Some images of that musician Jean Michel invited on stage in Budapest, along with his strange melodic drum.
dimanche 14 décembre 2008
mardi 9 décembre 2008
vendredi 5 décembre 2008
The last concert was planned to be in Warsaw, especially because of what happened in Gdansk. I really wanted to share something special with the polish audience and I have not been disappointed.
The Torwar Theater had an ideal size for the production. It was absolutely packed. As I said, usually monday night's gigs are not the most lively, but for the last concert of the tour, the polish audience was like a a saturday night one.
I went on stage from the back of the theater and immediately, I felt it was going to be great. The warmth, the energy, the excitement of being together again was there like in the Docks of Gdansk! I went on stage. Dominique, Claude and Francis were all in good shape and I knew we were going to have a good time. All the crew was focused and I felt that every one wanted to give to me and to everyone in the hall a good show.
And I had a real good time. Oxygene 1 and 2 sounded right and I got the feeling that it will be great until the end... I loved Dominique's bass in Oxygene 4 and Claude and Francis were great in Oxygene 5 and Variation 3. I had a lot of fun with the Moog Liberation solo and I think I delivered one of the best choruses of the tour.. The audience (and us) became really hot during Oxygene 12. Oxygene 13 was a pure moment of shared emotions with the audience.
There is a tradition that for the last concert strange things happen to the artist on stage.. For the Encore, Francis went to Dominque's area and coverd his keyboards with paper, then he disapeared under the Eminent, just when i was supposed to look at him for a cue. While they were playing, Claude and especially Dominique filmed everything with one hand on their mobile phones..
Then at the end, I asked all the crew to come on stage, including accountants, truck drivers... just every one being involved in the tour. It was for me the best way to thank them and tell everybody how much I appreciate the amount of work, talent and dedication they showed. I even went down and left the stage to join the polish audience to applaud all the family...
Truck drivers had real hard times particularly in Russia and on the way to Riga driving all night in the snow through the mountains, so that all the equipment could be ready the next evening for the next show...
The crew after the load-out had to sleep in the bus, and be ready in the morning for the next load-in in another city...etc.
Chris Rowley and James Monkman did really great , organising everything, always cool and relax even with the day-to-day pressure.
Patrick Pelamourgues and Jean Paul took care of all the precious instruments day after day.
The sound team: Alain Courieux, Julien Vouillon, Vincent, Arno, Jean-Claude.. all did great, the sound was amazing with smiles..!
Ignace de Haese, Glen and all the lighting crew were always on the case to deliver a fantastic light.
All the Arpège team and the rest of the team did their best every night to deliver the best possible show.
A special mention to Thomas Alsina who stayed always connected and so helpful in spite of his other activities.
Pierre Garnier for his eye and ears..!
Dear Edith Napias and Michel Geiss for all the reasons they know...
Dear Fiona who managed the all project perfectly as usual with the help of Louis.
And Paul Charles, the secret agent who worked hard behind the curtain...
Thank you all for having contributed to make this tour a success on a human, artistic and business point of view.
Thank you also to all the bloggers / readers on the web, from all over the world, who followed the adventure and for your interesting, fun and clever comments valuable to me.
Thank you particularly to everyone in the audience in the way you have welcome us, for your unique feedback and for your interest in my work.
It is the best reward in my life.
I LOVE YOU ALL, RENDEZ VOUS NEXT YEAR .... MERRY CHRISTMAS !
All the crew on stage for a deserved round of applause
The audience in the mirror
It's raining on stage..
Francis playing the synth dialog in Oxygene 12
The Torwar theater's structures
Playing the AKS noise in Oxygene 2
With Piotr, breathing some Oxygene..
I never get enough Oxygene!
Dominique prefers water..
Patrick Pelamourgues, packing up the synthesizers for the last time in the tour
Vincent from the sound team, exhausted but happy
In the audience, applauding the crew
Dominique filming the photographer during Oxygene 4..
Standing audience during the Encore
Oxygene 13 with the mirror down
Receiving such energy from the audience
Dominique's familiar silhouette
A great audience
Even the Theremin is impressed..
Dear James Monkman, so kind and so focused
Claude imitating a hedgehog
Focused during sound check
Sound engineer Julien Vouillon celebrating
dimanche 30 novembre 2008
Clearly you could tell that Slovakia was waiting for these concerts for a long time.. Everywhere you could feel people having big expectations about our presence and giving us such a warm welcome.
A reception was organised on monday morning at the city hall of Bratislava to meet with the Mayor and all the media. Then we had a walk, sunny but cold, with the group in the old city, a beautiful area partly destroyed by Napoleon, who clearly has not done only good things in this part of Europe, and which since has been rebuilt.
Hard times for James and the crew for loading in and out, the local production being obviously not used to that kind of production.. The Bratislava Hall was probably the most bizarre of the tour, with more seats on the sides than in the front, a low ceiling, clearly made for basket-ball rather than for concerts.
At showtime, the hall was packed, people were everywhere, even standing in the alleys. The mood was as hot as it was freezing cold outside. I was not even able to perform my entrance from the back of the arena. Every inch was occupied.
The crowd responded as soon as the concert started. The energy was high, like the temperature. We ended sweaty and excited with a continuous standing ovation on the 4 last songs..
