Tangerine Dream Newcastle City Hall 23rd March 1978 and 2nd November 1980

Tangerine Dream Newcastle City Hall 23rd March 1978 and 2nd November 1980
TangDream.23.3I saw Tangerine Dream on two more occasions. It is difficult to describe the concerts, as each time the band performed it was so different. In 1978 the line-up was Edgar Froese (keyboards), Christopher Franke (keyboards), Steve Jolliffe (saxophone, flute) and Klaus Krüger (drums, percussion). By the time I saw them in 1980 the line-up had changed again and had reverted back to a three piece, keyboard based, ensemble featuring Froese, Franke and Johannes Schmoelling. Their concerts continued to feature unique improvised soundscapes, loud and swirling music; psychedelic, spacey, rhythmic, sometimes dark and moody. They sometimes performed in cathedrals, I can imagine that the space and surroundings fitted the music well. One of those performances was in York Minster; I recall considering going and didn’t, which I regret to this day; I would imagine that it will have been an unforgettable experience.
The 1978 tour featured the Laserium light show which were produced live by a “laserist”. The Laserium projector (from the tour programme) “uses a one-watt Krypton gas laser as its light source, and refracts the tiny beam into four primary colors which travel through a series of optics to emerge as laser snowflakes or cloud formations suspended in space. This Laserium projector was especially designed for Tangerine Dream, and the custom made rear projection screen enables the live laser images to appear three-dimensional.” I was, and remain, intrigued by the band. tangprprog78I found their concerts fascinating, challenging, interesting at times uplifting, and yet at other times tedious and tiring. Looking back they were, and remain, a unique and hugely important and influential band. Edgar Froese drew his influences from the Rolling Stones: ”The first time I heard The Rolling Stones was in the middle of a rehearsal with a rock ‘n’ roll group. I was first of all attracted by their looks. Their faces were absolutely damaged. They were the absolute opposite of The Beatles… ” and the surrealist painter Salvador Dali, who he met also played in his villa: ”This was the biggest change I ever had in music…..By seeing the way he was working, talking and thinking, I found that everything was possible. I thought that I would do the same as he did in painting in music.” He explained his approach to Paul Morley in the NME (1978): “We never do anything just for success….We could do all the Donna Summer things, and make a lot of money. But what do you do in the end? If you’re interested in being rich, the record industry is very much part of the world’s commercial activity, and it’s very easy to be successful by doing your own thing, without compromise.”
tangtixI remember for one of the performances I attended the band played the entire concert from behind a new curtain. There was never any set numbers, no “act”, no props other than the light shows. Everything was improvised directly on stage, in the moment. The performance was fed by the musicians, how they were feeling that day, but also by the venue, the acoustics, and the audience and their reaction. The musicians would walk on stage, tune, explore and calibrate their synths and then sit behind their futuristic consoles in the dark and create sounds and music. They would be no interaction with the audience. Each piece would last an hour or so, and a concert would feature a couple of such pieces, followed by, if it felt right to do so, an encore of 20 minutes or so. Then they would leave the astounded, bewildered, fascinated, perplexed audience until next time. Because of the uniqueness of the events many were bootlegged. I’ve just listened to a recording on YouTube which was made from a 1978 live show in Berlin. Fascinating stuff, and it reminded me of what the experience was like.  The music from that show includes some scary screaming vocals., which isn’t something I can remember from the gigs I attended. Tangerine Dream continue to perform to this day.
Thanks to Mitch for his picture of Edgar Froese taken at Newcastle City Hall on 23rd March 1978.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Nick Bloomfield, Milton Keynes on January 24, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    I was at the 78 gig – my first ever rock show! Incredible experience! Such sad news about the passing of Edgar F today – the memory of this performance will always be with me. Still have the programme and ticket stub!


  2. Posted by Moodi on May 14, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Those seem to be like Great Gigs in the Sky, Wish I Was There;)
    R.I.P. Edgar Froese, a great man & a great inspiration in my life:'(


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