Can collective consciousness still be shifted and raised? The answer is a resounding and definitive yes if you caught Tangerine Dream at the Granada Theatre last Wednesday night. For over three hours, this powerful yet delicate ensemble wove a tapestry of such vast dimension that we were transported from the micro world of inner space to the distant worlds of the universe on a journey for those with a ticket and willingness to climb aboard. As I lay back in my seat, I was treated to a stunningly beautiful evening of textured, blended, and projected images of oceans, dolphins, space travel, planets, cityscapes, people, Rorschach-like images, and a brilliantly choreographed light show.
Edgar Froese, the originator and remaining member, was accompanied by a talented lineup of Linda Spa, Thorsten Quacheachning, Iris Camaa, Bernhard Beibl, and one additional unknown young female soloist, playing their hearts out on cello, violin, flute, saxophone, tenor sax, congas, drums, and guitars, with the synthesizers underpinning it all in the most tasteful ways. Tangerine Dream, founded by Froese in 1967 as a purely instrumental group, were pioneers in bringing synthesizers into modern culture. With a discography of well over 100 CD releases to date, they have influenced a stunning array of musical genres, from the inception of New Age and rave mixes to movie soundtrack scores.
But back to the ticket and the willingness to travel on this journey. I couldn’t help but notice that the Granada was only sparsely full on Wednesday, and that significant others were engaging significant others in requests to bail out early on the evening’s performance, as some did at various intervals. It does take a certain mindset to be engaged by this music for an extended length of time, which goes beyond a willingness to be entertained. Even Froese himself mentioned in appreciative but light closing remarks that next time they come to Santa Barbara, perhaps at least another two rows in the back could be filled.