Tangerine Dream - The Lowry Manchester 28th May 2011

For their only UK concert for 2011, seven times Grammy nominated pioneers of electronic music, Tangerine Dream, chose the The Lowry in Manchester to perform the epic 'Gate Of Saturn'. For this special event, they compiled a special rhythm and bass driven programme and the performance was made up largely of new material that has never been performed live before, together with classics from the band's 40 year history.

Founder member Edgar Froese managed to put together some excellent musicians for the evening and included long-time collaborators from Vienna and Berlin; Linda Spa (sax, flute, keyboards), Iris Camaa (percussion, V-drums), Bernhard Beibl (guitar) and Thorsten Quaeschning (keyboards); completing the lineup was guest musician Hoshiko Yamane (electric violin).

The three-tiered Lowry is a neat venue; purpose built and very comfortable. It was important that the audience were in their seats promptly as the tickets stated 'latecomers may not be admitted'.

The evening was packed with new material and classics taken from their enormous back catalogue (over 140 studio and live recordings); the whole show lasting from 7.30 to approximately 11.10pm. The programme was split into two sets with a 20 minute break in between. Set 1 began in the classic Tangerine Dream style with 'Marmontel Riding On A Clef'; the musicians all contributing to the floating atmospheric sound which was subtly accompanied by some very subdued lighting. The lighting increased in intensity and dramatic effect as the evening progressed and culminated in an excellent show during the second set. As the journey went on, the audience was treated to some very intricate arrangements and the total instrumental nature of the tracks didn't detract from the performance.

There were many highlights, none more moving than 'Sally's Garden' which featured the immaculate saxophone playing of Linda Spa and the numerous expressions of brilliance from percussionist Iris Camaa. Another musician who 'stood out' was Brian May who was in the audience. The program mentions that he will be a special guest at their concert in Teneriffe next month.

The atmosphere built up to the encore, where the sound seemed to be clearer than earlier on. The audience gave a standing ovation for about 10 minutes and subsequently caused a mass panic buying frenzy at the merchandising stand.

Tangerine Dream has stood the test of time and their constant experimentation and innovative interpretations still sound fresh. This band has proved that they aren't going away and their live performances just get better and better.