lundi 24 novembre 2008

A sunday in Riga

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..

Warm audience

and down...
Green Dominique
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)

27 commentaires:

Robi a dit…

Hi Jean Michel!

As time pass by, this blog is getting better and better!! :)

Thank you for informing us about your feeling, thoughts, photos! I'm glad that you have succes everywhere!

But Jean Michel!
I will be "angry" if you won't take a hat on your head in this weather, you will get cold...:-(

Its so nice to read first destinations for next year's tour! But they seems indoor instead of outdoor..Wembley for example...But do you know what? Who cares?? :-) The point is the tour! Inside or outside? Either is good!

Best regards from Hungary!

Manuel de Freitas a dit…

Great photos and quite amusing too. Gotta love those M&M's! Great also to hear news about next year's tour. Time for Equinox!

Anna a dit…

If it is so, then it's OK! I don't like journalists on the whole: you never know what to expect from them, sometimes they write actually very silly things! I am very glad about my misunderstanding - that means everything is OK!

customsynth a dit…


snow , keep the synths warm ,

Turid Elisabeth a dit…

Hello dear Žana Mišela Žāra!:)

It is good you keep warm and you and your team have a nice time everywhere you go!

Thanks again for sharing thoughts and pics!

The heart has no wrinkles..
and stay forever young,even if we change a bit and get more reasonable..
Young people are often frozen and have blue skin and cold feet at wintertime..they don't know how to dress..but fall easy in love!
That's why they don't care about bad cold and flu!;)

Anyway...I look forward to new music and concerts maybe next year?

I wish you and your team a wonderful week!

Big hug

Cathy a dit…

we share the same phone! obviously not THE SAME phone, else we'd be hand in hand lol!

I thought it was cold over here in the UK, but seeing your photos of snow etc makes me realise that I'm probably a lot warmer than you guys :P

At the moment I am listening to Chronologie 1, one of my favourite tracks ever used to open a concert (hint hint!)


Signe a dit…

Hej Jens Michael :-)

J'adore your blog. It's like reading Lonely Planet in a geeky, french, intello version...

You make me smile.

Please make a snow man:)



Stephen a dit…

Hi Jean Michel,

Your photos of the KGB building and of the frozen street corners of Russia and indeed the entire Oxygene project reminded me of this from Edward O. Wilson's book: "In Search of Nature":

"Culture, as a product of the mind, can be interpreted as an image making machine that recreates the outside world through symbols arranged into maps and stories. But the mind does not have the capacity to grasp reality in its full chaotic richness; nor does the body last long enough to process information piece by piece like an all-purpose computer. Rather, conciousness races ahead to master certain kinds of information with enough efficiency to survive. / A great deal of evidence has accumulated in genetics and physiology to show that the controlling devices are biological in nature, built into the sensory apparatus and brain by particularities in cellular architecture. / How could it be otherwise? The brain evolved into its present form over a period of about 2 million years, from the time of Homo habilis to the late Stone Age of Homo sapiens, during which people existed in hunter-gatherer bands in intimate contact with the natural environment. Snakes mattered. The smell of water, the hum of a bee, the directional bend of a plant stalk mattered. The naturalists's trance was adaptive: the glimpse of one small animal hidden in the grass could make the difference between eating and going hungry in the evening. And a sweet sense of horror, the shivery fascination with monsters and creeping forms that so delights us today even in the sterile heart of the cities could keep you alive until the next morning. Organisms are the natural stuff of metaphor and ritual. Although the evidence is far from all in, the brain appears to have kept its old capacities, its channeled quickness. We stay alert and alive in the vanished forests of the world."

Nice eh? :)

Maybe read too his book
"Consilience" - which is a beautiful word and concept and maybe a great title for a new album sometime...

Take care, keep warm, enjoy the chaotic richness and Happy Christmas to you and yours.

And yes I was tempted to make a bad pun about the hunter-gatherer bands, but I resisted it... :)


Zwoekie a dit…

Bon jour Jean Michel!

Great to see you're having such a great time during your tour.
It must be great to see all the countries with King winter also touring LOL!

Not to suck up but you are a big inspirator to a lot of people. I still can see the faces of the audiance on the DVD from Poland in the docks where the struggle began what led to a new Poland. They really embrace your music, somehow "Murny", normally not my piece of cake but you could see the how proud the people are about Solidarnos
The same goes for the China concerts.
It's a shame really that a great percentage of youths these days have never hearded about your early work or that of Vangelis or Kitaro. You have to use words like "ambient", "after party music" or "chill" music.
I don't expect them to know all the old analog synths used but they grow up with trance, hip hop etc and it's when they hear O2 or Equinoxe that they'll recognize you.

