Tangerine Dream concert periods
In the very early days the gigs were entirely improvised, albeit using the same sound pallette from night to night. Their albums were always about a year in advance of the music they made live I suppose you could say. I would characterise it thus:
1972 – Anything goes, aggressive `kosmische' music using relatively primitive instruments
1973 – A bit more mysterious, organ textures and perhaps an extra VCS3 synthi in there and lots of glissando guitar from Edgar...
1974 – Following Phaedra, the arrival of the Big Moog live on stage. Improvisations would now incorporate sequencer patterns which would be set up either live in real time or pretty much on the day itself (at the soundcheck ?)
1975 – The Royal Albert Hall gig. More confident sequencing and the addition of Michael Hoenig instead of Baumann. Perhaps their best concert in this style (parts 2 and 3 are masterpieces of the art)
1975 – The Ricochet tour saw them working for the first time with a bunch of pre-set sequences, programmed and stored in the equipment's memory for the first time. The same patterns emerge again and again throughout these concerts, and while the pattern lengths are manipulated from anything from 1 note to 16, there is no mistaking the repetition of familiar patterns
1976 – They seemed to take a new approach and go back to off the cuff out and out exploration with sequencing (Royal Albert Hall 1976 first piece is a MUST for this). In late 1976 there were again a few set patterns but lots of improvising. Many sets were marred by Froese's sub standard guitar heroics in the second half, but would recommend Nottingham Albert Hall 11/76 as a typical and very well recorded show.
1977 – American tour. They usually played 2 pieces broadly recognisable as Cherokee Lane and Monolight before a series of shorter and less adventurous pieces designed to appeal to the rock fan a bit too much....too many one note basslines and too much excruciating guitar!
1978 – A body swerve to the left, with a drummer and Vocalist/Sax/Flute etc. Actually the early gigs on this tour are very interesting indeed with TD veering into space rock almost...the mainland Europe gigs are the most exciting...they settled into a formula a bit by the time it reached the UK. Under-rated tour nonetheless.
1980-86 – From the point Johannes Schmoelling joined their sets became basically identical for the duration of the tour. This was both a good and a bad thing. on the plus side they could cover a lot of territory in a short time with lots of segues and changes of mood. They were also in the habit of debuting an hour and a half of brand new music, which was very good of them. They often played the NEXT album rather than the current one. The downside was that most of the music was actually on tape. Only solos, synthi noises and guitar were truly played live. We didn't know this at the time, and the music was excellent nonetheless, but their improvising days were over. Then Chris Franke quit and it was game over :) (for me anyway)
– "Beeb Fader"