In a line of new initiatives to give my blog new character comes a section called 'debate'. In this section I will bring up topics that relates to Tangerine Dream, and should be opinionated enough to release some contrary opinions.
First topic is the frequency of and geographical placement of Tangerine Dream concerts.
I used to say that if TD can't come to the fans, the fans must come to TD. But in the long run, that's just absurd. Otherwise, we would only have concerts in London. Or Vienna, if Edgar wouldn't get on a plane. Also only local residents or followers with an unhealthy relationship to money could attend.
I know Edgar is in his late sixties, has a reputation to care about, but why does TD concerts always have to be so show orientated? If septuagenarian Hans-Joachim Roedelius and über-influential Cluster can play in Denmark several times, turn a few knobs on some hardware easily carried in the hand baggage, and still make big art, aren't Tangerine Dream taking a distance to their followers, by the way they make concerts?
The Electric Mandarine Tour was an artistic success, but a full live band doesn't necessarily fill the sound image more, than a table full of gadgets and modules. It worked for Michael Rother in Malmö when he re-launched the spirit of NEU! with a drummer and bassist.
I think TD still suffers from the eighties philosophy that demands big light show, loads of equipment and an overall too expensive concert fee, that smaller, but interested, festivals can't in their wildest imaginations live up to. They have reduced, since then, but are still not adequate with the times.
A poorly promoted headliner tour with high ticket prices resulted in poorly attended shows in the states this summer. TD plays safe in London, Berlin and, well that's about it. I see a regular amount of the same faces at every concert. I think TD should seek new ground, new formats of live concerts in order to boost a stagnating fan base. Once youngsters get into TD, it's always because they've listened Phaedra or Rubycon, not because they (accidentally) witnessed them at a concert.
The all laptop way is not advisable, but having six or eight keyboards each, only played a little along to a backing track, could be scaled down drastically. A basic light show is often enough, and the legacy of TD's music always says it all.
It is too bad that TD puts so much energy in the three hour hit parade, and that is the only way they choose to perform. Financially it is too much of a risk to book the ensemble, which is why so few people do it. Hans-Joachim Roedelius performed in Denmark this indian summer, and his legacy is just as important. Tangerine Dream has to this day, still not performed in Scandinavia!
Improvisation is overrated, and the seventies won't come back, but TD should reach out for their existing and coming fans a bit more enthusiastically. World wide.