31 Dec 1999 - Egypt - Cairo - The Great Pyramids - Twelve Dreams of the Sun
December 31st, 1999 by Robin
Twelve Dreams of the Sun
Friday, December 31, 1999
22:30 - All Ages
The Great Pyramids (map)
Visitors: 115,000 approx. over entire 12 hours
Cost of project: $9,500,000 approx.
Ticket cost: range from $50, $150, $250, and $400 (for VIP tickets)
Length of concert: 2hrs 45mins approx. for main; 1hr approx. for morning
Jean Michel Jarre originally had no intentions or plans to do anything special for the new Millennium, and had planned to stay in bed and take some well earned rest. But that was until the Egyptian President, Hosni Moubarak, contacted Jean Michel with a special project to celebrate the dawn of the new Millennium at the foot of the only remaining monument of the original 7 Wonders of the World - the Great Pyramids. Jean Michel, realising the importance of this project, and the fact that he has a passion and a love for Egypt and the Pyramids, does not refuse.
He had planned on a much larger scale concert than what he had previously performed, such as the Moscow concert in 1997 and Electronic Night in 1998. He imagined the festivities as a multimedia 'opera' which would start at the beginning of the final sunset of the old century, proceeding over a period of 12 hours (at midnight, the Great Pyramid of Keops would be given a new golden cap - but this did not happen) and end during the first sunrise of the new Millennium. But this was not to be without its' fair share of problems on its' way to completion.
Due to archaeologists requesting that in order that the site of the Pyramids itself be preserved from deterioration of a mass audience of people, the concert site itself had to be placed one and a half kilometers from the Pyramids. Also, Islamic groups also had their criticisms by seeing that the concert would be in violation of their prayers to Ramadan. Other facts to take into consideration were also setting the scene, budget costs, and installation factors of how the construction of the floor for the audience and stage itself would not damage any surrounding area within the site.
But finally, after a long difficult amount of planning, the concert was given the go-ahead. Jean Michel Jarre entitled the multimedia opera 'The 12 Dreams of the Sun' in accordance to Egyptian Mythology - in which 12 solar phases are assimilated into 'gifts' to the Egyptian Sun God Râ as a declaration of humanity: Tim, Protection, Wisdom, Eternity, Fidelity, Memory, Space, Innocence, Celebration, Purity, Courage and Freedom.
And so, the evening's festivities proceeded as follows:
18:30 : THE VOYAGE OF THE SUN
The last sunset sees The Giza Pyramids dressed in green claiming possession of the night. Frederic Sanchez mixes a soundscape for the sun's night voyage.
22:30 : THE TWELVE DREAMS OF THE SUN
Jean Michel Jarre brings to life the Giza plateau with his concert spectacular portraying the imaginary voyage of the Sun into the New Millennium: a tale of twelve dreams that take us from the past to the future through awe inspiring scenery and staging.
01:30 : THE ORIENTAL TRIBUTE TO THE SUN
As the celebrations continue into the night, the local artists take over the stage to offer a feast of oriental music and dance.
05:00 : THE SUN RISE
After the morning prayer resounds over Cairo, Jean Michel Jarre and all the musicians come back on stage to welcome in music and vision the First Sunrise of the New Millennium.
22:30pm and the concert began to the sound of The Legend...
In the beginning, there was only the Sun.
The Sun gave mankind twelve attributes.
The Sun wanted mankind to discover the attributes,
so he concealed them in twelve common things.
Each Millennium, the Sun remembers the attributes in twelve dreams.
The bell, the boat, the rock, the tree, the flesh, the snow, the blood, the child, the gate, the voice, the sky, the house.
The Twelve Dreams of the Sun.
Then the concert began properly to the drum beats of Gary Wallis with the introduction of 'Bells' - the first of many new tracks that was to be performed that night from Jean Michel's then forthcoming album 'Metamorphoses', which was to be released at the end of January 2000.
Over the period of the concert, we were treated to more new tracks from his new album, including Je Me Souviens, Miss Moon, Millions of Stars, Hey Gagarin, C'est La Vie, Tout Est Bleu, Give Me A Sign, and an orchestral rendition of Gloria Lonely Boy! Other older tracks by Jean Michel were also given a reworking (using Egyptian instruments) to fit the Egyptian surroundings, including Oxygene part 2 and Oxygene part 4. All of the tracks were split into separate 'sections' for each of the 12 Dreams - for example, Dream 1; The Rock was proceeded by an Egyptian vocal version of Miss Moon, and then Oxygene part 2, before continuing to Dream 2; The House.
