Paris February 2nd 1981
Running time: 1:44:33
Undulation - 7:50
Calymba Caly (Electro Part) - 7:34
Calymba Caly (Ancient Part) - 5:54
Thermal Inversion - 13:30
Parisien Piano - 6:29
Force Majeure - 5:54
Silver Scale - 20:53
Phase Change - 4:36
Diamond Duster - 4:17
Diamond Diary - 10:51
Choronzon - 11:12
Trap Feeling - 5:33
Disc 1: tracks 1-6
Disc 2: tracks 7-12
This is Tangerine Dream’s best 80’s concert. Yes, I know there are some mighty contenders - Logos; Poland; Pergamon; Livemiles. But on the European tour in early 1981, the boys really nailed it and delivered wave after wave of sensational sequenced, rhythmic, melodic EM. The majority of which has never seen an equivalent studio release.
Let’s be clear what this release is. It’s an audience recording. But, and it’s a big but, it’s probably the best audience recording I’ve ever heard given the period and the portable recording technology that was available at the time. It is clear, dynamic, has highs, and even has low frequencies. On a scale of 1 to 10 I’d give it 9.
Anyway, onto the music - and what music! It opens with 'Undulation', strange atmospherics weave a hypnotic collage for 3 minutes at which point some rapid fire sequencing appears. This merges beautifully into 'Calymba Caly' which, together with 'Thermal Inversion', is one of TD’s greatest ever sustained sections of uptempo electronics - and Messrs Froese, Franke and especially Schmoelling were on totally scintillating form in Paris. This release has split 'Calymba Caly' into two sections, the uptempo 'Electro Part' which features those massive sequences and some amazing Schmoelling soloing, and the more deliberate 'Ancient Part' with the regimental but no less effective sequencing.
And then we go headlong into 'Thermal Inversion'. In previous reviews I've said it more than once, but just so you're in no doubt - THIS TRACK IS AWESOME!! The more you hear this track in increasingly superior sound quality the more it's credentials as possibly the most accomplished TD track of the 80's come to the fore. Mix massive percussives, scintillating sequencing and Schmoelling in full melodic flow and it's too much for words. Forgive me for 10 minutes while I just sit back and enjoy.…..
Wow, were back into a surprisingly jaunty piano interlude called 'Parisien Piano' which contains whiffs of familiar motifs here and there, especially 'Pergamon'. Then, heaven of heavens, we hear those sequential refrains from 'Force Majeure'. This piece is now 25 years old and still knocks most EM I hear into a cocked hat. Though not credited this then merges into the 'Logos Part 2' section which has been popularly titled 'The Price'. It’s a fantastic, perfect closing section. The stunned pause before the audience bursts into rapturous applause says it all. Pure wonderment.
Disc 2 opens with the majestic refrains of 'Silver Scale', the opening section of which appears on the soundtrack 'Wavelength' as 'Church Theme'. I know you were all dying to know that fact (to give you an idea of sound quality, this actually sounds a cleaner version!!). Anyway, this is more stunning brilliance, the sequence lines fly like blow darts through the ears and the synth leads are like razers, shredding all before them. At the 12 minute mark the sequencing becomes even more rampant. By now the audience were probably hitting themselves with pans in a cartoon-like gesture of submission. I feel another capital letter "awesome" coming on. 'Horns of Doom' segues in at the 18 minute mark. I'm going to throw up, or something. EM shouldn't be this good. AAAAWWWEEESSSOOOMMMMEEEEEE!!!
OK, OK. I'll try to control myself. 'Phase Change' is a brooding bridge section which gives a chance for the blood pressure to drop. TD then play the old 'Diamond Duster' / 'Diamond Diary' double whammy. Depth charge drums beat the front row into a pulp, then the sequences are unleashed again in trademark style from the 'Thief' soundtrack, with some wonderful variation in the shape of more improvised lead lines. The audience greets Edgar as he picks up his plank and spanks the audience into an even higher state of frenzy, for which health insurance must surely be mandatory. The sequences go into overdrive and blow a fuse, leaving Edgar in ecstatic isolation. Jaws clank on the floor. Audience riots....
...But not before a couple of tasty encores are served up. Not content with drumming through the Earth's crust, they roll out the nuclear detonators in the form of 'Choronzon'. Brilliant as ever, and note the acapella audience accompaniment at the start. Bada bada bam be bam. And Schmoelling's soloing? What can you say? The guy is God. Best version I've heard. Audience goes ape.
'Trap Feeling' is a fantastic close to the concert. A relatively short chill-out section, followed by the bombastic fusillade which is 'Scrap Yard' from 'Thief'. They must have been throwing buckets of cold water over the sequencer banks by now, as they were overheating and had to bring the piece to a premature close by the sounds of it.
I'm totally worn out by this release. It's probably the best back to back collection of uptempo sequenced / melodic EM I've ever heard. And the sound quality is amazing considering the audience recording origin. For any fan of TD, or any fan of Electronic Music in general, it's a totally essential purchase. It simply doesn’t get any better. (GG)