mardi 1 avril 2008

A tough day at Royal Albert Hall

After Manchester that went really well, even though the load-in has been painful for the crew, I was worried about London, for good reasons..
First, when you have a day off after a good gig it is always difficult to start again with the right energy.
Secondly, the Royal Albert Hall has a reputation of being a difficult venue, its size, its architecture, its lodges, make it difficult for staging a production made for a tour format and getting the right sound. It would require specific rehearsals that we could not have because the venue was busy until the morning of the concert.
And I was right to be worried..
As soon as I went on stage, I felt real good vibes coming from the audience, yet I knew that it was going to be tough. When I started to talk to the audience a big iron chain fell down from the ceiling at one meter from me and I could have been injured badly. Then some of my synths that have been quite stable recently started to be out of tune during the concert.

On a visual point of view, the black curtains did not close and open properly, the cyclo (the big white screen), was not tight enough and had ugly pleats, the mirror had to be so high that it became almost impossible to have it on and off at the right time and when the projections started the mirror was still visible and created some wrong reflections on the screen at the beginning of Oxygene 6..
The sound was allright at the first part but not loud enough further up.
Being meticulous on the audio and visual aspects of the concert, I felt really frustrated not being able to deliver what I wanted, particularly in this prestigious venue, even if the audience was great. The reviews have been really good since the beginning of the tour and if today they are not as positive as usual, I can only agree with them..
Right after the gig, guitarist Brian May from Queen came with Garik, a friend of his, and told me that he and Garik really enjoyed the concert which cheers me up a bit. We then had real good moment together joined by my son David who is a big fan of Brian's.
Brian told me that he recently became a doctor in astrophysics and introduced me to his friend Garik, an astronomer. He showed me amazing pictures of the huge telescope he helped to build in the Canary Islands and told me that he would like me to collaborate on a concert project over there in a near future under the banner of Unesco. I would be delighted to talk about it further and see what we could do all together. Thomas was there as well he took a lot of pictures and videos and I have to talk to him about this project.
Garik also told me that he has strange recordings of sounds of stars that he wants me to listen to. I am really curious to hear that..
Garik is born in Armenia and told me that my music was not allowed for quite a long time in his country but was in fact very popular for being a kind of symbol of evasion and freedom...
Then we went at the Royal Gardens for the aftershow party. I was joined there by my family, my wife Anne, my son Barnaby and wife Chione, my son David and dearest Ara, his girlfriend. Lots of people and friends were there, JF Cecillon and all of EMI UK, Pascal Cagni (head of Apple Europe) with his wife and the european iTunes team, Dan Waite from MTV intl , my friends Jean Louis R., J.M. Wilmotte and Nicole, Mike Mansfield and Hillary, my dear Fiona, also Louis and Thomas, the band and some of the crew, especially such talented people as Ignace d'Haese,the lighting designer, Alain Courieux and Julien Vouillon the sound engineers and the DigiCo people. We all had good time then until late in the night, followed by a day off.
(posted on a mobile phone - fingers still red hot)

21 commentaires:

kroffe a dit…

I was really glad that something didn't happen with that chain! Let's cross our fingers that something like this only happen once during a tour. ;)

I created a little tribute of my own to welcome you to Sweden this weekend.

kroffe a k a Le Singe Monotone

Anonyme a dit…

Jean Michel, I'm so glad that you enjoyed a day off! It must be very frustrating when things don't go as well as is planned.

I wasn't able to get to the RAH concert, but I was at Birmingham and enjoyed every single second of it. It was the second time I had seen you in concert, the first was at Wembley so very very different. I felt very priveliged to have seen you playing Oxygene in such an intimate setting.

I hope that you will come back to the UK very very soon!

Unknown a dit…

Hello Jean Michel!

You signed my daughters birth certificate at the stage door at the end of the night ! Her name is Ellie-Jarre Davis ! - Thank YOU !!!

Nino Auricchio a dit…

Don't take the critics reaction to heat Jean Michel. They always pedal out the same old things to say and they're always wrong. True, there were a few little hic-ups with the production and I'm so glad you weren't hurt by that chain.

It was a fantastic show for me and the music has developed so much since I saw you in Paris, everyone is really on it.

Thank's for signing my original LP cover, even though it doesn't play anymore as I've worn the groove out!

Take care and look forward to the next project.


Sean McManus a dit…

It was a great show! I was at Paris too, and I think the show has evolved a lot since then. The improvisations seemed more relaxed at this show. Good luck for the rest of the tour.

