Jean Michel Jarre, Cirkus, Stockholm, April 4, 2008

By: Tobias Eliasson
Photos by: Isabella Westblad

Now this is something that I never would have expected to see. Jean Michel Jarre, the undisputed king of grandiose stage shows on a tour of small venues, where everything is performed live without computers. The reason for this unusual move is the 30th anniversary of the groundbreaking “Oxygene” album. Jarre decided that is was time for a new master recording in high definition audio, but at the same time he also performed the whole album live, together with three musicians. This was recorded and released as a DVD; “Oxygene – Live in Your Living Room” and it’s this performance that is now taken out on the road.

As the curtains rise we get to see the army of classic synthesizers that is used, about 50 all in all. The live setup is a bit different that the one on the DVD; they have added even more machines for the tour. For those of us interested in the technology as much as the music in itself this is really something special, and a setup like this I will probably never see live again in my life.

Jarre then takes the stage and starts off talking about the album, what we are going to hear tonight and he introduces some of the instruments that he loves so much. The other musicians join him on stage and after tuning the old machines, the concert slowly takes off.

And I must confess that it’s very hard to put my feelings in writing on what I experience for the next 75 minutes. It’s amazing to hear the old tracks reborn with new life, but without losing any of the originals' feeling. The band takes use of the arsenal in front of them and together with very subtle light arrangements and projections (for Jarre anyhow) they simply own the stage. Halfway into the show a large mirror is sunk down and placed over the band so we can see exactly what they are doing. This is a brilliant move that adds even more to the intimate feeling between the audience and the performers. The experience to hear this music live and reborn is absolutely amazing and this is one of the best shows I have ever seen.

When the show is over, Jarre has treated us to a magnificent journey and after a standing ovation we get an encore with Jarre alone on stage after which he thanks us over and over again; promising to return soon.

For those artists out there that thinks about re-releasing an old album; this is how it’s done.