Concert record-maker Jarre eyes new frontier
Electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre has made history for decades by putting on some of the world’s largest concerts. He will soon break new ground — by touring North America.
Jarre on Monday announced his first-ever tour of the United States and Canada to begin on May 9 in Toronto. The nine dates will include New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
The 68-year-old French composer is a longtime visitor to North America where he is influential in music circles but remains far better known commercially in Europe.
He has only played one full-fledged show in North America — in 1986 in Houston, when Jarre brought fireworks and lights for a citywide concert over the skyline as Texas marked 150 years since independence from Mexico.
The “Rendez-vous Houston” concert turned into a memorial for astronauts killed on the Challenger space shuttle — one of whom, Ronald McNair, had planned to play his saxophone from space.
The citywide festival drew 1-1.5 million people and for a time was considered the largest concert in history.
Jarre has since topped it with a 1990 show in La Defense, a business district on the western outskirts of Paris, for Bastille Day, and a 1997 show in Moscow to celebrate the city’s 850th anniversary.
Jarre in 1981 was also the first Western musician to play China after the Cultural Revolution.
The North America swing comes after an extensive tour in Europe that follows “Electronica,” Jarre’s two-part album in which he collaborates with some of the most influential names in electronic music.
Last month, Jarre released “Oxygene 3,” which he considered the last part in a trilogy. The release marked 40 years since the original “Oxygene,” an electronic music classic.