I burned all his tapes just by listening to them over and over and I had to wait for the CD to have a medium that did not disintegrate under heavy use.
I never did meet him though and tonight, finally, after 20 years, I could.
Forest National 18:30
I arrive under an annoying light rain. That type of rain that gets you wet, but that makes you feel dumb opening the umbrella.
Forest seems a fortress on top of a hill, surrounded from waiting fans a nd covered by the smell of french fries sold in the parking lot.
Thanks to Nathalie, I have a press pass and I go collect it. I sit almost on the front row. Not only I will be able to see him but I will follow the concert almost from his lap :)
Forest National 20:30
Our guest lets us wait, but finally the lights goes off.
I look quickly around and see that the "youngsters" have all my same age, few kids with parents and many ladies. I suppose time passes for everyone.
A light beam bathes the stage and we are covered in a liquid flow of lasers, slightly broken by the tick smoke that fills the hall.
Suddenly a hand pops out from the light and it slowly fades away, like the sea crashing back from the seashore and leaving our artist in front of us. Impressing start indeed.
We notice the shadows of the musicians, three plus Jarre. One drummer, everyone else plays a sinth. No classical instruments, many experimental ones (like the laser Xylophone) and an intimidating tangle of cables and machines that covers the stage on all it's lenght.
Light fills every corner of the hall creating complex shadows, music slides over the laser ramps giving the sensation of a ever present entity.
I ask myself if I'm looking at the show or if we are the show, floating inside the smoke broken by the colored light blades.
Jarre runs forth and back all over the stage, stops at each machine, tunes a volume, pushes a button, pushes a lever. Everything is electronic it is true, but not today's electronics.
It seems like the return on earth of a lost Astronaut directly from the '70. The mussicians seem to fight with the cables and instruments tangle and when the nostalgic tunes of Etranger fill the air it seems a martian version of Anonimo Veneziano.
Magnetic Fields I, Rendez vous II, Waiting for Cousteau.
Light is always present, follows the sounds, strengtens the contrasts of rithm, glides all over the audience.
In "Children of a lesser God" William Hurt cannot mime the music but not us. We can touch it, we are drowning in it and we can feel each note slide down our throats.
Melody is strong, imposing and underscored by little touches that Jarre extracts from some God forsaken button. He does not follow the rules, not even its own partition, he enriches it, inserts sound, distortions. Many years behind the synth have given him control of the medium and we are confronted with the image of a Smith beating sparkles from a red- hot metal bar.
Under our eyes the result grows and grows quickly.
Even when a accordion appears on scene fo Calypso "Fin de siecle" we do not find it out of place at all. It seems natural, as if it has always been there.
But it is a short rest. Chronologie II slices the hall like a razor and we all stand up. It is impossible to sit down, mesmerized from the music, we are overhelmed by the following Oxygen IV.
The group is a well oiled machine and you can feel the giant work that is behind it, but as the notes of the last tune, Industrial revolution, fill the air, the toy breaks apart.
In the central section the Laser Xylophone decides it has had enough and stops working. Jarre is confused, runs forth and back from his sinth trying to fix the issue as his comrades keep on with their parts.
Nothing can be done Jarre opens his arms in defeat and goes finish the last part of the song from behind his sinth.
Nobody has a problem with what happened. A little sparkle of humanity contaminated the perfect machine. It is perfect as it is.
Our guest leaves us , but we get to call him back on stage for a Magnetic Fields II that is drowned by the lights and the cheers of the pubblic.
This time it's really over. Jarre leaves us and I slowly start to go back home.
I close my eyes and savour for some more precious moments the memories of the sea of lights that covered me till a couple of minutes before, happy to have had to wait so long for that moment.
Thank you Jean Michel. it was nice to meet you all over again.