dimanche 7 mars 2010

End of First Week

Yesterday was the fifth concert of the 2010 Tour, after general rehearsals in Belgium which went quite well considering the amount of work done.

I worked a lot on this project to get closer to what I have been having in mind for quite a while. First of all, I rearranged existing tracks for the instruments the four of us use on stage. I also spent time on the mix with Alain Courieux to get every part of the music we play as clear and precise as possible, and with Julien and Vincent to get the best possible sound in our ear monitors, an essential ingredient to play in the most natural way. Then we worked hard with Cedric Courieux and Arno to adjust our new L acoustics PA system for each venue. I did practice quite a lot as well, especially the new Theremin part and my various solos. All that was previously rehearsed in the studio with the musicians Claude Samard, Francis Rimbert and Dominique Perrier. I really wanted that, beyond the technical aspect of the music, every one would express every emotion in each track, our eight hands playing with the same feel.

The other endeavour for this 2010 project was also to design a scenography which could convey the magic of my outdoor concerts, with each song building its own visual world. With Ignace d' Haese, the lighting director, we drafted specific color schemes for the cyclo behind us and I asked him to consider the instrument on the stage like "actors" in a play.. I also made the decision to include video backdrops but to avoid any directly narrative content so that the music should let every one create their own story in their mind. With Hugo and Ansar, the Laser team, we improved the laser harp and thought through ways to use the laser on stage and in space with a 3D approach. That gives the feeling of total immersion into the show for the audience, and will come in handy when we film the concert in 3D in Strasbourg and Liege.

Once we put the last touch to the music in my studio in France, I could focus on the scenography in Belgium. For the first time I decided to inject some live video throughout a few songs, to share some close-ups with the audience, as the way we are playing the instruments is sometimes quite "special". All the live feeds are intentionally in black and white to match the vintage look of the analog synthesizers and to provide a better contrast with the high-tech look of the scenography. Peter is doing an excellent job catching the best angles of the performance. To that effect, we put eight cameras on stage, including a mini cam on my glasses to give a dynamic first-person point of view.

The last general rehearsal went rather well which is quite unusual.. Then we left Belgium for Katowice in Poland, by bus. In fact, I asked Chris Rowley our great production manager to travel as much as we can by bus. In these days where the sense of geography and distances is becoming more abstract because of planes and communication technologies, it is a great experience to go through each continent by road.. And I just love the community spirit and those moments we share with the musicians, Chris, Pierre, Louis or Fiona, drinking sake, discussing future shows or making music..

The first concert in Katowice was exciting because of the Polish audience, always warm and so special to me. Technically, we had all possible problems. It was difficult to install the whole production in time, then something went wrong in Julien's console and suddenly the mix we had on stage was awful. It was a nightmare to play with such a mess in our ears. We knew from the beginning that this hall was the most difficult of the tour... But again, the audience was great and gave us the energy to fight.

During the day off, we decided to visit Auschwitz, which is only 20km away from Katowice. I thought a lot about my Mum, a great figure in the french resistance. She was caught three times by the Germans, and was sent to Ravensbruck, another horrible deportation camp. Everything has been said about the camps, but when you actually see one for yourself, it is beyond all description. The most striking thing to me is to measure the ability of some human beings to be as systematically, massively and madly destructive. It is something that every teenager should see. You feel so sick afterwards.. Thank you Mum for having taught me tolerance after all you have been through.

Then, we set off to begin the German part of the tour to Braunschweig. This second gig went much better, more or less at the level of the general rehearsals.
Hamburg was the first large city, with a lot of media presence, plus my agent Paul Charles and Gerard Drouot, the french promoter.. It was much tighter this time, the show starts to sound the way I want, still some visual glitches to improve. I think that Paul and Gerard understood what I am aiming for with this project..

We left for Berlin, always challenging and difficult like every capital in the world. Not only is it the capital of classical and electronic music, but it has also been the heart of european culture for centuries.. It is always something to play Berlin.
Fortunately, the concert went really well, the audience was so great, a mixture of young musicians, people closing their eyes to focus on the sound, girls dancing, others taking pictures. They were all so enthusiastic, it was a huge encouragement for all of us..

Yesterday night was Oberhausen.. I think for the first time, we delivered what I had in mind, all week we have made the few necessary adjustments on stage and visually and the result was an incredible feedback from the crowd. Everybody stood up for the last 45 minutes, and we delivered such an energy on stage that everyone went really crazy.

I hope we can keep this level of quality next week and maybe even improve it. Then when I will feel we "have" the show, I shall be able to introduce some new songs, but first we need every one in the crew to become in total control and confidence...

Next step Stuttgart.. Stay tuned.

19 commentaires:

mac a dit…

Thank you for the great Evening in Berlin!
I wrote a little about it on http://momworx.de
And thanks for the Handshake! I never wash my Hand again. :-)

Diego a dit…

Thank you Jean Michel for your words, mny people is waiting for youall over the world, including South America, Venezuela where I am. Your 2010 concerts have been really great nd we love your work. The big screen behind you was a really good decision, as good as the cameras.

we love you.


Zwoekie a dit…

great to see you're on tour again.
I will not be there unfortunately due to a course I follow of soundsynthesis and because of the economic downfall which hit us pretty hard.

