Rendez-Vous Houston in 1986 brought Guinness record sound, light show

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Updated 1:35 pm, Tuesday, April 5, 2016

More than 1.3 million turned out April 5, 1986, on an overcast Saturday night to see French composer Jean-Michel Jarre’s “Rendez-vous Houston: A City in Concert.”

The concert landed the city in the Guinness Book of World records and made enduring memories for Houstonians who were there.

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The music, the fireworks, the laser beams and the bigger-than-life projections on the sides of Houston’s biggest skyscrapers were a feast for the eyes and ears.

Rendez-vous was a component of the Houston Festival, which would later be called the Houston International Festival, celebrating the 150th anniversary of Texas and Houston that year.

RELATED: Looking back at Rendez-Vous Houston decades later

The event also paid tribute to the men and women who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger accident, just months previous.

According to Chron web producer and history blogger J.R. Gonzales, the concert also included a piece of music that Challenger astronaut Ron McNair had planned to perform in space during the concert itself. 

The event was in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest crowd ever to witness a sound-and-light display.

CNN’s Jonathan Hawkins turned in a bittersweet chronicle of the event, with details on McNair and Jarre’s touching friendship.

It’s not uncommon to see a yellowed poster featuring the night’s lights and fire in the back of a local eatery or antique store, 30 years on. Look at that skyline, it appears sparse compared to what we have now. 

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Talk of “Rendez-vous” usually brings back discussions of having something similar here in Houston again. Lord knows, technology has progressed enough in 30 years that a 2016 light spectacle would make what we saw in 1986 look like an Etch-A-Sketch in comparison.

Back in 2011, Jarre told the Houston Chronicle he’d love to come back to the Bayou City for another round.

Maybe next time we can find a way to avoid the hellish traffic jam that came after it. 

We have more bicycles now. 

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