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Tangerine Dream - Pergamon - Live at the 'Palast der Republik' GDR CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream


Progressive Electronic

4.23 | 121 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Beloved older brother of the Poland album !

Pergamon is the highest rated Tangerine Dream album, a significant indication that these Berliners were no studio twiddlers only but could garnish a stage with their elaborate electronic rock. In fact they have proven themselves rather brilliantly on a series of live renditions from Ricochet, Encore, Poland and this stunner! The opening piano work is a new revelation for the band and it delicately leads with guide-like precision through the ultra- ironically titled "Quichotte" suite and into the farthest celestial horizons. Being West Berliners and sensing the approaching downfall, they must have felt exhilarated to play to fellow countrymen sadistically separated by an inward-firing windmill of death, a few deadly meters the gulf between two distinct yet brethren universes. Not just Reagan but music could "tear down that wall" of artistic freedom, which can only survive in a free, albeit at times faulty society. East Bloc musicians had a hell of a time in between arrests from the secret police in asserting their musical vision, using innuendo, irony and creative humor in vilifying a system that was pure ideology and little else. The DDR must have been extremely leery of these surely imperialist spies on keyboards but the people's mood was to revolt and the agreement was surely a compromise, good-will gesture from the dour Erich Honecker., head of the German socialist paradise.

So Live at "the Palast der Republik" recorded in 1980 and released in 1986 is an entirely symphonic affair, with unusual latitude given to tones that are not always profuse with the band such as flute settings on the synths and denser bass synth programming throughout. The textures are silky as opposed to experimental, almost classical with hefty allotment for form over substance. When Edgar picks up his guitar on the second track, the inexorable electric squeals must have been heart-stopping, drenched in echo-like despair, all platformed by Franke's rhythmic onslaught and Schmölling's more traditional yet sparkling piano, e-piano and synth leads. I mean, wow! I am sure many an audience member thought" I have been missing out on THIS!" or "THIS was verboten?", and things changed, piece by little piece, everywhere in the Warsaw Pact at the same time. A final series of solos are evidently exalted in its bliss, portraying a new approaching dawn. What a thrill!

Just like with Poland barely 3 years later, the scene must have been a surreal atmosphere of endless contrasts from the icy cold imprisonment to the bristling heat of renewal, from elegant piano to bubbling synthesizes gasps and shearing guitar leads. A rapt audience of mostly party officials hypnotized by musical travel and sonic exploration, where the only visa requirement was a ticket to the show. They went home, dreamed tangerine and vowed to implode their system (hey Egon Krenz, the two Gunthers, Schabowski and .Kleiber! How ya doin'?).

And who says that music cannot change the world!

If you ever need to choose 1 Tangerine Dream album, let it be this one.

5 crying Vopos.

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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