Unknown a dit…

We had a fantastic time at the RAH gig , the sound from Arena seats was superb. Clearly there were some technical problem with the lighting / mirror and the big chain !!
But this was not big problem...
We only noticed some tuning problem with the 2600 and the Andromeda.

It was fantastic to hear Oxygene performed as close as possible with almost all original instrument.

I would like to know if your "refound" passion with the old analogues will be carried on with future concerts - an Equinox/Mag Fields follow up tour would simply be mind blowing....

tdream88 a dit…

Is Claude Samard a member of the Blue Man group?!! l0lll !!! Regards :))

Michael a dit…

"Garik also told me that he has strange recordings of sounds of stars that he wants me to listen to...."

Wouldn`t it be a good idea, to use such "star-sounds" for your next studio album Jean Michel?

Anonyme a dit…

Look at the bright side: you were not injured! And I'm glad!!! If you're not fully happy with the concert, why don't you come back for a second Oxygene concert in the RAH, or with a new concert in a next tour?

lisa a dit…

I am looking forward to a Brian May/Jarre project!
I'm a big fan of both of yours and think that you despite the differences in music style has a lot in common when it comes to ideas and visions.

I am also looking forward to the gig on friday in Stockholm! See ya!

Kanta a dit…

Hi Jean Michel,

Just like to say thank you very much to you and the team from the bottom of my heart for the Royal Albert Hall concert. It was amazing and truly fantastic. I could feel the music vibrating from my seat. You have made me so happy coming to England and playing concerts at the Symphony Hall and Royal Albert Hall. These are the ones I attended. The best for me, you stayed at the same hotel in Birmingham, signed my Oxygene program. Then, in London signed my Oxygene CD cover. All my Christmases and Birthdays seemed to have come all at once. I will never forget this week.

Good luck with the rest of the tour. I hope to see you very soon.

Your fan.

Christophe a dit…

Hello Jean Michel,

A very good report of the problems in Royal Albert Hall. Now we realy know what there going wrong that evening!

Succes with rest of your tour,


Unknown a dit…

I thought the show was fantastic Jean Michel, despite the problems you faced. I had mailed you a few days previous to say that i would hope too finaly meet with you.

And i did, just about. My girlfriend and i took the 3.30 tour of the hall, so was able too see the set up in progress, and saw yourself overseeing the set up. Then before the concert i stumbled across an aftershave called Oxygene, which i had to buy, as it seemed so appropriate. And after the amazing show, i waited at the stage door. Was hoping to be able to hand you my Rendez-vous cd in a civilised manner, but as you were nearing your bus i knew i just had to push my arm through to get that autograph that i have waited over 20 years for. And thankfully you signed it for me.

Thank you so much Jean michel, for a real all Jarre day in london.

Wayne morris.

RiCo a dit…

I was at your concert in paris the 15th december and it was fantastic Jean Michel !!! And now what I'm reading !!!! A collaboration with Brian May !!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm huuuuuuuuuge Fan of Brian May/Queen and of your music Jean Michel, and I was very pleased to see your name on Brian's website . It would be fantastic to hear the red special sings with your synthesizers !!! Hope to hear from this project soon!!!
Good luck for the rest of the tour

Eric (France)

Unknown a dit…

Hi Jean-Michel,

Many thanks for a fantastic concert on Sunday night, I'd not seen you for ten years! (Oxy Tour Manchester 97) - and it was fantastic seeing you again on stage after so long!

Really enjoyed the concert, it was fantastic hearing Oxygene in its entireity, the audio was fantastic, don't worry about the screen, although I did think that the mirror got a little low at one point!

Hopefully I won't leave it so long next time!

Stuart Affleck a dit…

Jean-Michel, despite all the problems you experienced, it was a truly great show. For my part, apart from that scary moment with the chain, the only problem for I experienced was the sound level (I was in one of the higher level seats)- it was about the quietest gig I've ever been to, though it was clear. It was my third time seeing you live (Versailles '93 & Wembley Arena '98) and this was the best of the three. Many thanks to yourself, band and crew. And don't leave it another decade before you play the UK again! Merci beaucoup!

Anonyme a dit…

Well this was my first concert of yours, and for me the Best sound I have ever heard at the RAH the ONLY thing was when you played that stick thing it was a little too loud, and at times the bass synths were a little too quiet. other than that it was a lovely sound balance. Was a shame about the curtian but the Music more than made up for the loss of visuals.

Thank you for an excellant concert

Matthew North

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