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Jean Michel Jarre, Birmingham NIA

THINGS that were once futuristic can look horribly outdated - Amstrad computers, moon boots, early mobile phones...

THINGS that were once futuristic can look horribly outdated - Amstrad computers, moon boots, early mobile phones...

It’s more than 30 years since Jarre hit the big-time with his electronic symphonies and his music has fared much better.

The show was slightly late starting, but the crowd were soon on their feet as the Frenchman strode in from the back of the arena. Like his music, the musician has aged well - he looks considerably younger than his 62 years and brings a real energy to every performance. While some parts of the two-hour set got a better reception than others, there was plenty of enthusiasm for Jarre’s best-known work.

He powered his way through Oxygene IV, Fourth Rendez-Vous and the other pioneering pieces which made his name.

Close-up cameras show his hands lunging for the keys and furiously tweaking dials, like some gallic Doctor Who at the helm of a musical Tardis.

And there was spectacle which, in years gone by, wowed crowds at London’s Docklands and inner-city Houston. Lasers sweep through the audience, lights oscillate and a giant screen plays film and CGI sequences. Particularly effective was the black and white montage of wildlife that accompanies Oxygene - probably Jarre’s most famous piece.

Jarre’s flourishes don’t have quite the same impact indoors, but it’s not through want of trying.

 

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