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[review] 15th December 2007, Oxygène In Marigny

Post Posted Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:51 pm
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15th December concert review


Part.2 : Heaven On Earth Is Too Short

Total dark, total silence on stage, then the curtain goes up, we see all those analog synths on stage, they look so big and wonderful !
But, where are the musicians, were is Jean Michel ?
We hear “bonsoir” and a white round seat to the left of the stage turns, Jean Michel is in it !! He looks so handsome with his dark suit, he begins to speak in French, thank everybody to have come, a girl shouts “I love you”, Jean Michel answers “Me too”, then Jean Michel begins to speak about the problems they had with “a man from the desert in the garden of the theatre” ! He tells this is a premiere as this is the first time the whole Oxygène is being played, he speaks about the old gear, telling they are poetical and that they can do all the sounds. He thanks Pierre Schaeffer and quotes him, speaks about the artwork made by Michel Granger.
Then, he introduces the three musicians with him he is going to “carry this concert everywhere”, Dominique Perrier, Claude Samard and Francis Rimbert, speaking a bit about them. Then he introduces the Theremin.
Then, he says that the entire concert is going to be played live, without sequencer “when nowadays concert are playbacked”. He warns the audience, telling that there might have mistakes, “but not too much then we can have pleasure”.
Then he comes to his setup, and hit the EMS AKS, this is the first track, the introduction, they tune all the synths, the sound is huge, sounds are coming from everywhere, I was really astonished at how huge the sounds of the Eminent could sound, the AKS was very powerful as well, I had expected a louder sound though !
Little pause, and Prelude begins, Jean Michel goes on his MemoryMoog and begins to play his sequence, Dominique plays the Mellotron, Francis is on his Eminent, I can’t see Claude at all, too bad… This was sounding exactly like on the DVD Oxygène Live In Your Living Room, as wonderful, really Tangerine Dream orientated. Jean Michel is really concentrated, no mistake at all on this track, pure like… Oxygen… then he takes his Doepfer ribbon controller and begins to make his solo on it, the sound is aerial, sometimes deep, Jean Michel feelings, his heart is speaking… he takes the ribbon controller on the Yamaha CS80 and goes on his Eminent 310, Oxygène 1 begins…
Aerial, breath-taking, perfectly played, Francis plays the glissandos like on the DVD, then Jean Michel walks to his AKS and begins to play his Theremin-like solo, while a red bar is going down in the background. Still no background video, only the huge amount of synths, the 4 musicians and the black background.
The higher chords of Francis’ Eminent are making some noise, poor old organ… suddenly, the MiniMoog bass of Claude comes, huge, Jean Michel goes on his ARP2600 and plays with his little box adding a nice solo, like the one of the original album, all is perfectly played, pure pleasure for the ears… the bass goes away, the Eminent strings played by Jean Michel comes back again, is that a dream or reality ? It sounds so wonderful and perfect… Jean Michel switches back to his 2 AKS just in front of the stage and plays some effects, he moves his body with the modulation of the sounds, total symbiosis with the synths… he loves his AKS !
Oxygène 2 sequence is coming, the bass, a green shape comes to the background, turns to blue, yellow, the red bar goes away, Oxygène 2 is launched, Jean Michel makes the AKS cry, the sequence comes, loud, soft, loud, soft…BAM, the drumtrack is launched with the effect by Claude, this drumbox has such a powerful sound, I was astonished and surprised, Jean Michel played an excellent solo, much better than the one from the DVD if you ask me ! And he playes, the time of the second part of Oxygène 2 comes, he will play the solo on the MemoryMoog, 1, 2, 3, go ! Ow ? What is happening ? The sound is so detuned…! Oh no, the MemoryMoog has got a problem ! Jean Michel tries to turn some potentiometers to arrange the sound, but it’s not his fault, the power supply of the synth has a problem (as we have been told by Francis Rimbert just after the concert). During the whole end of the track, Jean Michel tries to get the good sound, the fans are applauding, “this is not your fault, Jean Michel, go on !”. It seems like Jean Michel managed to modify the sound to make it sound a bit better at the end of the track, all the musicians on stage try to play some additional chords to help Jean Michel not to feel alone and stupid on stage, but finally, us, fans, were amazed by how excellent they were at solving this problem, here we have true musicians !
Oxygène 2 leaves with crazy strings and a huge wind, and Oxygène 3 comes, the deep bass introduces it with power, everything is perfectly synchronised, Claude adds a powerful kick, Jean Michel then goes back on the MemoryMoog and tries to repair it, tries some sounds, but it’s still detuned, so he goes to the Theremin and begins his solo which will be much longer than expected I guess because of the problem with the MemoryMoog, to me it seems like Francis, Claude and Dominique try to force Jean Michel to stop playing the Theremin at changing the end of the sentences they were playing.
Then, comes the first Variation, Variation I, I didn’t remember at all the one from the DVD, but that one sounded better than what I had in mind, Jean Michel added powerful bass sounds, the Mellotron just sounds amazing in that one, then Jean Michel goes back on his AKS and plays the Theremin-like sound, Francis (or was it Dominique with the Moog55 ?) plays a bit the sequence on the ARP2500 and then cut it, then, some minutes after, the sequence comes again, with a huge wind sound, and the sequence ends.
