- Live Performance With Audio Commentary
- Animated Gallery
Filmed in high definition and presented in 5.1 DTS and Dolby Digital surround sound (both at the concert and on DVD) the complete concert is presented. It looks and sounds fantastic, in no small part due to the THX mastering, a first for a music DVD. Jarre makes extensive use of new photographic projections on giant 3D inflatable screens, the laser harp, Theremin, and midi flute. The music is varied but would have benefited from band musicians on stage as the music sounds all too similar to the recent "Aero" album apart from some Chinese instrumentation. Jarre looks lonely on stage and recounts a similar track listing from the last 8 years. Highlights include "Voyage to Beijing" as well as the essential "Souvenir of China" and a highly orchestrated "Rendez Vous 2." Straight after the concert in the Forbidden City, Jarre travels by motorbike through the audience to Tiananmen Sqaure where he played a small number of songs to the expectant Chinese crowd. A great idea to play a second concert, but a missed opportunity to play some better tracks like "Eldorado" or "Chronologie 4." Instead of remaking Edith Piafs "La Foule" in Chinese, a better choice might have an adaptation of Jarres own "Cest La Vie."
The package includes a photo gallery and commentary from the composer. The making-of documentary is the icing on the cake, showing how hands-on Jarre is with all aspects of production, from trimming some trees to the lighting design. The included live CD album doesnt add anything for those who have already bought the Aero album. Jarres work deserves to be on the DVD format and this is a highly presented premiere from a special event. --Colin Neal
The music is almost a complete copy of Jarre's latest album, Aero without anything radical happening to the music. Jarre seems to have abandoned any reworking or remixing of his tracks. It's not very interesting to listen to if you have the albums. His album from 2000, "Metamorphoses" has many superb pieces that are constantly ignored in concert.
It's extremely dull to watch at times with Jarre looking bored and clearly not playing anything live (apart from the Theremin, midi flute, and an effects pad). I would be happy if he just played a solo over the top of the main melody but it's clearly obvious to anyone that his playing doesn't match up to the notes in certain places.
Take a look at the remix track in Tian'anmen that he plays on. Great to see him getting the crowd clapping but then realises he was supposed to play something at that point. The second concert in Tian'anmen square could have been historic. OK so he's the first musician to play live on the square but it's hardly memorable, the choice of tracks are completely uninspiring.
The live CD that comes with it is a waste of time. Who wants to listen to "Fishing Junks at Sunset" when you could have "Voyage to Beijing" (unreleased) on CD? Lame.
So, let's get back to: a live band on stage, a new tracklisting, with properly reworked music, a happy jarre getting the crowd going. This just seems like a "show" rather than a concert.
The concerts itself... they were superb audiovisually, but the tracklisting has indeed been repetitive for years, and the tracks performed sound too much like from the Aero album and post-2000 concert renditions. The chinese input on few tracks added a lot of atmosphere and great feeling to them, 'Journey to Beijing' was absolutely fantastic, maybe the highlight of the whole concert. Then again, the chinese child pronouncing chinese words was a nice input, but seemed out of the place. For the DVD some faults which were in the actual concert were removed, for example Chronologie 3's beginning was completely revamped, and I for one think in a positive way. Unfortunately, the off-note solo in Rendez-Vous 2 was still there... The second concert at Tiananmen seemed a bit weak and short, and Oxygene 13 sounded exactly the same as in his previous concerts. Also, Jarre could return to the old and good "band"-arrangement, as it was sometimes hard to watch him trying to play all parts of the songs at the same time. Especially when he didn't actually play them, they were either played by Rimbert or sequenced, perhaps even totally playback. The orchesra, choir and other performers performed totally live, though. For the concert itself, I'd give 3 stars out of five.
The DVD itself is good, much better than Sony's rushed up Oxygen in Moscow (which is also about to be rereleased).Read more ›
Mostly, we have JMJ pretending to trigger sounds with pads (often completely out of sync with the music) and some keyboard playing that looks dubiously as if it is only for show - and what the hell is he bashing a cymbal for (it isn't mic'd up and shows no sign of being a trigger device. I guess that he puts the tapes together (or plunders the tracks from his Aero project) in his studio before venturing out. Maybe they're sequenced - who knows?
Anyway, this is not new - I doubt much has been played "live" since his 1979 Paris concerts.
What gets me is that this has never been a problem as the spectacle of the shows has been completely overwhelming - utterly superb....until this one. As other reviewers note, there is little innovative here. It all comes over as being a pretty suburban affair.
The bonuses are good, though, but JMJ is clearly telling porkies much of the time (he claims a new track, when anyone with even a vaguely musical ear can tell it's from metamorphose) - which I think shows remarkable contempt for the listener. In short he just comes off as a bit of a phoney - which strangely belittles his huge contributions to the musical world.
I would love to see other JMJ concerts packaged in the same way. At least the contents would deserve it.
PS if the original feeds for the Paris and Docklands concerts could be recovered and re-cut to avoid the infantile cut/cut/cut and lousy rolling video effects - that'd be just grand.