Although Jean-Michel Jarre wanted to perform a special concert to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the French revolution he was denied by the French government for several reasons. One of them was that the government had so much else planned for the event they were not able to fully support Jean-Michel and his ideas. Jean-Michel was planning a huge concert for two consecutive times in the celebrations. He had been working on the concert without government funding for around two years and the ideas that were put forward were accepted by Michel Baroin and Edgar Faure. Unfortunately they both died before the celebrations and the new state changed their minds and only allowed Jean-Michel to perform on the 16th but Jean-Michel declined.
His ideas consisted of an hour long concert that could be seen for a staggering 20km around Paris. The concert was not conceived to tell the story of the 14th of July it was to evoke the spirit of the revolution, freedom and human rights and was to celebrate the future as much as the past. Jean-Michel had already contacted various musicians and singers from around the world to help out at the concert. Other than the government the other problem became finance, so much so that Jean-Michel even appealed to the French public to become sponsors but when the plans for the concert finally fell through it didn't matter.
Jean-Michel had become concerned that the planned 200th celebrations that were going to last for the forty eight hours of the 13th and 14th of July had too much to do with politics than a celebration. Jean-Michel did not want his concert to simply be linked to the government's ideas and promotions, he wanted it to be about Paris, France, Europe and the future. His concerts relied more strongly on a concept than a celebration.
Since the 200th Bastille day concert didn't look as if it was going to go ahead Jean-Michel Jarre looked elsewhere. The government who were concerned that they had let Jean-Michel down badly suggested he could get involved with the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Eiffel Tower which were to be called "Champs Elysees".
Between everyone concerned it was finally decided that Jean-Michel could perform a special mini event as a finale to the celebrations. The Champs Elysees event was to be broadcast around Europe (although sadly it never got shown in the UK). Many other famous artists were performing at the event too including Julio Iglesias.
Hank Marvin was flown in specially for the event whereupon he and Jean-Michel performed London Kid. They were joined by many of Jean-Michel's usual live helpers and the version of London Kid that was played was considerably different to the album and single versions of this track. During the performance skytrackers and lasers lit the backdrop of the sky and the Eiffel tower while fireworks exploded overhead. The event was not as spectacular as a full blown Jean-Michel Jarre concert but it was spectacular and was a superb finale to Champs Elysees event.
The event was shown on French and other European television broadcasts but it was not shown in the UK. The show has never officially been released on video which is a shame as the reorchestration of the music is excellent.
Due to the fact that he was unable to perform at the 200th Bastille day celebrations and his performance at the Eiffel Tower celebrations was only a small one, Jean-Michel was still looking for a new place to stage a concert. He had already been looking and planning a concert in an area called La Minguettes which was part of Lyon in France.
La Minguettes was due for a redevelopment programme and Jean-Michel wanted to become actively involved in this transformation of this area from old to new. He was planning to involve the destruction of some of the buildings in the area during the concert. These flats had been designated as unsafe and unsuitable (at the time they had been uninhabited for six years!) and were due to be destroyed. The concert was to become as much as the evolvement of the area as the redevelopment programme was.
Originally Jean-Michel had planned the concert for the 13th or 14th instead of the Bastille Day celebrations but there wasn't enough time to organise everything. He put the concert back to September and got the backing of Lyon's residents, Lyon's mayor (Michel Noir), the mayor of Venissieux (Andre Gerin), the president of the regional council of Rhones-Alpes (Charles Million) and the Cultural Minister (Jack Lang). However, two major problems surfaced. The first was the government's concerns over safety and the second was a ban imposed on the event by the region's metropolitan commissioner. Based on this news Jean-Michel put the concert back even further to 1990 but as time went on the concert fell down and not the buildings.
This is a little known event where Jean-Michel Jarre performed the Calypso track live in the Sacrée Soirée studio for the television programme of the same name. This particular Sacrée Soirée television programme was a forty minute special dedicated to Jarre where he was interviewed and his wife, Charlotte Rampling, appeared as a special guest of the show. (In a previous appearance on this show Jean-Michel had been reunited with some of his old friends including some of the members of his old band The Dustbins.)
