France tranceFrance trance

Electronic music master scouts sites for concert

French artist Jean Michel Jarre prepares to party hard in and around the capital later this year

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

Jean Michel Jarre during his visit to Israel, January 6, 2016 (Courtesy Jean Michel Jarre)
Jean Michel Jarre during his visit to Israel, January 6, 2016 (Courtesy Jean Michel Jarre)

From all appearances, musician Jean Michel Jarre came to Jerusalem to party.

The 67-year-old French performer — best known for his groundbreaking, electronic music live shows featuring fireworks, his famed laser harp, and videos projected on the sides of buildings — arrived in Israel late Wednesday afternoon.

After checking in at the historical King David Hotel, he headed across the street to the YMCA’s 152-foot (46-meter) bell tower, which has 35 carillon bells imported from Croydon, England, and is rung only on Christmas. Hoping for some musical inspiration, perhaps?

The party, however, started over dinner with his crew at Machneyuda, Assaf Granit’s renowned Mahane Yehuda market bistro, followed by a City of David archaeological tour at 3 o’clock in the morning, a visit to the Western Wall and then back out for drinks downtown.

Jean-Michel Jarre pays his respects to the Western Wall (Courtesy Jean-Michel Jarre)
Jean Michel Jarre pays his respects to the Western Wall, January 6, 2016. (Courtesy Jean Michel Jarre)

He partied again on Thursday night, this time at a private dinner hosted at The Kishle, an Ottoman-era complex attached to the Tower of David Museum and citadel, which was used during the British Mandate period as a prison.

At The Kishle, Jarre was joined by singer Ivri Lider, chef Assaf Granit, Likud Knesset Member and Jerusalem Affairs portfolio holder Ze’ev Elkin, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, French ambassador Patrick Maisonnave and Frederic Chaslin, the French-born music director and conductor of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.

This group, it seemed, was more about the business at hand, planning Jarre’s unconfirmed performance in Jerusalem later this year.

Jarre had spent some time Thursday morning looking at possible sites for one of his massive outdoor performances, including a visit to Sultan’s Pool, the city’s premier outdoor performance space.

The French artist has hosted a total of millions at his various outdoor performances — in China, where he was the first-ever Western performer; at the pyramids in Egypt; and on a series of barges on London’s Thames River.

His possible performance in Israel is not yet confirmed, but he told a city spokesperson that he was “privileged to be here in Jerusalem at the start of a New Year full of hope, peace and fraternity.”

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