Tangerine Dream – Princess Pavilion, Falmouth, 7th November 2023 Live Review
The passing of Edgar Froese in 2015 may have signalled the end of Tangerine Dream for many, yet the spirit of his genius continues to chart new insatiable landscapes thanks to the band’s current lineup of Thorsten Quaeschning, Hoshiko Yamane, and Paul Frick.
The trio’s ‘From Virgin to Quantum Years Tour 2023’ has hit the UK, and its arrival in Falmouth, Cornwall, was seemingly something of a shock to the band as much as the audience; introducing the show, Quaeschning mistook the town for Plymouth, a gaff which drew laughs from the packed-out theatre as well as his bandmates. After briefly exiting the stage and returning for a successful second attempt at his opening monologue, the controls were set for a truly majestic performance that spanned Tangerine Dream’s monolithic near-six-decade oeuvre.
A live career retrospective of such magnitude requires a healthy running time, and the crowd was duly treated to a set that occupied the best part of three hours. Straight off the bat, the sonics were phenomenal, and a special mention must go out to the sound crew and acoustics of the venue. A perfect canvas for Tangerine Dream’s luscious synthesizer tones was in place – and how brilliant they were.
Despite being electronic in nature, there was an unmistakably organic feel to the sounds cascading across the room, and the band’s performance was a testament to the power of live music. In his intro, Quaeschning provided a flavour of what the evening held in store, one such ingredient being a crunching synth tone that caused the floor to shake. The power of the pulsating rhythms and melodies was to be felt as well as heard. As the band navigated its way through classic and deep cuts, the music painted an enraptured atmosphere that was impossible not to get completely caught up in. Looking around, people of all ages were lost in the music, eyes closed, and bodies flowing in time with the current of Tangerine Dream.
The first two hours of the show were packed with everything from ‘Phaedra’ to ‘No Happy Endings’, with Quantum-era material such as ‘Identity Proven Matrix’ and ‘You’re Always On Time’ blending seamlessly with the band’s staple tunes. If there’s one thing that recent albums Quantum Gate/Quantum Key and Raum have demonstrated, it’s that the Tangerine Dream legacy is very much in safe hands. The bank of ideas that Froese left behind is being brought to fruition in spectacular fashion by the present lineup, and they’re breathing new life into the older material too – the highlight of the night came with ‘Love on a Real Train’; this ubiquitous track was elevated to new heights thanks in large part to a hair-raising synth solo courtesy of Quaeschning.
For the encore, the band indulged in a 40-minute improvisation in D-minor that forged infectious synthscapes with audio samples and Yamane’s alluring violin embellishments. For a band that’s released more than 300 studio albums, EPs, singles, and compilations, being able to create polished pieces on the spot is intrinsic to its DNA, and Falmouth was gifted a unique gem on an evening that will live long in the memory of those who were there.
Dan Aston | Now Spinning Magazine