Monday, October 11, 2004

Last night, Jean Michel Jarre played a concert in The Forbidden City which, I heard, was an invitation only gig. The concert was being broadcast live on giant video screens in a few other locations throughout Beijing, as well as on local television. Me, Angela and a few of my coworkers made our way to one of the locations to observe the free broadcast. It was a reason to get out in the city, take in some free entertainment, and check out something new.

Not really knowing what to expect, I was surprised to enjoy the music so much, which one might classify as ambient. The show and visual choreography were amazing. The set was quite a spectacle, especially behind the backdrop of the Forbidden City. Displaying large cones, orbs and cubes around the back of the stage, these geometric shapes were used as video screens for complementary imagery displaying various colors, dragons, weather patterns, fireworks, French painting and many other things.

My favorite part of the show, and something I had never seen before, occurred when he, by blocking a laser light, created various tones, which he could modulate by vacillating his hand in the beam of light. I was impressed and, even if it was a stunt, that's what he's supposed to do. Entertain. There was no question about it.

After finishing his set, he hopped into the sidecar of a motorcycle and made his way to Tiananmen Square where he gave an encore performance to the crowd that had assembled there: these folks who weren't the privileged spectators granted permission to witness the show from within the storied walls of The Forbidden City. As we were within a subway station of the encore performance, we decided to try to make our way to his new location. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived, the show had ended. We weren't too disappointed and made our way to a nearby watering hole to water ourselves a bit before returning to our apartments.

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