Rendez-vous Houston, USA
Concert in downtown Houston (Out-door)
Entrance Free
Date April 5, 1986
Length 3 chapters, 15 songs
Crew 10 musicians, 2 choirs
Audience 1.300.000
Notes: Jarre’s only concert in America and new audience record

Houston concert (1986)

Houston is probably the craziest concert ever for Jean Michel. First because it was an outdoor concert on such a massive scale. Second, because Jarre as a frenchman cared much about succeeding in this homeland of entertainment by showing things to American people they would never have seen before. And indeed, the sight of Houston’s skyline transformed into a gigantic stage, illuminated by 3.000 fireworks and Christian Bourret’s “ten floors tall” images, was such an impression for the texan people themselves, they still remind it today.

In first place, Jarre was called by the Houston city festival comittee in 1985 to make a concert for the 250th anniversary of Texas, and NASA wanted to celebrate their 20th one. The two projects were linked by the fact astronauts trained in Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center which is located in Houston. When Jean Michel came to town, he saw what a beautiful city it was, and he accepted it. He sympathized there with astronaut Ron Mc Nair, who was a talented jazz saxophonist and a nice person. It occured that Ron and Jean Michel were to make a duo on Jarre’s latest composition, Last Rendez-vous, which he would play from space the day of the concert. Sadly, things didn’t turn out to be what would have been a premiere and a great moment.

On 28th January 1986, the Challenger shuttle where Ron and six of his mates lifted off exploded within seconds after they left the ground. The shock was terrible not only to the American people, but also to Jean Michel. Jarre and the organizers were willing to cancel the concert, but Bruce Mc Candless from NASA pressed them to maintain it and to change it to a tribute to the dead astronauts. And so, the preparations move even faster.

Jarre adds very skillfull keyboardists to his crew, with Pascal Lebourg, Sylvain Durand and last but not least, Francis Rimbert. Francis will be the greatest support to Jean michel’s music until today. Michel Geiss and Dominique Perrier would also be on stage alongside Jean Michel. Rehearsals are quite difficult because Police is always bothering the musicians.

But the night of the concert, saturday 5th April 1986, the music is flawless. It is coordinated with the lights and fireworks to make it a timeless extravaganza. The powder from the fireworks falls upon some of the 1.300.000 people applausing Jarre, but that doesn’t annoy them at all. The fireworks could even have been stopped if the chief of Houston’s firemen order was executed, fearing immediate threat to the audience. The trafic jams are huge above the city center. People stop their cars to watch the show. Police had no choice but to close the freeway. On his custom keyboard, Jarre triggers lights and fireworks fixed on the buildings. The pictures of the astronauts and the delicate sound of Kirk Whalum’s sax brings tears to the eyes. Last Rendez-vous is called Ron’s piece, in tribute to those who lost their lives. The Rendez-vous (named after Jarre’s 1986 album) concert is a perfect moment, between joy and sadeness.

Track-listing

  • Ethnicolor part 1
  • Oxygène Part 1
  • Oxygène Part 2
  • Oxygène Part 4
  • Equinoxe Part 7
  • Souvenir of China
  • Equinoxe Part 4
  • Equinoxe Part 2
  • Equinoxe Part 5
  • Rendez-Vous 3
  • Rendez-Vous 2
  • Oxygène Part 5
  • Last Rendez-Vous (Ron’s Piece)
  • Rendez-Vous 4
  • Rendez-Vous 4 (encore)
Advertisements