On New Year's Eve 2020, French electronic pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre performed as an avatar in a virtual version of the world-famous Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral - a VR experience that set the stage for a concert broadcast live from a studio. 75 million viewers watched the live broadcast of the multimedia event, which was unprecedented in this form. With the album "Live In Notre-Dame VR - Welcome To The Other Side", the spectacle can now be relived purely acoustically on CD or visually on Blu-ray
Jean-Michel Jarre is famous for oversized live events in front of impressive backdrops: He has not only played in front of the Lomonosov University in Moscow, in China, Japan, Lyon, Houston and even at the Pyramids of Giza, but of course also in Paris at the Place de la Concorde and in front of the Eiffel Tower. So it was high time for him to visit Notre-Dame Cathedral as well. A concert in this symbolic building for the capital of the Grande Nation will, however, remain a dream for the time being, not only because of the Corona pandemic, but above all because of the devastating fire that shook the World Heritage Site to its foundations in 2019. But the Frenchman wouldn't be the crafty innovator he's known as if he hadn't found a way out with a VR event. By means of a documentary included on the Blu-ray, you can immerse yourself in its creation. But we asked the master himself.
eclipsed: Jean-Michel, how did the idea come about to use the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, this great cultural landmark of French history, as a backdrop for a VR event?
Jean-Michel Jarre: Notre-Dame is not simply a monument of the Catholic Church, but much more than that. It is almost synonymous with the human condition and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Playing in such a place has always interested me a lot. Since real live shows were not possible in the Pandemic, I was looking for a way to still share my music with an audience and found it in virtual reality
eclipsed: Simply playing in the cathedral without an audience wasn't an option because of the damaged fabric of the building?
Jarre: Right, it is not allowed to do anything inside the cathedral until today. That's why we had to do it "from the other side", so to speak, as a virtual event
eclipsed: Did you want to make a statement against isolation in Corona times?
Jarre: Absolutely. I wanted to send a clear signal of hope