all images © Chuck Bryant
I discovered Tangerine Dream at, of all places, Harding University (thanks to Dennis Munch's copy of Phaedra). I got hooked by the usually brooding, often sinister pieces, especially the full-side meanderings of Rubycon and Ricochet. Almost two decades later I find they've moved from Virgin Records to Private Music. The move brought 1988's very neatly produced album, Optical Race. Yaaawn. Not that the early stuff was compositionally sophisticated (hah!) but I grooved on the darker moods and the then-innovative synthesizer-dominated improvs. Optical Race, Dream's middle age, sounds formulaic. Pasteurized. Predictable. Even—horrors!—pleasant. A glossy New Age version of the 70's smiley-face. It works fine as nice background music, soothing aural wallpaper; occasionally I still enjoy playing it for that purpose. But a concert of this?
Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the album, I still wanted to see the Dream in concert. My friend Lea joined me for the trek over to South Beach's Cameo Theater, a no-frills facility better suited to dancing and moshing rather than concerts (which does contribute to its own unique cachet). I parked the car and literally hopped up onto the sidewalk and crack! I broke my ankle.
My prosthetic leg, that is, at a place corresponding to an ankle. Didn't hurt me a bit. Lea and I had a good laugh at this. Luckily, I had my other leg in the trunk of my car. Seriously! So I changed legs and off we went.
Despite the music's limits I did enjoy the indisputably excellent light show. They had to have something visual; otherwise for 90% of the set we could see almost no movement on stage except three guys occasionally turning from one keyboard to another. I made sure to get photos when Edgar Froese and one of the other two came downstage with guitars (below). Ooooh! Excitement!
all images and text © chuck bryant