vendredi 29 mai 2009

Unexpected Koblenz

We arrived quite late in Koblenz in one of the most unusual venue of the tour: the roof is half glass and then we had daylight until 9:45. So we did the soundcheck between 7 and 8 and we started the concert at 9:35pm in a rather gloomy light. I was able to see all the people in the audience, it was so strange..

Again the magic was there like yesterday. It seems now that we have achieved a certain level of control of the songs technically. We can really improvise and play around the themes. The German audience and the fans were really great and we had a real good time on stage. Everything went well, the new AX-Synth is a bit brighter and seems to sound better than the initial prototype.

The laser harp worked well, not like in Brussels where I had a real problem in Rendez-Vous 2. Indeed yesterday, right in the middle of the laser harp part, it froze, the harp went crazy and sent all the MIDI notes at the same time to the Synthex. Patrick leaped on stage like a rocket to switch it off then on and reprogram the sound. I tried again, but the harp was still crazy, I then rushed at the Synthex to play the rest of the theme directly on the keyboard, but the sound was uncontrollable. The audience followed everything and applauded, which I did appreciate...
Tonight, as I said, everything was OK. At least this accident definitely convinced all those who still thought the laser harp was not a real live-performance instrument...

The Theremin in Koblenz

An unusual venue

Magic Brussels

After London, Brussels was also a place where I wanted to deliver even more than elsewhere a real good show.
Half of the crew is from Belgium: the lighting designer, my friend Ignace d'Haese, his right hand man Glen Mollemans and all the EML team. The french promoter's team, and lots of other friends were around as well.
My friend, Jeroen Raveloot, one of the heads of Roland Central Europe was also there. We had dinner together at the catering before the concert. He brought me a black AX synth specially customised for me by Roland Japan. Apparently they are having a lot of requests for the AXsynth in black since Keyboard Mag US showed me on stage with the prototype that Patrick covered in black for lighting reasons. I am goimg to try the new one tonight in Koblenz then...

The Brussels concert has been magic. The sound was amazing, the light was unique. The all belgium team wanted to do their best in their capital and it worked.. I was really excited on stage and we all had a real good time: after four songs my shirt was totally wet and the whole venue was on fire.. I felt a real fusion with the audience. We are now in control of the show and I can be cool on stage and enjoying what is going on.
The last 30 mn. all the audience was standing, dancing and raving.. Great moments. The feedback after the show was excellent and very encouraging for the future..

With the new AX-Synth

Storm in Amsterdam

We joined my wife Anne in the Amsterdam airport. She was arriving from Paris at the same time as us from Birmingham. We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around and enjoying the vibes of such a lovely city. Fiona was coming as well, back from Ireland.

In the evening started one of the biggest storm I have seen for a while. Fantastic lightnings lighting the all town.
... quite Wagnerian.
The venue did not allow us to get the full cyclo but the acoustic is probably the best so far. Everybody was in a very good mood, the concert was cool and easy with a nice audience. I had a problem with the laser harp in RV2 and I had to unblock the midi of the Synthex and going back to the harp for the end of the song..

After the show, I met Armin Van Buren. He told me he was a great fan of mine and that my music inspired him to become a musician! I felt really honored coming from one of the 2 or 3 best DJ in the world. We discussed about how my music has influenced trance music, which is so huge all over the world, except in France where we are more electro. I definitely feel part of that trance family. Armin is also a great human being and we promised to each other to keep the contact and to collaborate on one project, one of these days..

With Amin Van Buren

Telling secrets to Francis and Dominique

lundi 25 mai 2009

The UK Week

It started in Glasgow, a very unusual venue indeed. We knew from the start that it would be the most difficult one: too small for our production, impossible to get the PA behind the screen and all our lighting equipment. Despite all this we had a warm welcome from the Scots and it was technically a good warm up before London.


Even though the audience was good at the Royal Albert Hall last year, I was not entirely satisfied. Too many technical problems and the RAH is always a difficult venue. So the crew, the band and I were really longing for this gig.

I love Wembley Arena, I had already played there and despite its age compared to the O2 arena, the sound and the mood there is great.. We had a serious sound and light check and even if everybody was apparently cool, you could feel the energy growing all day long, no question of missing that one.
Ignace d'Haese our lighting designer came over specially for the concert and we spent two hours checking and cleaning every song. I tuned with Hugo the pace and the textures of the lasers. Then we had a two-hour sound check. You could tell that the sound was amazing already. I rehearsed especially all my solos. The Laser Harp was ok, like the accordion, the moog liberation and the chorus in Fin de Siècle.

I went on stage like on a boxing ring, and instantly I felt it was going to be great. The audience was really hot, the sound was perfect, the light and lasers amazing. Such an energy was coming from the stage and the audience that the whole building was vibrating with the subwoofers and you had such a space in the mix that the audience and ourselves were immersed in a storm of sounds and lights..

