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.

Oxygene 12

The beast..

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
Great audience
In the arena at Kosice..
Space Domino
Dominique after landing in Kosice
With Yvetta and Fred, eating..

..crêpes flambées!

The Bratislava Arena, wide but not deep..

(posted on a mobile phone)

mercredi 26 novembre 2008

Planet Vilnius

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

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)

samedi 22 novembre 2008

Encounters in Moscow

Friday morning, Serafima the PR from TCI, the local production company, arrived at the hotel with a huge bag of newspapers and magazines, saying that we have terrific reviews everywhere about the concert in Moscow and St. Petersburgh, an excellent way of starting the day.

Then I met Konstantin, the musician who performed "Jarre planet", a tribute around my albums at the Academy of Science last monday. His wife Irina is a soprano, and they are both talented and sweet people. Later on I met the Minister of Culture of Russia and we discussed about some project for next year..

Friday night is everywhere warmer than monday night and it is also true in Moscow where the 2nd concert has been quite different. Even though I got some problems with my flanger pedal on the RMI, I had much more energy and feedback from the audience. People were standing and dancing in the alleys in the end, in spite of the security, which is apparently quite unusual at the Kremlin Theatre.

A lots of people were there, russian musicians, artists, friends, fans....
I met backstage with the US ambassador's wife Jocelyn Beyrle, a very pleasant and nice woman. Her husband John had to go after the concert to meet with Gorbatchev. They have been good friends of Claude for quite a while.. Everybody seemed to enjoy the concert.

Then, invited by Ed, the local promoter trom TCI, we all went for dinner to one of the trendy clubs in town, very eighties.. At one stage in the night someone told me that some guys were at the door of the club with some russian synthesizers they wanted to give me. I thought it was a joke.. Chris and Claude went out to check what was happening and actually they found two very nice guys. So I went and met Rustem and Igor who offered me (all packed!), 1 Polyvox and 1 Allussia, two great vintage analog russian synthesizers.
They told me that, since they were kids, I have been such a source of inspiration that Rustem decided to collect analog synthesizers. I was so excited and really moved by such generous gifts that I decided to go to their place to see their collection the next day (today). This morning Rustem and Igor picked us up at the hotel and we went with Claude to Rustem appt. just outside Moscow.

His place is just great, funky decoration with a large picture of Robert Moog in a golden frame in the corridor and a large room full of extraordinary russian and western analog synthesizers. His wife had prepared delicious cakes with wine and we had real good times listening and talking about all these wonders... They said they could not believe that one day I would visit their place..
We did some photos and I promised to keep the contact. Thank you Rustem (and Igor) for your generosity and dedication..

Then I went with Serafima and Pierre to visit my friend Olga in charge of the modern art museum of photography of Moscow.
She is actually THE specialist of russian photography in Moscow.
She was coming back from New-York were she has an exhibition. She is such a brilliant and excentric character. She was in the middle of the huge gallery introducing her new exhibition about russian rock artist Tsoi, preparing her next one, an extraordinary exhibition about Soljenitsine, being at the same time filmed for a film-documentary and having on top of it, our meeting together..

I needed to see her because I wanted some photos from Rotchenko, the most influential russian photographer of all times and also some informations about russian archives on different topics such as space, cosmos, architecture, technology in the 20th century, fashion, optical and atomic experimentations, etc... As usual, Olga has been great, she gave me a portfolio selected by Rotchenko's family (she is very close to them) and various useful books... We said that we'll meet again in december when she comes to Paris.

I would like to thank Ed, Serafima and everybody at TCI who worked so hard to make this russian week a total success.

Claude stays in the loop

Dominique checking the PR

Call me Жан Мишель Жарр

Robert Moog in golden frame

With Rustem (left) and Igor (right)

Russian synth, close-up
Claude carrying the russian synthesizers
Chris and Fiona grooving under the snow...

Fiona, Chris and Ed, dinner party
Dear Janet, Dominique's wife, Claude and Domino, after show en route for dinner.

No joking with bodyguards

With US ambassador's wife Mrs. Jocelyn Beyrle.

Pierre and Fiona in my dressing room after sound check and before discussing future plans with Chris and James.

Claude being searched at the airport

I am in the plane on my way to Riga, besides me, a girl is reading a russian novel on an e-book...

(posted on a mobile phone)

jeudi 20 novembre 2008

The Red Arrow

St. Petersburg was great. The sound mixed by Alain Courieux (the front-of-house sound engineer) was amazing. The audience was really hot in spite of the security guys being quite heavy each time somebody started dancing or moving too much. We left right after the gig to go back to Moscow.

On the way to the Railway station, we crossed the city and admired its fantastic buildings beautifully lit and under the snow. So many different styles of architectures make you understand that Peter the Great commissioned a lot of different architects, french, italian, german, swedish, spanish... to make Europe consider Russia as a civilised country at last.
So St. Petersburg conceived artificially, became with time one of the most beautiful town.
Then we arrived at the station.

The Red Arrow:

The Red Arrow is the legendary train that the bolsheviks used to go from St. Petersburgh to Moscow.
It is an amazing train all red of course, with real bed rooms in first class. They are playing the St. Petersburg anthem at the departure and the Moscow one at the arrival.
I am in the train now. A rather scary woman is insisting that I choose amongst 4 types of meat and sausages which she will bring over to me at 6AM precise. After having tried to explain to the dragon lady that I really want to sleep, I had to give up in the end and she will bring me this strange mix in the middle of the night..
The decor of the train is really great. Each cabin looks like a small granny's bed room. Everything is beige and red. Through the window you can see the russian countryside by night, covered with snow under the moonlight, like in Doctor Zhivago's movie.
The restaurant is also quite decadent, very 30's, where you can eat from sausage to caviar and drink all kinds of possible Vodkas...

At six o'clock, dragon lady is knocking at my door with a military enthusiasm. Fortunately, she does not force me to eat what she left.

We arrived later in the morning and we left Moscow station while they were playing the city anthem..

Today is a day off for everybody. I had a few meetings near the red square and dinner with friends at Petrovitch, a cool place totally decorated in Soviet Union style. A rockabilly band was playing live some classics of the 50's and 60's sounding like a Tarantino soundtrack..
Tomorrow is showday, the 2nd Moscow concert at the Kremlin.
Good night!

Smolny Cathedral

Thanks to all the fans waiting in the snow after the concert

Saint Petersburg Hall

Self portrait in the St Petersburg Hall

The corridor of the Red Arrow

My bedroom

Very posh

The restaurant
The Red Arrow and the dragon lady (not our dear danish friend!)

The Arts Square

New russian food product with soviet-style packaging

The KGB building

Petrovitch Restaurant

Crossing the Red Square in russian winter

(posted on a mobile phone with cold fingers)