Fred, the interpreter, got a sore throat, lost his voice and asked his wife Yvetta to replace him at the last minute. Instantly nicknamed "the voiceless interpreter", Fred brought us to his restaurant, "a french creperie" where we had delicious pancakes and cider. We had a good time with the musicians, Fred, Yvetta, Milan the head of the slovakian fan club who invested a lot of time and energy for the concerts, Richard a business man who took few days of his time to be my driver.
They explained us what my music represented to them. It has always been a symbol of evasion and dream about the outside world. Even until the late 80's, they had to climb on the mountain nearby to get and record my music on cassettes from austrian radio stations! It was really moving to listen to them. So close to us, those people suffered so much, they could be put in jail for years just for writing, listening or reading forbidden things.
It suddenly takes a different dimension to play in such a country.
Richard said to a journalist, after the concert "I know now, why I am born"! Even if it is a little overly dramatic, it means a lot to seize how Important it is for western artists to spend some time in this great country..
The following day, we flew to Kosice, the 2nd town of Slovakia, near the Ukranian border. The venue was bigger, more civilised and still packed. Saturday night in Kosice was probably even hotter than the previous evening. We were really into it and had great fun on stage in front of a fantastic audience. It was difficult to leave the stage.
Our voiceless interpreter had to be replaced by his wife one more time. We went back for dinner at the hotel where Fred having slightly recovered his voice taught the local cook how to make pancakes for us. In the meantime I tried to improve my slovakian.
Thanks to everybody in Slovakia for such a great time, especially thank you to Milan, Fred, Yvetta and Richard.
Feeling the wind of Bratislava
With a local celebrity..
Contemplating the town hall
Red Square, Kosice..
Claude smiling at his pancakes
Dominique's familiar silhouette in Kosice
In the arena at Kosice..
Dominique after landing in Kosice
With Yvetta and Fred, eating..
The Bratislava Arena, wide but not deep..
(posted on a mobile phone)
mercredi 26 novembre 2008
Thank you for your interesting comments. Some of them are fun/clever and full of information...
The concert in Vilnius was probably one of the best so far. No technical problem except a mobile phone buzz, in my ear-monitors from time to time, really disturbing. You can tell at once, when a venue works or not for a project and this one had the right proportions and vibes.
The audience was one of the warmest and I really would like to come back for a next project.
I am still impressed to see such a feedback for a rather difficult project in fact, because apart from three or four popular songs, the rest of the concert is rather experimental.. And the audience is reacting like in a rock concert. It is a real encouragement for the next project, being more ambitious on a production point of view.
Vilnius is a nice little town much more "central Europe" than Riga in its architecture.
Being in the same hotel as the rest of the crew, I organised a drink for everybody to let them know how much I appreciate their energy and dedication to make this tour as smooth as possible. Everybody is doing their job in a good mood, with the feeling of being part of the same family.
On top of it our french and our brits are going well together, a good omen for next year..
We also had a session with the musicians discussing next year projects and with James to talk about potential stage design for the future. I met with Nick H. who organised most of our shows in eastern Europe, and supervised the local promoters. He has a serious experience of the region including Russia. He's a very interesting british guy, living in Istambul, speaking lots of different languages, including fluent french. We travelled together. He organised concerts this year for Bjork, Kraftwerk and few other interesting acts. We talked about the music industry and the touring situation in eastern Europe. He also just finished his own movie in Paris. Looking forward seing him again..
With the Vilnius audience standing after Oxygene 4
A nap for the crew after sound check
Production manager, dear James Monkman, in front of the Vilnius arena.
Vilnius arena just before falling down!
(posted on a mobile phone)
lundi 24 novembre 2008
In the plane from Riga to Vilnius after another exciting concert in spite of a violent snow storm outside. Few minor problems with my gear, yet the sound was really good in the hall thanks to Alain Courieux. But Julien fought all evening with the mix in our ear-monitors to get it right.. The audience was really into it. Being a young country, Latvia ("Lettonie" in french) is eager for new ideas and Oxygene seems to represent for them also, a symbol of freedom...
Earlier on we had lunch with Girts, the local promoter, a charming guy. We went in the Theater restaurant, a rather cool place in the old town, with him, Thomas and Pierre. The snow was everywhere and was giving some magic to the area.
Girts explained how special Latvia is, a small country squeezed between Germany and Russia, being independant from Germany only since 90 years ago, and then being under Soviet Union influence soon after independance. They have only been living as a free country for 20 years.. They are much closer to Germans and Scandinavians than to Russians.
During the war this situation created a lot of tragedies, such as families with two brother soldiers, one in the german army, the other one in the russian army..
Living in a such a young country everything is new for them. From extremely poor they became suddenly rather wealthy and for instance they don't know how to cope with the current crisis, not only practically but psychologically, experiencing the danger of capitalism just when they started getting a taste of it..
The Town is beautiful a mix of french art nouveau architecture with more coloured buildings, reminding also some areas of San Francisco under the snow..
A peaceful moment..
One more thing, thank you for all your comments about the russian week.
By the way, when I used the word "terrific" about the russian reviews on the concert, that was not negative!! In english, "terrific" means "excellent" as well as "terrible"... And actually all the reviews about Moscow and St. Peterburgh were really good...
Arena Riga, sideways
Our great truck drivers. Come what may, every night they drive the old ladies around while we sleep..
March of the Penguins..
Blogging yet staying warm..
Art Nouveau, Riga style
Not so nouveau
Today I'm Žana Mišela Žāra
Even M&Ms stay warm here
(posted from a mobile phone)