Make a great DVD with your ever so pleasant commentary.
You mother has raised you well Jean Michel.
More people should have your attitude towards strange or unknown cultures.
I'm glad you try to promote that attitude through your music.
Paris has its own problems, its not all l'amour et romance.

This year my 1st album will be released somehow. Maybe online, maybe via a label.
People are buying more and more mp3s these days, how interesting is it to release something on cd, only the masstering and mixing is done by the label.
A subject you can shed some light on somewhere.

I wish you and all of your crew the best.

Bon voyage!


Holli a dit…

Oberhausen ws indeed a great show. It looked like everyone in the audience and everyone on stage had a great time.
Thanks a lot for such a perfect concert.

See you soon

C-Jay a dit…

jean michel,
thanks for the update... really cool to read your roadstories, just like last year...

nice to see the show is "almost the way you want it"... and great to read you will introduce new tracks soon, and dont stick to only 1 tracklist. THATS some great news!

bring it on!
i will be there in Liege march 28, after a 4 hour car drive from Haarlem (close to amsterdam...)
saw you several times live, really hope there will be a fresh tracklist, also with material after 1997... :)

do your thing maestro!

Robi a dit…

Thank you for the news.

Please feel free for experimenting and introducing new music.

Audience will greatly appriciate!

Unknown a dit…

Hi Jean Michel,

Your concert in Berlin was great, great, great. I loved the mixture of your old analog ladies and the new digital devices and also the widescreen projections. Your music is always inspiring me and I'm thrilled looking forward to your new album.

Just one remark: As some of my neighbours also stated, the music was sometimes really too loud. For instance during Chronologie 6 we could hardly here your lovely accordion.
I know you are interested in this, because you are a perfectionist - just like myself.

All best wishes for your project!

JustMe a dit…

New songs... It sounds so exciting, Maestro!

On the road on the wheels
Through the world which is real
Which is big and full of sounds
New ideas could be found...

I must apologise for the letter "e" which was lost from the end of your name in my comment to the previous post. Probably it was gone with the stellar wind... ;=)
And again and again I want to thank you for the sharing your thoughts and emotions with us. This blog like no other gives the taste of real conversation. And it's exclusively good because like they say at a certain age only a very good sex could be better than good conversation.

jawalka a dit…

Hi Jean Michel :)

Thanks for your always nice words about polish audience.
Concert in Katowice was great despite technical problems.

When it comes to your visit in Auschwitz.. I was there too.. And i must say, that it causes very special feelings..

Leaving the museum man is reacher of many profound reflection on the human suffering and inhumanity of man against another man.

I have great respect for this place and I am glad that you decided to visit it.

Using the opportunity I wanted to point out that Auschwitz is not a Polish camp (how many people think), but the camp, situated in Poland ..

I wish you everything the best for the rest of the tour and I can't wait the new album.

See you soon :)
Kisses and hugs xxx
Kate from Poland

Robi a dit…

Once upon a time, when JMJ's longtime awaited new tracks were introduced during a tour...people opened a champagne...


Jean Michel!

Don't be afraid or concerned introducing new materials.

Tamara a dit…

Jean Michel cher et aimé! Je te félicite de tes succès aux concerts, je souhaite la chance et le bonheur. Voyage prudemment sur les chemins à la voie de la ville, se ménage et les amis!!! Je m'ennuie beaucoup de toi et j'espère me rencontrer et voir toi en 2010 en Russie, à Moscou au concert. Ton admiratrice chaude, le baiser, j'embrasse!!! Je t'aime!!!

Pat Gleeson a dit…

A fantastic blog post Jean Michel, and a beautiful tribute to your mum. See you in the o2, my little girl is looking forward to it!

Nino Auricchio a dit…

From the videos I've been seeing on YT, the whole production looks so much more 'complete' in this tour. Musically everything is tighter, more fluid and punchy. I really hope you start mixing in a few other older and brand new songs into the set list.

I firmly believe Oxygene 8 and Revolutions should be brought out again. They were so powerful during the 1997 Oxygene Tour. Rave-o-lution just smashed it on stage!

Glad to see you're having such a good time, you seem far more comfortable on stage during this new tour.

See you in London on 10/10/10


tdream88 a dit…

EXTRÊMEMENT HÂTE de vous voir sur le continent Américain..........
JMJ Rules! dREaM oN!!!

Anonyme a dit…

I am flying from Manchester to the Munich gig for my birthday. Surprise me and shout out Happy Birthday to me on Saturday :-)


Globe_Trotter a dit…

Merci de mettre des nouvelles de ton aventure, ce qui nous permet de la suivre avec toi en quelque sorte.
Le nouveau morceau joué à Oberhausen est super. elle aurait pu être utilisée comme musique de film genre "2012" ou "Le jour d'après".

Par contre, je préfère l'intro de l'année dernière avec Révolution Part 2, ça déchirait !

Rendez Vous à Liège le 28 mars...en 3D ! :)

Unknown a dit…

great to read your words again. your words on a number of subjects always give me something to think about.

me and my wife are curious as to which brand of sake you and the crew enjoy on your tour bus. My wife is japanese, and she always gets a carton of oni koroshi sake sent over to us from time to time. Only cheap stuff but it goes down well ;)


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

Thanks a lot for such a great concert in Brunswick(Braunschweig)/Germany. Really great to hear you live for the first time. Here are some photos from this evening: