Saturday, 4 February 2012

Tangerine Dream Edinburgh 1980

Tangerine Dream Edinburgh 1980

4th November 1980

Edinburgh Odeon

I had heard a few segments of Tangerine Dream over the years prior to this gig – primarily from Pheadra, although I do not think I had ever heard the thing all the way through.  The band’s compositions, to my untutored ears anyway, appeared to drop neatly into one of three categories:

  1. Droning, atmospheric, ambient type pieces.  Wallpaper Music, I had once heard it rather unkindly referred to,
  2. Rythmic beat driven, almost-disco-but-not-quite stuff (the like of which Jean-Michel Jarre made a career out of copying), and
  3. Frankly unlistenable sections of squawks, bleeps and multifarious electronic farting noises.

But, ironically, it was not what I had heard of the band’s output which enticed me to skip an evening lecture at Napier College and sneak off to the concert, but rather what I had seen.  Specifically the cover of their Encore album, which suggested the band put on a rather impressive (for the period, at least) laser light show at their gigs.  Disappointingly, that proved not to be the case in Edinburgh, as I seem to recall Messrs Froese, Schmoelling and Franke playing behind thin white muslin curtains, which were only occasional illuminated by coloured spot lights.

As for the music, the lads played sections encompassing all three of their musical genres (or Drone, Beat and Fart, as I had come to call them).  After 90 minutes or so, the band left the stage, we all clapped a bit, and they came back on and did a bit more of the same.  It was a pleasant enough way to waste a couple of hours of my life, but not an experience I have ever felt a strong desire to repeat.

If truth be told, I rather felt like a philatelist who had tracked down a slightly rare, but rather dull stamp and had stuck it in my album, probably never to look at again.

I recognised none of the music played that evening and, if pressed, would insist that the main body of the gig consisted of two unbroken suites, punctuated by an interval.  Websites, however, suggest the group played a selection of named pieces, and the setlist below is a typical one from this tour.  That being said, a number of the titles were apparently given to the compositions by bootleggers rather than the band themselves.  All very confusing, but perhaps apt, given the improvisional nature of the band’s live performances around this time.


Track 80
Calymba Caly
Sudden Death
Grange Park
Force Majeure
The Price


Silver Scale
Horns of Doom
Phase Change
Diamond Duster
Diamond Diary

Encore 80

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