Oxygène 4 begins, Jean Michel, Claude, Dominique and Francis say together “un, deux, trois, quatre” and then, it begins, perfectly synchronised, a huge mirror comes from the ceiling and shows the stage from the upper side, that was excellent to see it like that ! They played Oxygène 4 perfectly well, even if I still miss the original solo of the RMI from 1976… the track ends, the bass continues a bit though, and then, some bubble sounds come.
Variation II comes with a very Tangerine Dream-orientated sequence, with some Mellotron sounds and bass on a solo is played, but it sounds horribly detuned at some points though, Jean Michel adds some AKS effects on it, then goes to his Doepfer ribbon controller to play a solo on it and then switches back on his AKS to finally finish in front of the Digisequencer.
Arrives the string sound of Oxygène 5 played by Dominique and the bass played by Claude, in the meanwhile, I don’t really what is Jean Michel tring to do, he plays some random keys on his RMI, trying to program a new sound, and then switches on his MemoryMoog to fix it, it could have been perfect if Jean Michel had to played those notes, I really don’t know what happened to him ! Oxygène 5 sounded more like a fairy tale, sadder than on the original album. Then Jean Michel comes to his RMI and plays his part, he plays it well. Claude comes with the Taurus and plays with his fists, that’s funny to see, his part was well played ! Jean Michel launches the first sequence and the sequence with the bass sound of the RMI and adds all the layers of the sequence, he turns some potentiometers on his RMI and makes sure everything is well before walking to his portable synth, the Moog Liberation on which he begins to play the solo with some nice improvisations, I have to say I liked it much, it was much better than on the DVD ! Then he went back on his setup and launches the last sequence of Oxygène 5, which is the base sequence of Variation III.
So, Variation III begins, the pads and strings are played, but… the main sequence is missing, and it suddenly comes, completely detuned, no, not again a problem on a synth !! Oh ? Is it double played ? No, this is Francis playing it by hand while Jean Michel turns off the detuned sequence and goes on his ARP2600 to play his solo, so Francis saved the track which sound fantastic, he even improves a little solo with the sequence at one point, it was sounding very good to finish, Jean Michel adds some sweep sounds from the CS80, it’s very spectacular to see how they managed to avoid a real mess for the second time, those guys are amazing ! Jean Michel even adds a solo on the AKS with Theremin-like sound while Francis plays with the sequence he is still playing by hand. So finally, this Variation III could have been called Variation III bis, at the end, the audience applauds frankly while Oxygène 6 is coming.
Oxygène 6 comes, the mirror leaves, the Earth appears in the background as a video, begins to turn, Jean Michel plays some random notes on the RMI to make sure it works well, the Earth turns and we see the skull, Jean Michel prepairs things on the Digisequencer, would there be another track after Oxygène 6 ? Then, Jean Michel plays his solo part on the RMI like the one he does on the DVD, the sound is, in my opinion, too close to the sound of the chorus of Oxygène 4, it would have been better to have another sound, but on the other hand, it would have been too long to program, and another synth on stage would have been one other source of error possibilities. Then, the sound fades down, the wind comes.
Some strings are played, the strange distortion noise of Oxygène 12 is played, a sequence comes, the audience applauds in rhythm, another sequence comes, some strings, it sounds good, the light is dancing, appearing, disappearing, a slow bass sequence comes from a low to a high range, some blue projection shapes appear in the background, Jean Michel plays a solo over the track, the second solo begins to play some notes of a known sequence… Oxygène 12 ! Jean Michel adds a solo on the ARP2600, the strings of Oxygène 12 are played, the solo becomes the sequence of Oxygène 12, the bass stops, only the strings remain and the sequence, pitched in a very nice way in the end of the musical sentence, the famous projection video appears, Jean Michel adds all the layers of sequences with the Digisequencer, the drumkit then comes, the audience applauds in rhythm, it seems like everybody is enjoying this nice surprise !
Jean Michel then switches on the famous CS80, used on Oxygène 7-13 for the lead sound of Oxygène 12, and plays perfectly this lead, very very powerful, huge, enormous, all the track sounds like the original one !! This is amazing, they did an excellent job on that track, and with the video, it is as if that was the end of the world, as if he was shouting “heyyyyy world, wake up and see what you are doing !”. The audience is astonished by such a power, nobody moves, Jean Michel makes the CS80 scream and uses the ribbon controller in an excellent way, making the sound going from very low to very high, then, everything goes mad, the strings are going crazy, the white light is blinking and there is a huge sound, Jean Michel literally takes his arms on one synth, the audience has a very powerful light in the face, as if that was the end of the world, we were totally surprised by that, for my case I didn’t expect the end to be that powerful, we are very far from Oxygène 13 as an end !
Too bad, it’s finished, time went so fast !
Jean Michel shows the musicians, the audience stands up, people shout “une autre” (another one), Jean Michel thank us, comes with Claude, Dominique and Francis to thank the audience and then they leave the stage. With all our shouts, Jean Michel will come another time, then will leave, and then will come back to say “on ne peut pas bisser Oxygène” (“we can’t make a bis of Oxygène”), then he left the stage for real.