How stupid am I!
Of course terrific means good, there was no typo on your side, somehow I misread the whole thing. My sincere apolegies to the papers concerned, must have been my cellphone playing tricks on me ;-)

A question to you Jean Michel. I asked this before when I purchased the anniversary editipn of O2 in Paris (with the glasses). You were able to ask you a question after starting this program on the DVD. My question was "what is the best way to learn to program analog synths?" well after buying my Virus TI and study the tutorial and a lot of practice I can produce about 80% of the sounds used by you on any album.
But another question rose.
You really like mixes of O2 and Equinoxe on YouTube, you even encourage people to do so, but does that only count for those first albums?
Would you like it if, for instance I produced a cover/remix/extended versipn of some later material, like Chronology or even Téo and Téa?

I finished my studio today, my KRK monitors are brilliant and I'd like to play around with some of your songs. I wanted to do this for ages but lack of knowledge and gear made it impossible. But that's taken care of now.

Again my apologies for misreading the critics, je suis un foo! Ask the hotdog and crêpe man on the corner of l'avenue de Brun where we stayed during your Marigny time.
I take mustard AND ketchup on those best hotdogs in the world!

OK, long message, sorry for that.

I wish you and your crew, especially Dominique (he is very cool) long days and pleasant nights.

Au revoir


Eniko a dit…

Dear Jean Michel,

Thank you for your blog, we really enjoy reading it; it's a bit like being on tour with you. Or at least we can imagine what it can be like.
On the picture with the hood, as the snow falls makes it look like you had some funny tooth... :)
Wish you all the best!

Unknown a dit…
Ce commentaire a été supprimé par l'auteur.
Unknown a dit…

Nice to read the updates from the tour! I wish that you keep blogging, when the working for a new album begins in the studio!


Elena R a dit…

Hello!!! concert was beautiful in Moscow))))), waiting for you again in Russia, I hope it will be at the open air!!?

stefano a dit…

thank thank thank you, Jean Michel!

On sunday i was in your concert in Riga, it was one of the most nice experience in my life!
I'm an italian guy (from Salerno, south Italy), but in the last september i decided to move in Latvia!
Was as a dream to shake your hand in the end of the concert!
I scream to you that u are for my as a father! ...and i confirm it =)
I want also to apologise for what happen two summer ago in POWERSTOCK festival in Albanella (few km from my born town, Salerno) the first moment was something incredible, the project was locking so amazing, the location was fantastic! But after, few days before the event, we got the sad news about cancellation of your concert!
We was that angry that we was even going to meet promoter to have a better explanations about the reasons....or even just to ask how was possibile that for such big event noone was consider to begin advertising! That was the problem!!!! No information, no advertising, promoter was just happy about UNESCO money and so they didn't think to inform people...even in the local newspaper! Maybe they was too much busy to "eat" for free with UNESCO funds!
SORRY SORRY SORRY, i'm still so shamed about what has happen in POWERSTOCK! Huge disappointment and feeling of sadness coming out from the bitter consideration that in south of Italy is impossible to go over the cultural decline of the last half century!
We are forced to move away, emigrate, for save our mind =(((

Thank again, Jean Michel
i hope to see you again in Canarie for your big event!

U are a positive person, u are unique, u are one of my "father".

allez Jean Michelle
from STEFANO and from Riga

(give a kiss from me to all your "old ladies", they have an amazing sound)

Halcyone a dit…

Quel bel oiseau que notre cher Francis... que dis-je, quel empereur !
Comme le dit "Robi", ce blog is getting better and better.

On voyage...
Vivement les prochaines aventures de Žana Mišela !
Žana Mišela au pays des soviets, Žana Mišela en Amérique, Žana Mišela et le mystère de la pédale Flanger...
Salutations à toute l'équipe.
Loïc / Halcyone

vesna a dit…

Hi, last night I'm reading my kids a book "Jean-Yves a qui rien n'arrive" by Pierre Gripari and when thay got sleep, only I can make it was to listen CD Rendez Vous. Nice and warm for sleeping.Well, You image with a snow from Riga is nice, lovely in this rainday on Belgrade...

lusciniate a dit…

Wanted to say two things.
Firstly Big thanks for the great concert here in Riga. It was really nice and interesting.

Got to say that before this concert I didn't had your face with name and with your music together, but since my dad decided that I definitely should see it, I could join the ranks of the younger part of the audience. And I really enjoyed it!

Thank you!

And secondly ( so that you wouldn't have it wrong) - Here in Latvia, you were not Žana Mišela Žāra, but Žans Mišels Žārs. (the difference is in the last letters of every word. Ending with "a" it's more like (well it is) a female name :) )

And the snow.. it was a nice day. Actually the first real and big snow this year. The previous ones doesn't count.. :)

thank you once more!

Anonyme a dit…
Ce commentaire a été supprimé par l'auteur.
MiKee007 a dit…

Bon soir, Jean Michel!!!