I dedicated Oxygene 4 to London because it is where everything started for me, when one evening Radio 1 played the entire album, Oxygene became an instant hit everywhere.. Then I dedicated the next song in the Encore, Fin de Siècle, to my father. It is a song I composed in London after having met him there after many years. I have been moved by the audience which suddenly sat down in a religious silence. Thanks to you all.
The after-show party was great, everybody was very enthusiastic about the show.

My son Barnaby, his wife Chione and their boys Roman and Gabriel were there too. It was so great to see the boys dancing and staring at the stage all along the concert.

The following morning, on Saturday we left London for Manchester by bus. We were stuck for several hours in a huge traffic jam. We arrived very late at the venue and we had the shortest sound check of the tour by far: just a few minutes.
Lots of things went wrong on stage, but apparently nobody really noticed and the audience was great.
Pierre said in our ear monitors that we should do a second Encore, which we did.

This afternoon we arrived in Birmingham, driving all the way long. We had such a great weather, summer-like. We had a lot of fun in the bus, we took some photos for Paris Match. We climbed on the roof of the bus to get some sun. Then I spent some time in my room playing on the Korg PA500, finding new ideas..
I really enjoyed the show tonight, I had a lot of fun on stage with Dominique, Francis and Claude. The audience was receptive and everybody ended the concert dancing and raving....

mardi 19 mai 2009

dimanche 17 mai 2009

Flash back

Flying back to Paris before the british gigs next week, I am thinking about these past few days. The concert in Helsinki yesterday night was with Oslo, probably the best one so far. The audience was great and enthusiastic, the sound. really impressive and I gave a lot ot energy on stage. Theremin, accordion, AX-S solos went well. Laser harp on Rendez Vous 3 was great but it suddenly froze in Rendez Vous 2 for unknown reasons.. The mood was so hot that we did a second encore with a reprise of Oxygène 4. Later we did a screening of the film of the show at the hotel to adjust the lights and lasers for next week.

The show changed so much since the beginning. It is much more consistent now.

So many things happened and already really good memories. Thomas stayed with us for a week. He did so many things, time lapse shots, films, photos. He is also bringing so much to the all atmosphere of the tour day after day.

My daughter Emilie and her daughter Madeleine came to see me in Denmark and the three of us had a real good time together.

On each leg of the tour finding new keyboards or synths becomes a ritual! This time I found in Malmö an Ion Alesis quite rare and handy and a Korg PA 500 for having fun in the bus.

Claude as usual is buying the most unusual stuff from Bear paws to Gravadlaks..

Next stop Glasgow on Wednesday, then London on Friday...

samedi 16 mai 2009

A few photos

Finally some pictures from the tour, click on the cities for the specific concerts.

Scandinavian ellipsis

In the plane on the way to Helsinki..
Finally the concert in Oslo started sounding and looking close to my expectations. There is something special with this venue, the audience (who was really great that night, many thanks to them) is really close to the stage, and it gives a feeling of proximity quite unique. In addition you don't have these far too strict regulations like in Sweden for lasers, so the audience could be truly immersed in the waves of light.

In Stockholm, yesterday the sound was really good but lasers pointed a bit too high. I am now starting to control the laser harp rather well, but maybe I should make a few intentional mistakes for people to really understand that it is live!!

I am really enjoying the touch of the AX-Synth, the prototype that Roland Europe kindly got me before its July release for the solo in Fin de Siecle. I think this instrument sounds really great. We had to cover it in black for lighting reasons, I know that Roland Japan is preparing a special version for me to fit the project. I really appreciate.

Talking about instruments, after the gig in Stockholm, with Dominique, Claude and Francis we met all the team from Clavia. We had a good time talking about new ideas for future projects. We were also impressed by the Nord Electro 3 and the Nordwave, which we really would have to get for the next leg of the tour, specially for America and Australia.

Tomorrow I am looking forward to playing Helsinki. I like this city. The Railway Station is a great piece of architecture. During the cold war, the Russians, who were not allowed to come to the West, were coming from Moscow, just to spend some time and money in the restaurant of the station transformed in a casino where they could play blackjack, roulette..etc. And then going back home by the next train. You can still imagine KGB spies being around..

lundi 11 mai 2009

After Malmö

Hi everybody, the concert in Malmö is over now, and it went rather well.
It's a strange venue, brand new, very high, and it's actually the second concert there, the first one being by Bob Dylan. The sound is interesting in the venue, it was quite all right.. We had problems with regulations for the lasers in Sweden, and particularly here, as we had to aim the lasers above the highest row of people in the balcony. So the lasers stayed quite high tonight, and we couldn't render all the effects I wanted.
Apart from that, it's work in progress, and I think each concert brings a little more confidence to the crew and the musicians. I'm looking forward to the next concert tomorrow in Gothenberg.
Good night!

dimanche 10 mai 2009

Tuning the show

lundi 4 mai 2009

World Tour kicks off