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Tony Palmers' Film of Tangerine Dream

Live At Coventry Cathedral 1975

- Live/Studio, released March 2007 -


DVD release UK 2007

DVD+CD release UK 2013


1.Ricochet, Part One [Excerpt][untitled]16:40
2.Ricochet, Part Two [Excerpt][untitled]11:04
Total running time27:44


Recording date1975


On the first glance on the cover of this DVD release one might think to see a live taping of TD's concert at Coventry Cathedral, but actually it contains a half-hour concert montage of performance footage heavily processed by video effects. This is how it was broadcast on BBC2 on October 3rd, 1976 -- almost a year to the day after the Coventry concert. Tony Palmer had filmed the concert for a 50 minute edition of 'Omnibus' (being the BBC's then flagship Arts programme), but somebody carelessly lost the audio -- forcing Palmer to completely re-do the entire programme. So he edited the shots to excerpts from TD's then new album Ricochet. The UK press announced that Chris Franke flew in specially to help with the editing.


The audio mix is standard mono and no other details are provided of the event, except of the following notes on the backside of the DVD cover:


Notes from the DVD release"In December 1974 Tangerine Dream were invited to play in the grand setting of Rheims Cathedral, a move certainly seen at the time as groundbreaking. Because of this, they were then invited to perform in the cathedrals of York, Liverpool and Coventry. The tour attracted unprecedented coverage in the media, especially at Cobentry Cathedral, an iconic building rising like a Phoenix on the ruins of the old cathedral bombed to bit by the Germans in 1940 (Tangerine Dream is, after all, a German band) as a celebration of peace and reconciliation, as well as a lasting showcase for great contemporary art. The nave is dominated by a gigantic tapestry by Graham Sutherland, the main door dwarfed by a sculpture of St Michael & The Devil by Jacob Epstein, and the consecration in 1962 heard the first performance of Britten's incomparable War Reqiem. To their lasting credit, Tangerine Dream contributed to this celebration.
The film released now for the first time on DVD will be welcomed by the massive Tangerine Dream fan base, and also seen for what it is -- a meeting of cultures and for a brief moment in time, a time where the past met both the present and the future."


In fact, reception of this DVD release was quite mixed, as many expected to see a complete live concert, including previously unheard music and hence were extremely disappointed by the contents of this release.


From a technical standpoint, Palmer's montage is very much of its time. Combining psychedelic effects with the cathedral's own architectural and artistic imagery, Palmer created an extended music video for a band whose performances, at that time, consisted of expressionless manipulation of analog synthesizers. But the video effects and transition filters, rendering chunky, blocky, op-art geometric shapes in blazing primary and purplish colours, may be distracting to those wanting a precise and complete record of the original concert. And of course, the edits do not sync with any performance close-ups at all.


Anyway, given the fact that only few video material from that era does exist at all, those who never attended the band's concerts in the seventies will find fascinating shots of the massive gear used to create the group's sound, that is surrounding Edgar Froese, Chris Franke and Peter Baumann.


From 30 Years Of Dreaming

On 4th October 1975, they began a longer tour in England. The first concert, where Tangerine Dream played in Coventry Cathedral, was filmed for the BBC by Tony Palmer. This 28-minute long TV film was shown on Swedish TV shortly afterwards, and I think that this was one of my first rendezvous with Tangerine Dream and their music.

This movie gives quite a good picture of how Tangerine Dream made use of visual elements as an important part of their show. It is not as much the pictures of the musicians on stage as it is the use of colours, candles, the architecture of the church together with the music that creates the special mood.

Well, there might be another reason why you do not see that much of the musicians; if you look closely, you will see that something is not right; what you see and what their fingers play are not synchronised -- the music is taken from the album Ricochet and put on to the pictures later -- and even Ricochet is an album put together from many different live pieces and not just one concert.

The following year it became one of Tangerine Dream's trademarks to play at exotic venues rather than ordinary concerts at ordinary concert halls. Many churches, cathedrals and other historically interesting places have formed the visual background for the music.

© 1999 by Kent Eskildsen


In 2013 the DVD was rereleased with a bonus CD featuring the audio tracks.


2007: Respect
DVD: RESPECTDVD3; multicoloured disc
2013: Gonzo
Copyright/Disclaimer   © 2001-2021 by Michael Berling. Last Update: 2021-09-19 21:31