Tangerine Dream - Shepherds Bush Empire
Feeling rather traitorous as I do, I tear myself away from the footie (don't tell me the score!) to go and watch a group of Germans make a lot of weird noises, but what a fantastic racket Tangerine Dream do make. They've had quite a journey and released a vast number of albums in their forty five year career, and even a full-blown three hour show can only offer the merest of snapshots of their trek from avant-garde outcasts to electronica's treasured grandparents.
Split into two sets, Tangerine Dream dive through a motley assortment of material old and new, often reworked to better suit the live environment. Built around massive banks of synths and carried along by furious kosmische beats, the band generally has the entire Shepherds Bush Empire enraptured and they whisk us all away on a cerebral journey through the cosmos.
Despite many of the highlights being saved for the second half of the show, most notably a brand new arrangement of parts of 'Ricochet', a certain level of tedium does begin to set in. This is due largely in part to guitarist Bernhard Biebl feeling the need to add gratuitous shredding and the same unimaginative solo to just about everything, a ploy that not only wears thin very quickly, but also serves to flatten a lot of the tracks into sounding somewhat similar underneath his caterwauling.
The others however, manage to show him how it is done, as first Edgar Froese and Linda Spa trade guitar and saxophone on 'The Blue Bridge', before Iris Camaa and Hoshiko Yamane lead a merry dance through 'Teetering Scales' in fine displays of virtuosity, showmanship and synchronicity. A raucous finale of 'Stratosphere 95' brings the curtain down on a long, occasionally dull, but highly adventurous astral voyage. Now to find my way home...