Concert Reviews

Jean-Michel Jarre at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts

Photos by Angelo Marchini

According to Wikipedia:

“Jean-Michel André Jarre is a French composer, performer, and record producer. He is a pioneer in the electronic, , and new-age genres, and known as an organizer of outdoor spectacles of his music featuring lights, laser displays, and fireworks.”


Jarre’s 1976 masterpiece, Oxygène, was among some of the early music that I heard as a human child. I remember vividly how I was imagining visions and stories with Jarre’s music being played in the background. His music and the emotions created by it was magical enough and I’m certain that they’ve had left a life-long impression on my musical side, but my entire expectation of how music can be performed was altered the first time I watched a Jean-Michel Jarre concert. A performance in Paris to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the French revolution, for the audience of 2.5 million. In that night and during that performance, the entire Paris was the stage for the manifestation of Jarre’s creative mastery that was expressed through music, sound, light, and visions. I Watched, danced, daydreamed, and air-performed with that VHS tape of Jarre’s Paris concert on our 14” TV in Tehran so many times, again and again, and never even imagined that one day I’ll be able to be at one of this master artist’s performances. But that day did come. It was the 9th of May when I arrived at Toronto’s Sony Centre for the Performing Arts to see Jean-Michel Jarre.


As I arrived at Sony Centre, I was immediately impressed by the crowd’s general sense of fashion. It was obvious that these good people are here to enjoy some world-class quality entertainment, and so was I. And we were not disappointed. From the moment the doors were opened for us early comers to take our seats and buy our drinks before the show begins, we were welcomed inside the auditorium that was filled with the gentle soundscape of ambient music accompanied by blue lights. As the hall filled up, the opening act begun. It was after about 45-minutes of some groovy beats along with some additional stage adjustment that the familiar of the master was projected through a barrier in which a 3D revolving cube was gradually formed just before the barrier split open into 5 sections and reveal the master himself in between his companions on multiple pieces of electronic drums, percussions, and keyboards. And so the show begun.

I’ve always found it a bit strange to try to interpret a visual or sonic experience through words in general. It’s like trying to explain the taste of chocolate by writing about it. It’s not even close. In case of Jean-Michel Jarre and his other multi generational pioneer compatriots, however, the experience goes far beyond what can be seen, heard, and felt, but also the emotions that the music brings back through waves of emotional memories and triggers, and just like that you’re back to those magical moments that you’d experienced the first time you listened to Jean-Michel Jarre. And Jean-Michel didn’t disappoint. He guided us with magnificent music, lighting, and visuals through the 24-songs long set that included classics like Oxygène 2 and Souvenir de Chine, Jean-Michel’s collaboration with Edward Snowden, and his signature Laser Harp.

Jean-Michel Jarre’s concert at Sony Centre for the Performing Arts was the kick-off to the North American portion of his Electronica world tour. But this show was also, and far more importantly for the Canadian Jarre-Heads, the Jean-Michel’s first concert in Canada, EVER! What more can a fan ask for? The seated crowed in the beginning were all on their feet by the end. We all danced and cheered to the tunes of the French pioneer of the electronic music and admired the man who had started his musical creation as an innovative experiment, and is now taking us all towards the future with the his ever evolving music. Jean-Michel Jarre concert, beside being a childhood dream of mine, was also a perfect manifestation of how the world could be if the technology that is available to us could be paired up with brilliant creative & innovative minds like Jarre’s.

About author

Photographer, and Senior Music Writer at Live in Limbo. Agah is a musician, sound designer, and hobbyist writer & photographer. He is a voting member of the Recording Academy (GRAMMY Awards), and former voting member and judge of CARAS (JUNO Awards).