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5.0 out of 5 stars Famous Concerts, 6 April 2013
This review is from: Houston Lyon; Cities in Concert (Audio CD)
Jean Michel Jarre is not only famous as being one of the pioneers of electronica, but also for his unique spectacular outdoor concerts that use the actual buildings of the city as the stage and the huge audiences these shows attract. His concerts typically feature a mixture of music, fireworks, lasers, lights and huge images that are projected onto the buildings. This live album features performances from the two 'Rendez Vous' concerts that took place in Houston, Texas and Lyon, France in 1986.

The Houston concert was to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the state of Texas and the 25th anniversary of NASA. It attracted a crowd of a record-breaking 1.3 million people, yes, you read correctly, 1.3 million. When you consider that a packed Wembley stadium concert holds 100,000 people then you get an idea of the scale of this event.

The Lyon concert took place six months later and was to celebrate the visit of the Pope to the city (Jarre's home town) and it attracted about 800,000 people.

This live album was released in 1987 in two different versions - this version 'Houston-Lyon Cities in Concert' was originally only available in the limited edition Jean Michel Jarre 10th anniversary box set (that contained all his studio and live albums up to that point) until it was remastered and re-released separately in 1997. The other version - 'Jean Michel Jarre in Concert: Houston & Lyon' was the standard edition until 1997 when 'Cities in Concert' replaced it. It differs from 'Cities in Concert' in that it has fewer tracks (it omits 'Equinoxe 7' and 'Wooloomooloo'), some of which are shortened edits. The mix is also different, 'Cities in Concert' has more of a live feel with the sound of fireworks, the crowd cheering, etc more prominent than on 'Jean Michel Jarre in Concert'. For these reasons this 'Cities in Concert' version is the better of the two and the one to go for.

As for the performances themselves they are all good, particularly 'Magnetic Fields 1', 'Equinoxe 5' and all the 'Rendez Vous' pieces (the current studio album at the time). However, unlike his previous live album 'The Concerts in China' (1982) there is no new material here ('Ron's Piece' is not a new track, it is the 'Last Rendez Vous').

Throughout the album are snippets of news reports, comments from spectators etc, which all add to the sense of the occasion and excitement.

Both concerts were filmed and released on video: Jean-Michel Jarre - Rendez-Vous Houston: A City In Concert [1986] [VHS] & Jean Michel Jarre-Lyon [VHS]. They are well worth checking out as obviously with a live album you don't get any of the visual side of the show that is integral to a Jarre concert. Hopefully they will get the remastered DVD treatment soon, as they are rather overdue for it.

If you are new to the music of Jean Michel Jarre this is not a bad place to start although I would also recommend his classic studio albums such as Oxygene (1976) or Equinoxe (1978) even more, or if you want a compilation try Essential Jean Michel Jarre (2004) or Musik aus Zeit und Raum (1983).

A classic live album of two unique events.
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Houston Lyon; Cities in Concert
Houston Lyon; Cities in Concert by Jean Michel Jarre (Audio CD - 1997)
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