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After seeing this, you won't want to watch your Jarre in China DVD again unless you pine for "Fishing Junks at Sunset" or want to demonstrate your home cinema system. It's a far more engaging performance with an energised audience and a happy, star-jumping JMJ, the likes of which we've not seen since the nineties.
Musically the performance has the standard combination of synthesiser, choir, laser harp, and full orchestra. Again, the show lacks a drummer and additional live acoustic musicians but guitarist Patrick Rondat is wheeled out for just 2 tracks before making the tea. Jarre himself spends a bit too much time playing with his hair, an effects pad, a Theremin, and symbols rather than improvising on keyboards. While the track listing is yet again too close to recent concerts there are a couple of enjoyable reworkings of two pieces that haven't been heard for over 10 years: "Industrial Revolution Overture" and "Chronologie part 2". Too many tracks are familiar and up to five tracks aren't Jarre originals, including the encore. However, there are still barnstorming versions of "Oxygene 12" and "Rendezvous 4" to contend with.
The video focuses too much on the stage and not enough on the backdrop as well as inexplicably shortening the beginning of the first track. Luckily the 15 minutes of bonus features provides some refreshing handheld alternative shots from different angles as well as "behind the scenes" footage. The DVD is presented in a solid Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix (no DTS or commentary tracks this time). Although not THX mastered like the China release last year, the picture quality is very good again due to High Definition filming. Strangely the DVD is NTSC and not PAL but most TVs and DVD players should be able to handle it. Also included is a 9 track live CD from the concert.
Not a return to form but the best JMJ concert in the last 5 years and a good quality DVD. Now let's have Houston, Moscow and Paris La Defense remastered please. --Colin Neal