Then, we decided to go out of the room to buy some things, I bought 10 posters (4 for Oliver) and 7 programmes, for my friends of www.zoolook.nl and me.
I discussed with some fans in the hall, from France and Holland, and then we went to the other side of the Théâtre.
When I arrived, I saw Jean Michel’s Jaguar car surrounded by a lot of fans, they wanted to wait for Jean Michel to come. I waited there some minutes and someone told me that Francis was going out of the Théâtre by the artists exit, I ran to there, there were a lot of fans, I found some French friends fans. There I managed to take some videos and photos of the mess, someone told me that Dominique and Claude has already left. Francis remained there a lot of time, all the French fans from Aerozone forum made some photos with him, then Gert came to me followed by all our team, some seconds after, Jean Michel was trying to get out of the Théâtre, but everybody wanted an autograph, after some minutes at trying to get out, he came back in, that was the last time I saw him… So, the French fans ran back to Francis and discussed with him, took photos and all. He told us about his project in the meanwhile, he would make a concert in London for his own in March, news to follow closely ! When I turned the head, Gert and all the team had left, some minutes after, they came back and told me they managed to see Jean Michel on the other side of the Théâtre, going out to take his car and get home. Gert even asked Jean Michel if he knew Zoolook forum, he told that yes, but who knows, maybe he has never heard of it…
Then, Francis left.

As the French fans and the admin team of www.zoolook.nl were quite hungry, we decided to go to Quick on the Champs Elysées to eat something. We took some chairs on the third floor and began to speak together about how we liked the concert, about the little problems and all, but then, as it was almost 1AM, our Dutch friends, as they waited for long hours in a train station, wanted to go to the flat where we, Oliver, Christophe, Gert, his girlfriend, Hans, a French girl from Aerozone and me were sleeping.
After more than 40 minutes in the Metro, we arrived at the flat with Guillaume, told him good night and went to sleep. After having laughed and fun, we finally began to sleep at 3AM.
Hans took his train early, I took mine in the morning, Oliver and Chris bought me to the Gare De Lyon and then came back to Swiss, the French fan left a bit after and Gert and his girlfriend remained in Paris !

So, to conclude, I have to say I am quite unsure. On the one hand, I was expecting something more spectacular, not with more videos as I knew there wouldn’t be a lot of them, but I was expecting the sound to be louder, and I didn’t see a lot of things from my seat, the guy in front of me was hiding the stage, I didn’t properly see Claude either…
That was my second time I saw Jean Michel live, the first was completely different, that was Teo&Tea showcase in Cannes in May 2007, so sure it wasn’t the same atmosphere, but in fact, I shouldn’t have watched the DVD before, some fans were right at deciding to watch it after the concert, as I knew what I was about to see, the pleasure in the concert was much lower.
But on the other hand, I wasn’t expecting at all Jean Michel and the whole crew to play that well the tracks, to use in such an excellent way all the gear and to solve all the problems live without cancelling tracks, or even worse, the whole concert !

So, to really conclude, I have to admit that, if they would have managed to play everything properly without any problem with synths and all, I wouldn’t have had as much pleasure as I really had in this place.
All I can say, Jean Michel, if you read me (I can still dream), is that you really NEED to play live your concerts, it gives them a soul, and I am really convinced that you are prouder when you have played a concert during which you successfully managed to solve the problems than when you mime on synths on a music we all (including you) have already heard millions of times before.

I was really suspicious between the release date of the DVD of Oxygène Live In Your Living Room and the concert date, as some rumours were telling quite negative things, but now, I’m really positive and I truth you, you will make marvellous things again with all your nice analog gear ! Jean Michel, you were, are and will be my god forever !

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My music, webdev, photos, videos : www.nicolaskern.fr
Robert Dugenou

Attended :
Teo&Tea showcase in Cannes [France] - 20/05/2007
Théâtre Marigny, Paris [France] - 15/12/2007
<2010> Marseille [France] - 20/03/2010
Monaco - 01/07/2011
Arènes de Nîmes – 14/07/2016

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