The Concerts in China (concert)

The Concerts in China was a concert tour by Jean Michel Jarre in 1981. It marked the opening of post-Mao Zedong China to live Western music.[1] Five concerts were held in the two biggest cities, for an estimated audience of 120,000 spectators, on October 21 and 22 in Beijing, and on October 26, 27 and 29 in Shanghai.[1] The first, shorter concert of 50 minutes, was broadcast on radio in China. The five concerts were filmed and recorded for later commercial releases.[2] Due to the low quality of the recorded sound, the tracks were overdubbed for the release of the live album and video.

The concert was the first time Jarre had performed his music with other musicians with him on stage and featured the first use of a laser harp. The concerts featured all tracks from his latest album Magnetic Fields but did not include his most performed piece Oxygène 4.

Set lists

First Concert in Beijing (Broadcast on Radio)

  • Oxygene 1
  • Oxygene 2
  • Equinoxe 8
  • Fishing Junks at Sunset
  • Magnetic Fields 1
  • Magnetic Fields 2[1]

Following Concerts

  • The Overture
  • Arpegiator
  • Equinoxe 4
  • Fishing Junks at Sunset
  • Band in the Rain
  • Equinoxe 7
  • Orient Express
  • Magnetic Fields 1
  • Magnetic Fields 3
  • Magnetic Fields 4
  • Laser Harp
  • Night in Shanghai
  • The Last Rumba
  • Magnetic Fields 2

Live Album

Les Concerts en Chine
Live album by
RecordedOctober 1981
GenreElectronic, ambient, world
LabelDisques Dreyfus
ProducerJean-Michel Jarre
Jean-Michel Jarre chronology
Les Chants Magnétiques
Les Concerts en Chine
Musique pour Supermarché
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic [3]

A live album titled The Concerts in China was released in 1982 on Disques Dreyfus. It featured recordings from the concerts in Beijing and Shanghai. The album is the first release of the new compositions "Night in Shanghai", "Laser Harp", "Arpegiator", "Orient Express" and “Souvenir of China” (a studio recording). A new arrangement of an old Chinese song "Fisherman's Chant at Dusk" also makes its’ first appearance as "Fishing Junks at Sunset", performed with The Peking Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra. “Souvenir of China” became a regular feature of subsequent Jarre concerts. The album is the only live release to date to include performances of Magnetic Fields parts 3, 4 and 5. The album does not include the tracks Oxygene parts 1 and 2 or the second half of Equinoxe 8, which are featured on the radio broadcast from Beijing.

The album was originally released as a double-disc LP, then as a double-disc CD. There was also a CD release in two separate volumes, with the cover color changed to blue (Vol. 1) and yellow (Vol. 2). In 1997, a one-disc remastered CD was released, made possible by reducing the total running time to 78:17 by reducing the gaps and audience noise between tracks. The remastering was done by Scott Hull at Masterdisk to the 96 kHz, 24 bit standard.[4] One of the album's original tracks – "Arpégiateur" – was used in the soundtrack of the film 9½ Weeks as well as in several mid-1980s episodes of the American soap opera Santa Barbara. Opening track "The Overture" is the first movement of "Magnetic Fields Part 1" slowed down.

The album reached #6 in the UK charts[5] and #1 in Portugal.

Track listing

First edition (1982)

'Side one'

  1. The Overture - 4:47
  2. Arpegiator - 6:54
  3. Equinoxe 4 - 7:49

'Side Two'

  1. Fishing Junks at Sunset - 9:38
  2. Equinoxe 8 Part 1 (Band in the Rain) - 1:29
  3. Equinoxe 7 - 9:54

'Side three'

  1. Orient Express - 4:22
  2. Magnetic Fields 1 - 0:21
  3. Magnetic Fields 3 - 3:48
  4. Magnetic Fields 4 - 6:49
  5. Laser Harp - 3:35

'Side four'

  1. Night in Shanghai - 7:02
  2. Magnetic Fields 5 (The Last Rumba) - 2:07
  3. Magnetic Fields 2 - 6:30
  4. Souvenir of China (Studio recording) - 3:54

Second edition (1997 remaster)

  1. "The Overture" – 4:47
  2. "Arpegiator" – 6:51
  3. "Equinoxe 4" – 7:39
  4. "Fishing Junks at Sunset" – 9:35
  5. "Equinoxe 8 Part 1 (Band in the Rain)" – 1:23
  6. "Equinoxe 7" – 9:52
  7. "Orient Express" – 4:21
  8. "Magnetic Fields 1" – 0:28
  9. "Magnetic Fields 3" – 3:48
  10. "Magnetic Fields 4" – 6:43
  11. "Laser Harp" – 3:26
  12. "Night in Shanghai" – 7:02
  13. "Magnetic Fields 5 (The Last Rumba)" – 2:03
  14. "Magnetic Fields 2" – 6:19
  15. "Souvenir of China" – 4:00

TV Broadcast and Video Release

An 80-minute documentary entitled 'Jean-Michel Jarre - China Concerts 1981' was made by producer/director Andrew Piddington for Central Television in the UK. This included a mix of concert footage and documentary footage of Chinese life in 1981, set to the concert soundtrack. It was shown once in 1982 on the ITV network in the UK, and did not receive a video release until 1989, when a VHS-video was released. The film was partially released by Shock DVD in Australia in 2008, but they were prevented from selling it by Jarre and record label Disques Dreyfus. The release was not from the master tapes, but from an 'off-air' Australian TV showing, so the quality was imperfect. The film has yet to receive an authorised, high-quality DVD release.

The majority of the tracks on the video were also included on the live album, though not necessarily from the same performance.

Video Track listing

  1. "Oxygene 2" (Documentary Footage)
  2. "Arpegiator" (Documentary)
  3. "The Overture" (Concert)
  4. "Equinoxe 4" (Concert)
  5. "Equinoxe 5" (Documentary)
  6. "Equinoxe 7" (Mixed)
  7. "Night in Shanghai" (Mixed)
  8. "Fishing Junks at Sunset" (Mixed)
  9. "Magnetic Fields 1" (Concert)
  10. "Magnetic Fields 3" (Mixed)
  11. "Magnetic Fields 4" (Mixed)
  12. "Orient Express" (Concert)
  13. "Magnetic Fields 2" (Concert)
  14. "Souvenir of China" (Documentary/End Credits)


Additional personnel

  • Pierre Mourey – musical instrument coordinator
  • Peking Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra - Chinese orchestra on "Fishing Junks at Sunset"
  • Huang Feili - orchestra conductor on "Fishing Junks at Sunset"
  • Li Meng, Wang Zhi - collaborating artists


Region CertificationCertified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[6] Silver 60,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. Jarre Labs. "Concerts In China". Jean-Michel Jarre. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  2. "An Echoes And Dust Guide To… Jean-Michel Jarre (Part #2)". Echoes And Dust. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  4. "Jean Michel Jarre - The Concerts In China (CD, Album) at Discogs".
  5. "Connolly Company".
  6. "British album certifications – JMJ – Les Concerts in Chine". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Les Concerts in Chine in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

Further reading

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