I just wanted to write you the same thing as Aeterno wrote. But I wanted to say that I'm not speaking Latvian, but in our (Czech) language, Žana Mišela Žāra can also be a grammatical form of substantive called "Genitiv", something like English junction with the word "of". So, for example, in Czech language something like "koncert Jeana Michela Jarrea" (fonetically "Žána Mišela Žára") means "concert __of__ Jean Michel Jarre".

And, I want to thank you very much again for your Czech gig, you were going about 2 metres from me and my wife, when you were entering the stage from tribunes, that was something great for us! And, as usually, we were both drying the tears after the show - your music is so impressive!!!

Unknown a dit…

It's like a fairy tale for me,to see you one day. It's my biggest dream!
you never can come to Iran and I never can come out from Iran! but I hope to see you one day... and be in your concert and... uhhhh... I really love your music!

I hope to see you before I died.
with this situation in here, every day I think I can't continue in existence! but I still in hope...

with love

ژان میشل ژار we write your name like this! but I think you don't have this font in your com and you can't see is Farsi's font.

C-Jay a dit…

hi jean michel. finally i registered as blog user, so i can react. :) i even started my own blog..haha...

anyhow, been a fan for over 20 years now, and i really like this blog. its a good way to stay in touch with your adventures... nice!

love from amsterdam.

njiaobi a dit…

what can i say.. Jean, You are great!
i hope You like in Vilnius too.

Normund a dit…

Cher Jean-Michel!

On that night we struggled through a snowstorm, which had so much in common with the sounds and senses coming to the listener from the track Oxygene IV, except that we didn’t have any penguins to complement the scene, although people were covered with snow all over like polar bears. In that violent weather, there was something else that was violent – the desire to finally see you and hear your music in direct presence. The distance of thirty years that now separates us from Year 1976, was also a physical distance that separated the Latvian listener during the Soviet occupation era from attending your former performances. Video recordings of those gigs are, of course, of great value.

I attended your concert together with my 4-year-old daughter Catherine and my wife. My daughter was eager to go to see your show and to dance on my shoulders during the final piece that night close to the stage because she liked the piece which she refers to as the Penguin Song. You know what is meant by this. As for me, it was back in mid 1980s (I was born in 1971), when I first heard your music behind the Iron Curtain. It was the album Equinoxe. Oh, my! I even fell ill from those sounds. I have always been fond of quality music, and it is because of your influence that so many people all over the world have come to closer terms with electronic music and the playing of keyboards, including me.

As a part-time photographer, I appreciated your Mark Rotko-style colour backdrops shown during the concert. Less is always more. I also remember you once quoting a man from China who said the phrase that the music was to be found in between the notes, in the pauses between them, or something like that. This minimalistic and experimental approach is not understandable to quite a lot of people, but there is always time for them to develop their creative thinking, isn’t there?

What I could have wished more at that concert was say the performance of Oxygene Part 9. It really sets the mood. The hall, not very fit for rock and pop gigs, in my humble opinion, had among its listeners quite a few ladies of your age. Electronic music has been experimental from its beginnings, but I don’t think these ladies understood your solos and improvisations on the Moog, say, in Oxygene Part V. That’s why some of them left the hall once you finished playing the Oxygene album. I am sorry for that. However, judging from comments oin some Latvian news websites, the absolute majority of the listerners was very happy to share the music with you. We are a singing nation, known in contemporary music for our choirs, classical performers, soloists, and our national Festival of Song and Dance. So you had come to the right place. Music is very important for us. Your music inspires so many people, and is daily appearing on the playlist of a local radiostation called Radio Skonto, with Equinoxe 4 and Magnetic Fields Part 2 being its favourite.

We want to see more. We are really looking forward to your coming over next year, with the new album to play for us.

Merci pour votre musique!

Take care!


Normund Greenberg

Unknown a dit…

Dear Mr. Jarre,

Thank you very much for concert in Riga! Bit unexpected was snowstorm in that day you arrived but I hope it added some special feature to my hometown.

Probably Latvians wasn't your most active crowd but believe me, we love your music with all our heart and sometimes for us the best way how to feel and enjoy it is in complete silence.

I have to say I didn't wanted to blink for not to miss even tenth of the second from your concert. It "paid off" to me in next few days but eye drops solved everything :-)

With best regards -
from Riga

Анатолий Коледа a dit…

Dear Jean! I'm one of so called JMJ generation boys who rised listening to your great music on old Soviet Mayak tape recorders. Seing you in Riga... this brought me two decades back in time.

do you know that your music was used for Astronomy TV lessons (background) that were on Soviet TV? I fell in love with stars because of your music and even wanted to become a spaceman. I didnt, though. I chose scuba diving instead, but you scored there too :P anyway I am still your greatest fan. Visited your show in Cairo on Y2K, then, finally, in Riga.

I wish oneday you'd back to Riga with a truely big show. should you need something, feel free to ask :)

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