Twelve years since their last appearance, Tangerine Dream returns to the hometown of Moog Music and an electric audience.
Twelve years is a long time to wait for a concert, but for fans of Tangerine Dream, it was well worth it. Back in 2011, TD was a headliner at Moogfest a three-day event that showcased electronic music and technology. Edgar Froese, Thorsten Quaeschning, Hoshiko Yamane, Iris Camaa, Linda Spa, and Bernhard Beibl performed for an energetic crowd at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. Held on Halloween weekend, the showgoers were dressed in costumes, and beachballs were bounced back and forth above the audience. It was an experience I will never forget. Since then, many things have changed. Sadly, Moogfest which started in 2004 has not been held since 2016 and was moved to Durham, NC. But most important was the loss of Tangerine Dream's band leader and founding member, Edgar Froese in 2015. At that time the future of the band seemed to be in question, at least among the fans. However, little did we know that Edgar was preparing for the day when he would hand the reins over to his successor. Today, Thorsten along with Hoshiko and the band's newest member Paul Frick, strive to fulfill Edgar's vision of what TD could be. Picking up where he left off, they have been busy completing songs that Edgar started, recording original music, and performing shows around the world. Judging by the reception, they must be doing something right!
Before the show, a few lucky fans were treated to a pleasant surprise as TD popped in to pay homage to the synth manufacturer with whom the band has had a long relationship. All three members stopped by Moog Music during the morning synth demonstration and stayed until the end, chatting and posing for photos with the guests. After a pleasant afternoon around town, the band made their way to The Orange Peel music venue. By the time I got there a line had formed with eager fans, waiting for the doors to open. Inside, everyone was finding their seats, purchasing merchandise, and sharing stories about their past concert experiences. I met a father and son who were from Michigan, a couple from Virginia, and a guy who had seen TD in London, England! It was a fun time, but as soon as the music started everyone was laser-focused on the band.
Little did we know just how magical that night would be. Tangerine Dream has had a long career, dating back to the late '60s and their style has evolved over the years. Many die-hard fans long for the early days, when everything was produced on massive analog systems and their music was more spacey and cinematic. Others love the digital sounds and shorter compositions of the '80s. While still, others love the sequence-laden sound of their latest albums. However, no one should have been disappointed with the show that night as the band treated us to songs from all eras! It would seem that TD has been quietly recreating the back catalog of songs to a format that they can perform live on stage. This is no small feat considering that all that is left of some of these songs are the original recordings. However they achieved it they did a great job! They sound just like to original sounds, rhythms, and sequences. I was so pleased to hear these songs live, many of which were composed before I knew anything about TD. I have always wondered what it was like to see TD in the early days, but this was the next best thing. After the show, I asked Thorsten what they were using to run the show and he graciously confirmed my suspicion that they were using Ableton Live. Everything about the show was fantastic, the synth leads, the sequences, and the amazing bass! The crowd was so responsive and the energy was so contagious. The band played non-stop for an hour and a half. One favorite after another flowing through the speakers. And if that wasn't good enough, they came back out for a thirty-minute encore that was completely improvised. What an amazing experience. After the show, the band came out and signed autographs, took photos, and spoke with every one of us who had stayed. They were so gracious and approachable. A real class act.
If you have the opportunity to see them on this tour, you won't be disappointed. As promised, they are continuing in the footsteps of Edgar and adding their own flavor to the songs that so many fans have cherished over the years.