Traditionally, live albums are hit-and-miss affairs. A few (Thin Lizzy’s Live And Dangerous and The Who’s Live At Leeds) are little short of transcendent, but many are water-treading, contract-fulfilling affairs, often designed to appease hardcore fans while their favourite artists figure out their next move in the studio.
For followers of electronic music behemoths Tangerine Dream, however, the band’s in-concert captures often proved as essential as their studio LPs, not least because the group’s live repertoire usually included previously unrecorded material worked up specifically for the stage.
Consequently, Richard Branson’s Virgin imprint sanctioned four official TD live LPs during his label’s decade-long association with Edgar Froese’s outfit. Both 1975’s Ricochet and ’77’s Encore reflected the live prowess of TD’s “classic” line-up featuring Froese, Christopher Franke and Peter Baumann, while Quichotte (later reissued by Virgin as Pergamon) compiled the best of the group’s historic – and highly emotional – concert at East Berlin’s Palast Der Republik in January 1980.
Quichotte marked the debut of a another highly inspired TD line-up, with mainstays Edgar Froese and Christopher Franke having recently recruited the classically trained Johannes Schmoelling. An underrated figure in the TD story, the versatile Schmoelling also possessed a degree in sound engineering, and his love of accessible, structured compositions (in effect, the pop sensibility TD had previously lacked) guided the band away from the lengthy, improvisatory pieces which had been their forte during the 70s.
With Schmoelling on board, TD released a clutch of critically acclaimed LPs during the early 80s, including Exit and White Eagle. They toured heavily in support of the latter, and their fourth – and final – Virgin-sponsored live LP, Logos Live, was culled from the band’s enthusiastically received show at London’s Dominion Theatre on 6 November 1982: one of over 30 European gigs performed during the White Eagle tour during the fall of ’82.
Tangerine Dream regularly indulged in marathon, two-hour sets during this jaunt, and their repertoire featured highlights from both Exit and White Eagle, including ‘Mojave Plan’, ‘Midnight In Tula’ and ‘Choronzon’. The user-friendly 50 minutes of music edited down for Logos Live, however, was drawn exclusively from the previously unreleased material TD were then performing onstage.
To the uninitiated, the tracklisting threw a curve ball, for the bulk of the LP apparently consisted of just two lengthy, 20-minute tracks. In reality, however, both of these (‘Logos Part 1’ and ‘Logos Part 2’, respectively) were made up of shorter, snappier individual pieces, the longest of which – the chameleonic ‘Logos Red’ – clocked it at a still relatively economic eight minutes.
The overall programme ran together seamlessly too, with the trio dextrously transitioning between stirring, melodic fare (‘Logos Blue’, the courtly ‘Logos Velvet’) and the eerie deep space of the Zeit-esque ‘Logos Black’, before thunderous applause brought them back for a curtain call and a confident version of the recently penned but rarely performed ‘Dominion’.