Other events during the concert included the Oum Kalsoum tribute, in which Jean Michel sat next to a Gramophone and played over the loudspeaker one of the deceased artist's songs, and then proceeded with a tribute performance performed by a female Egyptian vocalist.
The concert proceedings though were not without fault as many things unfortunately went wrong before, and during the concert. Such as the drummer, Gary Wallis, falling ill with a bad case of the Flu on the day of the concert, and then having to take many medication in order to be fit and well enough to perform on the night. The other main disappointing factor of the evening was a very serious problem with Fog. This caused the Pyramids to be almost obscured from view, which made the images being projected onto the Pyramids non-viewable - although if you happen to watch the TV broadcast of the concert, you will notice that you can just about see a few of the projections. But because of this though, during the evening, coloured light was projected instead as that was more easily viewable than the projections.
Another problem that Jean Michel encountered was with his track 'Revolution, Revolutions'. The problem was was that the word 'Revolution' is prohibited from being spoke of or written in any text in Egypt. Also, the word 'Sex' is banned. And so because of this, the track's lyrics (and title) had to be reworded slightly, with it now being called 'Evolutions' and the 'Sex, No Sex' part of the lyrics being replaced with 'Love' among some other Egyptian words.
As for the Sunrise concert though, things seemed to be a bit more resolved and relaxed. Ethnicolor proceeded with some nice orchestral parts; Oxygene 7 was performed with a new laser harp sound (a sort of grungy guitar type of sound); The Sun, which was the highlight of the performance, especially as the track itself has never appeared on any commercial releases as of yet (although it nearly appeared as a B-side to the UK CD single release of C'est La Vie); and Eldorado, which went on for far too long (just over 10mins) but was a nice track to finish things off with at the sun was rising over the horizon...
The Main Concert
* The Legend
* Je Me Souviens
* Dream 1: The Rock
* Miss Moon
* Oxygene 2
* Dream 2: The House
* Chronologie 6
* Dream 3: The Tree
* Equinoxe 7
* Magnetic Fields 2
* Dream 4: The Boat
* Millions of Stars
* Dream 5: The Flesh
* Souvenir of China
* Oxygene 10
* Dream 6: The Voice
* Oum Kalsoum tribute
* Dream 7: The Sky
* Hey Gagarin
* Dream 8: The Child (wasn't performed fully due to timing issues)
* Millennium Countdown
* C'est La Vie
* Salma Ya Salama
* Dream 9: The Bell
* Equinoxe 4
* Dream 10: The Snow
* Oxygene 4
* Tout est Bleu
* Dream 11: The Blood
* Evolutions - The original track, Revolutions, had to be censored due to 'Revolution' being prohibited from being spoken of or written in Egypt. Also, the word 'Sex' is banned so the lyrics had to be altered.
* Oxygene 12
* Dream 12: The Gate
* Give Me A Sign
* Oxygene 8
* Band in the Rain
* Rendez-vous 2
The Sunrise Concert (January 1st 2000)
* Oxygene 7
* C'est La Vie
* The Sun
* Hey Gagarin
* Jean Michel Jarre - Keyboards, Laser Harp, Vocals
* Gary Wallis - Drums & Percussions
* Francis Rimbert - Keyboards
* Joachim Garraud - Sound design, Keyboards
* Christopher Papendieck - Bass
* Natacha Atlas - Vocals on 'C'est La Vie'
* Laurie Anderson - Vocals on 'Je Me Souviens' and Dream introductions
* Amal Maher - Vocals
* Yvan Cassar - Symphonic Orchestra Musical Arrangements
* Frederic Sanchez - Sound Illustrator
* Cairo Opera Symphonic Orchestra - Conducted by Dr. Moustafa Nagui
* Cairo Opera House Choir - conducted by Aldo Magnato
* National Arabic Ensemble - conducted by Nasredine Dalil
* National Folkloric Music Troupe
* El Nil Folkloric Music Troupe
* Aswan Folkloric Music Troupe
(photos to come soon)
Posted in Concerts & Shows