The performance of Calypso was the original full length version from the album. Along with Jarre's usual live helpers there were also members of the Amoco Renegades performing live too. Some of the marionettes from the La Défense concert were also there on stage.
Jean-Michel also performed Calypso live on two other television programmes. The first was Stars '90 on the 10th of December and although the music was shorter (only about four minutes long) the stage lighting and laser effects were much more impressive than the Sacrée Soirée event. The second was similar in length but even less spectacular with Calypso being performed on the Mille Bravo show on the 30th of December.
Many people were obviously both shocked and delighted at the announcement of this concert. Although the concert was never actually officially announced in Europe many companies including travel companies stated the concert was going ahead and some even offered travel tickets to it. The actual concert was not going to be free unlike most of Jean-Michel's previous ones had been. Tickets were being offered with prices that were based on the proximity to the stage.
Jean-Michel's one and only 1991 performance would have taken place at the "City Of The Gods", the ancient Aztec capital of Mexico. The "Concert De L'Eclipse" would have been performed at Teotihuacan (the literal pronunciation is 'tay-oh-tee-whah-khan'), an area thirty one miles north east of Mexico City. The site covered seven square miles and is littered with ruins, temples and pyramids.
There are two main pyramids at Teotihuacan named the Pyramid Of The Sun (about 64 metres high) and the Pyramid Of The Moon (about 30 metres high). They are split by the Avenue Of The Dead an ancient road which is surrounded by ruins and mounds.
The concert was planned to be in two parts. The first part was to take place at the same time as the eclipse (which was approximately 1.00 pm). The second part was to be in the evening (approximately 8.30 pm) and would be the main event.
The main concern to many a fan is why did Jean-Michel Jarre cancel the event? Well firstly Jean-Michel Jarre had several major sponsors for the concert like Aero Mexico, Bancomer and Edomex as well as the backing of the Mexican government. Jean-Michel wanted the concert to be open to the people, in other words free but for such a country as Mexico and its businesses it soon became apparent that the overall costs would simply just be too much and they backed out.
Secondly there were technical problems some of which were simply to big to cope with and it was finally decided that the concert just wouldn't be able to go ahead. Jean-Michel was very disappointed at having to make the decision to cancel the event and he hoped it wouldn't reflect badly on the authorities and this is reflected in the press release issue by Polygram International that follows:
Jean-Michel Jarre forced to cancel concert for the eclipse of the sun in Mexico - Teotihuacan
Jean-Michel Jarre is sad to have to announce that he has had to cancel a concert planned to take place in Mexico on 11 July 1991.
Invited by the Mexican Government to perform in celebration of the last total eclipse of the sin this century, a major show was being prepared at the Teotihuacan site for 11th July.
Jarre has made several trips to Mexico with his French production team, working with Mexican musician, artists and technicians to prepare for this major event. However, during the past three weeks many practical problems have arisen, without the support available to allow the French team to send in more men and equipment to solve them.
Jean-Michel Jarre is very disappointed that it appears impossible to carry on with the concert particularly as he has been working on the show for over six months and he was looking forward to celebrating this major event in Mexico. He would like it known that the decision does not detract in any way from the affection that he has for Mexico and its culture.
Tokyo, Central Park - New York, Trafalgar Square - London (announced after the Place De La Concorde concert in 1979)
Italy 1982 (during promotional visits of 1982)
London August 1982 put back to 1983 (announced after the concerts in China in 1981)
Spain and maybe Egypt (announced at the end of 1982)
London 1985 (announced beginning of 1985 after the release of Zoolook)
Texas, New York and West Coast USA during 1986 (announced at the end of 1985)
In March 1986 he announced he was planning a tour which would start in the USA, visit Europe, Tokyo - Japan, Australia and then back to China.
Hong Kong, Japan, Brazil and Paris (announced in 1989 but the Paris concert fell through and the Japan concert was cancelled when the artistic collaborator, Bilal, was tied up with other work)
In 1990 after the La Défense concert he announced he would play the UK again, then Germany and then somewhere in Scandinavia.
This article is taken from the The Unofficial Jean-Michel Jarre Biography book produced by Destination Jarre.