By Lorraine Kay Photos by Gary Scott
July 12, 2012 – Los Angeles, CA – Nearing the close of their 10-day North American tour, Tangerine Dream took the stage at Club Nokia to a passionate and loyal house of fans. The iconic electronic music band touched down in Canada on June 30th and worked its way south down the east coast for the “Electric Mandarin Summer 2012” tour before cutting across the country to California for the completion of the tour.
With a career spanning over 40 years, the band, which began as a surreal rock band, released over one hundred albums during that 40 years. But with seven Grammy nominations and an overwhelming discography and filmography of top albums and acclaimed Hollywood scores, up until now Tangerine Dream has done just about everything but a lengthy tour of North America since 1995. So when this 10-day tour was announced eager fans jumped on the internet to secure their tickets, not willing to chance tickets being sold-out before they got theirs. Now with this tour behind them, the big question is when will they be back. Fans milled around after the concert chatting with each other to share their thoughts and feelings about the show, but they were asking that very thing – when will we see them again?. “I can never get enough,” said one fan. “I hope it will be soon.”
The last tour the band performed in the United States was in 1995. It had booked and planned a tour in 2001, to begin just after 9-11, but just as they were preparing to leave for the states tragedy struck and they were forced to cancel the entire tour. Although the band members were willing to continue with their plans the families of some crewmembers begged the band to forego the tour out of fears echoed throughout the industry. The band did return to the United States for a one-night concert in 2008 at UCLA’s Royce Hall, but for enthusiastic fans it just wasn’t enough. Another one-night concert was a treat for Moogfest attendees in 2011 in Asheville, NC. But again it was a one-night concert and TD fans can never seem to get enough.
Fronted for over 40 years by founder and only remaining original member Edgar Froese, Tangerine Dream continues to stay at the head of the pack when it comes to electronic music. Early on, at a time when electronic instruments were widely misjudged and virtually non-existent, Tangerine Dream was one of the forerunners of a range of new sounds, effects, and production techniques. Considered by some to be the creators of the electronic music genre, Tangerine Dream’s innovation with the use of electronic instruments and creation of technology to expand the sound is unmatched by few others, if any. The band as a whole without a doubt has an incomparable sound with each of its members contributing to a unique technique that has pushed the boundaries of music for over 40 years. Froese has been responsible for some of the most important and innovative records and concepts of the last century in music as a whole, not just rock and roll or electronic music. Best known for its contributions to film music, TD has recorded soundtracks for dozens of big budget films including The Thief, Legend, Risky Business and Firestarter, to name a few.
Through many re-incarnations of the band, TD continues to be the undisputed premiere electronic music band in the world. Thursday night’s performance proved that the band does not seem to be losing any momentum. Few bands have survived personnel changes, much less dramatic changes in structure and still pump out strong material in such a high tradition. But Froese, who has maintained the group, continues to hold the band’s standard high through many changes over the years. Under his guidance each incarnation of the band has sustained a place in the hearts of its fan base and its integrity in its music.
Now in their 45th year after the name Tangerine Dream appeared first time in public, one could assume that the musical energy has probably slowed down, but sitting in Club Nokia it is clearly the opposite. A surprise for first –time concert attendees is the powerful live shows performed by the band. There was an explosion of energetic rhythms, sounds and lead lines that drove one song after the other elevating the audience through a night of a most remarkable live experience. Using what seemed to be any and all available high-end products and forms of technology to put on a full-sensored, multi-media show that many include favorites.
Supporting Edgar – the “Wizard of EM” – on stage at his post behind his stack of keyboards, this time out, was a band of master musicians in their own right. Adding a vibrant touch of color to the mix visually as well as musically was Linda Spa, known for some of the sexiest sax solos in Electronic Music, on sax. flute and keyboard. Also on keyboards was Thorsten Quaeschning adding his own energy
to the mix with his talent on the keys and some movement from behind a double stack of keyboards as he stepped to the beat. During the encore Thorsten surprised the audience with a lead vocal solo of a cover of The Doors hit “Crystal Ships”. An explosion of energy came from the percussion section of the stage as Iris Camaa wowed the audience with her pounding performance on percussion and v-drums, never yielding to ambiance. But the power and energy did not stop there. Bringing his own dimension to the mix was Bernhard Beibl ripping on electric lead guitar, soaring above the band on powerful solos and rhythm. Finishing off the mix and sound was newcomer Hoshiko Yamane, on violin and cello. Before the night was over Froese, although known for his magic on keyboards and synthesizers, reminded the fans that he started out in rock and roll as a guitarist by treating the fans with a turn on guitar.
The concert lasted nearly three hours, showcasing some 27 songs from the latest recordings and some long-time favorites, which included “The Silver Boots of Bartlett Green”, ““Hoel Dhat The Alchemist”, “ Marmontel Riding On A Clef”, “One Night In Space”, “Long Island Sunset”, “Stratosfear ’95”, “The Sensational Fall Of The Master Builder!”, “Alchemy of the Heart”, “Going West”, “Long Island Sunset”, “Logos 2011”, “Blue Bridge”, “Dolphin Dance”, “Transition”, “Ayumi’s Loom”, “Loved By The Sun”, .”Lady Monk”, and “Oriental Haze” to name a few. Even after three hours, the gracious and giving Tangerine Dream did not stop there. In the words of Froese, “I am their servant”, the band treated the fans to an open meet and greet at the end of the concert.
In the words of fans in Los Angeles on Thursday, the band made up for the long wait and the canceled 2001 tour. Pumping out nearly three hours of some of the bands best-loved songs, the band’s music thundered through Club Nokia, pleasing every concert attendee. Boasting fans traveled from all 4 corners of the country to attend the long awaited and rare concert. Many fans, from groups on the Internet -some meeting for the first time, met for a pre-concert party to talk about their shared experiences of many years of great music and past concert tours. Some fans, who felt one concert night just wasn’t enough traveled to attend several nights of the tour, prepared to travel from coast to coast to be part of the experience.