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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Tangerine Dream

The Official Bootleg Series Volume Three: The Ford Auditorium, Detroit, March 1977 & The Regent Theatre, Sydney, February 1982

Review by Gary Hill

You can likely figure out what this is about by reading the title. Each concert is on two CDs. There is a great booklet, a clamshell box and each CD comes in its own sleeve. This is all class. The recording quality on these (for bootlegs) is very good. That said, the audience noise is a bit too loud at times on the first concert. It's not enough to be overly distracting, but enough to be noticeable. Of course, part of that is because some of the musical passages are very quiet.

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Track by Track Review
The Ford Auditorium, Detroit
31st March 1977
Disc One
Cherokee Lane

Weird space sounds bring this into being. A slow moving melody gradually rises upward as it moves forward. Electronic keyboards drive this and own it. The cut has some cool sounds and movements. It makes me think of Synergy in a lot of ways. There is driving electronic energy, but there are also some definite classical textures on it. It gets into some almost Hawkwind-like electronic zones before it's all over and done.

While this begins in very classy ways, it shifts out to some crazy stuff that feels like it could be at home in some horror film. This is trippy and otherworldly. After a time, though, it shifts to more of an electronic classical zone to continue. It works in melodic and pretty ways until it approaches the nine-minute mark. It shifts to weird chaos as it feels like we're in a horror movie again for a time. Then electronic textures move it forward from there. This gets very powerful in a classical turned electronic way.
The Emerald Beyond
Starting in the mellow electronic zone, this works out to some killer rocking prog jamming later. It's the most hard rocking thing on this first disc. It' has some great space stuff and is so cool. This thing turns toward heavy metal in some crazed, noisy jamming. It feels free form and bizarre, but also very cool.
Disc Two
Patterns in the Ivy

This comes in ambient and a bit psychedelic and moves out in keeping with those textures. It gets pretty trippy and freeform as it continues to evolve. A cool space rock groove with tribal, psychedelic elements emerges further down the musical. road. This is quite a varied and evolving piece of electronic space music.

Faces of the Earth

The electronic space textures that start this definitely make me think of Hawkwind. It gets noisier and seems to convey a sense of foreboding as it moves forward. It works out to more melodic and gentle sounds that have an almost symphonic vibe to them. It feels tranquil.

Coming in fairly mellow, this thing eventually powers out into some screaming hot electronic based prog rock. The jam is purely on fire.
Signals from Above
Freaky, trippy sounds are on display here. This is electronic and feels for quite some time like it would work well in the soundtrack to a horror or science fiction film. It grows out to more of a psychedelic rock meets electronic jam.
The Regent Theatre, Sydney
22nd February 1982
Disc Three
Convention of the 24

I dig the energized electronic groove at the heart of this number. The track moves nicely. This isn't a big departure or surprise, but it is very effective.

White Eagle
This starts with some serious weirdness. Echoey and sounding like layers of sped up voices, that section is about the first minute of the piece. It works to more melodic electronic sounds from there. It eventually works out to a mellower movement.
Ayers Majestic
Starting in mellow zones, when a rocking, driving section emerges to bring it out of that, I'm definitely reminded of Hawkwind. It remains electronic, but that Hawkwind kind of vibe is on hand as it continues. It makes me think of the Electric Teepee album quite a bit. Mind you, this show predates that album, so I'm not saying this is influenced by that at all, only that this music reminds me of that. It works to trippy, mellower electronic stuff as it moves onward.

Coming in with more powered up electronics, this rocker has a majestic, symphonic sort of vibe to it. This works out to some more standard Tangerine Dream stuff (if that is really a thing) as it moves forward. There is a bit of a rock energy and structure to the piece, but it's electronic in its delivery. There are some great melodic elements here, and this does begin to resemble more of a rock song as it continues. As the cut continues to works forward, it drops downward to more atmospheric electronic stuff that feels like it would be at home on a soundtrack.

Bondi Parade
Speaking of rocking, this is definitely one of the more rock based numbers here. The cut drives with style and class. This has some peaks and valleys and contrasts between mellower and more rocking sections. It's a powerhouse number that has some killer guitar work built into it.
Disc Four
Mojave Plan

This piece runs more than 27 minutes. It comes in weird, with seemingly random bits of freaky sound rising up and fading out amongst some odd drum beats.  It remains sparse and more or less atmospheric, but there are hints of King Crimson-like things along with some space as it continues to explore. As it approaches the four-minute mark, it has evolved into a cool electronic rocking groove. This thing has some killer jamming as it drives onward. It reminds me just a bit of Kraftwerk in some ways, but it's more natural feeling and has a bit more of a fusion edge to it. We get a percussive workout around the 14-minute mark. Then piano rises up as it moves forward from there. The piece works outward to more electronic prog jamming as it continues. The cut gets into more rocking electronic zones further down the road. It really ramps up as it continues. It makes its way back to mellower textures after a time and dramatic, trippy electronics eventually take control and hold the last section in a weird way. 

Thermal Inversion
The electronics from the previous cut seem to bring this into being. It works out to an energized, driving kind of rock zone. This piece works through a number of changes. There are parts of that make me think of Kraftwerk a bit. Trippy, noisy stuff takes it later to run the piece for a time. Then it shifts out to rather spooky electronic textures to continue from that point. That segues the number into the next piece.
Force Majeure
Cool, mellower, modes open this and create the initial electronic wonder of the piece. The track works upward and begins to explore some cool electronic prog zones as it continues.
Waves of synthesizer swirl around as this cut opens. Then drums rise up as the number works into its next section. There is a noisy section later that features weird keys and a prominent percussive element.
Midnight in Tula

Fast paced and a bit crazed, this sounds like something that would have been at home in a science fiction soundtrack from the 80s. It would have been part of a fast action scene. There is a bit of a twisted, creepy texture built into it, too. It sounds a bit dated, but it's also very cool.

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