to the stage dressed in black and his trade mark specs, a sprightly looking 68 year old, all smiles and straight down to business. He is surrounded by tech - toys, modular synth's and effects pads - hands flying everywhere; like a mad professor in charge of a musical Tardis, He finishes Automatic from the first Electronica album then takes to the stage with a microphone ' Good evening Glasgow - it's great to start the U.K tour here' I think he may have been lost in translation as this was his last date before heading over in to Germany. He mentioned Brexit then takes his place back behind the keyboard, where the unforgettable notes of Oxygene 2 ring out to much applause.
Later he is back to explain a piece he wrote in Moscow, off the new album with Edward Snowden. The visuals show Snowden talking about social media, how we share too much, the man and freedom of speech. Ironically during the pulsating stomp of Exit some young Glaswegians are having it large in the aisle dancing; when a steward tells them to get back to their seats.
All the time J.M.J is trying to entice us up out of our seats but it takes awhile before we all do. It's obviously a Electronica 1 & 2 heavy set with so much quality collaborations and pieces to play but we are treated to Souvenir From Chine which he tells us was written straight after his first visit to Asia.
He tells us about his pleasure to work with so many British electronic artists and especially Pet Shop Boys He precedes to play Brick England. Each piece has stunning visuals to compliment and of course no J.M.J show would be complete without those lasers.
During which he plays the trance like Zero Gravity ( Above and Beyond mix ) which the crowd begin to reach for the lasers. I spot a young lad near the front pulling shapes like he was actually a raver from 1999.
It's not long before we go back in time - literally to the sounds of Time Machine, Oxygene 4 and back to 1978 when the classic cover of Equinoxe appears; we have only two trips to the classic album but I'm loving it. Tonight he also plays many instruments: electric guitar and his trademark guitar shape synthesizer.
He finishes the set saying ' Here's the tricky part - where it might not work ' The gloves are on and the vertical line of 9 lasers appear. Yes - you guessed it! This is a moment when he plays them to the classic sounds Harpe Laser Stunning.
We get a encore of a new piece from the upcoming Oxygene album; it's cheekily called Oxygene 17 and the total trance beats of Stardust ( His collaboration with Armin Van Burren ) to finish. Everyone is up in their seats and many dancing. I personally enjoyed the set of new and old - he isn't stuck in the past, he's all about the future. Well I'm finally glad I've witnessed a legend in action and looking forward to when i get to see him again. Synth - Tastic night.
Check out my Jean - Michel Jarre Mix: https://soundcloud.com/malc-j-parry/jean-michel-jarre