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Tangerine Dream: Live In Ottawa

The latest entry in the Bootmoon series takes us back to the Dream's tour of North America in 1986, in support of the marine-themed Underwater Sunlight. That album also introduced us to a twentysomething conservatory-trained Austrian named Paul Haslinger, whose talent was noticed by [founder and sole remaining original member] Edgar Froese. Froese had sought to make TD a trio again following the departure of Johannes Schmoelling one year earlier. The revolving door wasn't about to shut, just yet: longtime member Christoph Franke was nearing the end of his "tour of duty," and would leave after 1987's Tyger to take a sabbatical from music before continuing on a familiar path with film scoring. Formerly a drummer, and the group's rhythmic "backbone," Franke rose to his role as something of a sound design wizard, helping to trademark the German trio's penchant for strata upon strata of shifting, evolving sequencer patterns. The 1986 North American Tour leg (a European tour was completed prior) thus remains a special one, because it was the last time this unique incarnation — which might have equalled the previous two — was seen live.

Like other Bootmoon entries, Live In Ottawa features a delicious assortment of album and non-album originals. And like other Bootmoon entries, the source tapes are evidently of nonprofessional origin, but luckily there isn't much audience noise to contend with. The sound is very bright — though nothing will make you wince until you hear those notes soloing around or above C5 in "Rare Bird," anyway — and there just isn't enough bottom end. Which again brings us to the question: why can't an official soundboard recording from this tour be issued, as with Rockface, the official document of the 1988 N.A. Tour? Let's savor whatever precious oxygen we have, and just listen to this darn thing: a complete show, eighteen tracks in all, including two excellent solo piano interludes by Paul Haslinger — one of which is a Mozart concerto excerpt. Froese had lucked out in finding Haslinger, who like he, played guitar as well as keyboards (for the first time ever, two guitars would appear onstage). At the center of it all was the shockstill Franke, who would be facing the audience one moment, triggering samples from his Emulator II, and swivelling the next moment to change parameters via his huge modular setup.

Exit is represented only by the classic opener, "Pilots Of Purple Twilight," and Stratosfear's title track is given an appropriate facelift thanks to the latest synth gear of the age (as opposed to being an outright bastardization). A long, thirteen minute chunk of original, sequencer-driven music called "Beneath The Waves" was surely a highlight of the show for fans who missed the days of TD's heavily-improvised gigs. "Coloured Rain," another original, is a tranquil ambient piece that precedes the first piano solo. The show's second act keeps things current with three more uplifting numbers from Underwater Sunlight, including the definitive seven-minute version of "Dolphin Dance," and the always-welcome "Ride On The Ray" with its eerie guitar solo. Some soundtrack material made it onto the setlist on this round, with several themes from Legend (both excluded from the release and fodder for traders, for years); "Going West" was an interesting choice, a nicely bombastic, percussive theme from the band's score for the film, Flashpoint. It would've been nice if some Thief material had been held over from the 1982 tours of Europe & Oz! The encores included the second piano solo, the classy "Bois de Bolougne," and a rather uncharacteristic (for TD, anyway) rocker called "Rare Bird," which originally could be found on the official Poland live album from '84.

Tangerine Dream holds a special place in the hearts of many, and while the band's modern output is a far cry from the trend-setting, cutting-edge electronic masterworks of the analog heyday, "new/old" releases such as Live In Ottawa will continue to satisfy many a fan who's jonesin' for something from the good ol' days — for some, that would be the '70s, for others, the '80s, and so on, and so on, and so on…


CD 1
01 Pilots Of Purple Twilight
02 Stratosfear
03 Akash Deep
04 Beneath The Waves
05 Zen Garden
06 Scuba Scuba
07 Coloured Rain
08 Piano Solo

CD 2
01 Dolphin Dance
02 Ride On The Ray
03 Going West
04 Yellowstone Park
05 Underwater Twilight
06 Legend Leftover
07 Unicorn Theme
08 Piano Concerto K466 W.A. Mozart
09 Rare Bird
10 Bois De Boulogne

Total time: 106:10

Added: May 5th 2004
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Related Link: TANGERINE DREAM Dot Org
Hits: 2822
Language: english

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