Jarre biography 1988-1997

This is the third part of our biography. See first, second parts.

After the Lyons concert, Jarre was looking for another spectacular place to do a gigantic show, and found so in the Royal Docks of England, in East London. Jarre prepare a multi-genre album called Revolutions, that included use of vocoder, Roland D-50 and Crystal Bachet to name a few. For Revolutions, Jarre made a duet with Shadow’s guitarist Hank Marvin in a piece called London Kid.

On behalf of the Docks concert concept, Jarre used new instruments, designed by LAG company, shown off as a “Mad Max” references. Weather and authorizations were very bad throughout the preparations of the concert, it was first delayed and then split to two concerts, the 8th and 9th of October 1988. The album Revolutions was launched at the same time as the concerts. Princess Diana, amongst hundreds of thousands, watched the laser, light, firework (and even dance!) musical show under heavy rain and it was a success beyond expectations, making Jarre even more popular in that country than anywhere else.

On 1989, Jarre releases a 9-CD box named The laser years with all of his mainstream albums. Jarre and Marvin celebrated the hundredth anniversary of the Eiffel Tower performing a live version of London Kid. This was a lesser-evil event for Jarre, who had high expectations on his 200th commemoration of the french revolution (Bastille day) of 1789, which he did work on with french official until very advance stages. He eventually got his revange the next year, giving a huge concert in the business district of Paris called La Défense.

La Défense, a city in concert, 14th of July 1990

To support the show, Jarre composes Waiting for Cousteau, involving the steel drums band from Trinitad and Tobago in 1990 in which album is issued in June 1990. It is a music inspired by famous french ecologist Jean-Jacques Cousteau. The title-track is a 45-minute long ambient track. And the music and visuals fit perfectly together. Giant screens have being displayed miles away. 185 miles (300 km!) of wire are used for the public-adress system. Above Paris, jet planes synchronize with the countdown fate. On stage, giant pupetts from Peter Marshall stun the audience. Jarre breaks his own Guiness book record of his with over 2 million people following his concert.

Thee following year (1991) Jarre is forced to cancel a concert intented in front of the Pyramids of Teotihuacan in Mexico for financial reasons. He issue a best-of album, Images, which contains two unpublished tracks : Eldorado and Globetrotter, together with a older rare track, Moon Machine (which was part of the Music for supermaket process). A VHS containing Jarres’ clip is produced in NTSC format.

Europe in concert (1993)

Jarre is already working on his next concept-album, Chronologie in 1991. It will wait until 1993 for it to be finished. In the meanwhile, Jarre gives two lesser-scale laser and light shows : one in Zermatt, Switzerland (Swatch the world), and one in in late 1992 in Sun City, South Africa (Legends of the Lost City). These shows are programmed on computer. When Chronologie is ready, Jarre dedicates it to Stephen Hawkind’s Brief history of time, which inspired him for the making of the album. Jarre hired a young guitarist he supported as a producer, Patrick Rondat, to play parts on the album.

In may 1993, Jarre is appointed Goodwill ambassador for the UNESCO, an organization acting for promoting education, science, and culture throughout the world. Jarre puts together a european tour, Europe in concert, conveying the largest scene in the music industry : 500 feet wide and 80 feet high (150×25 meters)! All through the tour, venues will be cancelled and added.

Jarre performs in UNESCO classified sites like Mont Saint Michel and Château de Versailles in France, and overall, dates in the major european cities (Lausanne, Budapest, Brussels, London, Manchester, Marseilles, Berlin, Montauban, Versailles, Santiago, Sevilla, Barcelona, Tours). 600.000 people buy Jarres’ tickets. Both Chronologie and Europe in concert win french prizes.

Hong Kong concert (1994)

In 1994, the Hong Kong population is ask by poll to choose which artist would they rather like to inaugurate the re-opening of the new city stadium (40.000 seats). The people choose Jean Michel Jarre ahead Michael Jackson and Madonna. The show is the same than Europe in concert, but extended with two 1981 tracks, “Fishing Junks at Sunset” and “Souvenir of China”. A double-CD live of this concert (blended with prior recordings of Wembley Stadium) is issued.

The 14th of July, 1995, Jean Michel, at the instance of UNESCO, gives a massive concert beneeth the Eiffel Tower (featured picture), which is used a giant stage setting of lights. The Concert is called “Concert pour la Tolérance“, and Jarre involves a lot of musicians on stage to perform alongside him, like algerian singer Khaled. The aim of the concert is to bring attention to ideas of peace and mutual acceptance. The song “Eldorado” I mentioned previously is promoted official anthem for Tolerance. Over 1 million people attend this free show on the “Champ de Mars”. On November 16th, Jarre and Khaled play “Eldorado” in front of all the leaders of the world at UNESCO headquarters in paris.

Jean-Michel Jarre and Charlotte Rampling (1997)

The album Oxygène 7-13, planned for end of 1996, would finally be realeased in february 1997. This album is the following musical project of the original Oxygène (1976-77), with modern synths and analog synths put together on a sober production (no more than 8 tracks at a time as a challenge for Jarre and his sideman Francis Rimbert). It starts where Oxygène 6 ended. The album begins with four simple notes in monophonic sound, and evolves into a huge palette of atmospheric sounds. Reminiscence of the first Oxygène (like Oxygène 9) would coexist with more upper-beat numbers (Oxygène 7 part 1, 8 and 10, the main singles). Jarre was to use one of the oldest instruments of electronic music, the Theremin, which can rely as one of Jarre’s favorite instruments since.

The “Oxygène Tour” is conceived to promote the album in in-door venues. From may to june the tour does extensive european plan, and in October, a second leg in France is a nice success aswell. 230.000 people attend it.

In September 1997, Jarre gives his most massive concert in Moscow, to celebrate the 850th birthday of the city. Jarre and his musicians are in front of the Moscow University, and the stage is up in the Vorobievy Hills, so that all the city can watch it from beneath. The show is called “Oxygene in Moscow”, and is based on the Oxygene tour track-list, with classic Jarre tunes such as Revolutions, Magnetic Fields II, besides Oxygènes’ numbers. The track Souvenir of China is dedicated to Princess Dina, a friend of Jarre, who died in her car a few days ago. Over 3.500.000 people attend the concert. This is the only “massive concert” we have DVD and NTSC videos of.

Biography continues.

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