Embryos concert tour from Portugal to Tunisia (1972)

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In 1972, Embryo did their first tour to Africa, from Portugal to Tunisia, organized by the Goethe-Institut. Here you can find 2 reports about this tour.

Embryo on Tour

by Lothar Schmelzer
4 musicians, 2 roadies, 1 VW bus full of equipment and 2 chicks. Jimmy Jackson (man, what happened) plays organ and sometimes percussion. Dave King (has forgotten his chick in America) plays fender bass. Edgar Hoffman (cool, calm and collected) soprano sax and violin, superfreak Christian Burchard (music and chicks are everythere) drums and marimba. Roadie Ronnie (has good connections everywhere) serves the PA and is always looking for women to fuck. It goes over Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia. The tour was organized by the Goetheinstitut. Two concerts in Spain are cancelled, because the song "Espanja Si, Franco No" is rejected by the cops (then rather "My Sweet Lord"). In Porto the tour starts. In a cinema 1500 people are gathering. Come Together. And it explodes. Like a flood, the liberation and joy spreads out among the people. They jump up, clap, romp, scream, love and peace, ecstasy! For the first time I see police running around like excited chickens, these weak-headed puppets! "For once be quiet, shut up, sit down." But the people still have their fun. Lisbon is the same. Then Morocco. Hey freaks, this is a real nice place. Tangier. Turned on by the magic of the Orient (pot, mint, bazaars, music in the streets, relaxed atmosphere everywhere, smiling faces, no paranoia). Rabbat. And then Casablanca. In an industrial hall people are freaking out. They spontaneously express their freedom. And we make many friends here. Algeria is fucked up. Big accumulation of social misery. Oppression, especially of the youth. They are not allowed to go to the cinema under 25, there is no disco, and pop music is suppressed by the regime there. All hell breaks loose at the Goethe Institute in Algiers. At the concert, people are rolling on the floor and the girls are screaming like they used to with the Beatles. At the drums, Christian is jumped on by a guy and fanatically kissed. O.K., that's revolution. Message. Then the concert has to be cancelled because the director of the Goethe-Institut fears that his store will be closed by the police. Last concerts in Tunis and Sfax and a similar situation as before. To the guys you were a message, a clenched fist hurling lightning. A message for the oppressed.

From: Sounds, 1972/07

Report from the concert tour at the invitation of the Goethe Institute, 1972

Embryo from Munich was the first German pop group to travel to Portugal, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia at the invitation of the foreign branches of the Goethe-Institut. The first concert was on April 15th at the Cinema Trinade in Porto. The hall, which had a capacity of about 1200 people, was filled to the last seat, and there were about 600 people in front of the door who wanted to come in. Embryo's music was very well received by the mostly young audience, they applauded enthusiastically and stormily demanded encores. The situation was almost the same at the Cinema Alvalade in Lisbon with about 1600 seats, where people were also incredibly enthusiastic about the music of Embryo. They immediately offered the group to come back to Portugal in autumn (for a 15-day tour), and representatives of the Goethe Institute were so enthusiastic about the success that they offered Embryo a South American tour. The next concert was on April 19, this time at the 1700-seat Cinema Royal in Tangier (Morocco). Embryo had some difficulties at the border before, they didn't want to let some of the musicians pass with long hair, but after several hours of persistent waiting and with the involvement of the German embassy, this situation could be clarified. The concert in Tangier ended to stormy applause, the 1700 people refused to believe that the concert was already over and immediately got problems with the supervisory staff. But the next day's concert in an industrial hall in front of more than 2000 visitors in Casablanca was a complete increase of that. People were so taken by the sounds and rhythms of Embryo that they left their seats and danced around freely. Within a short time the whole hall resembled a witch's cauldron. Dr. Glunk from the Goethe-Institut had to quickly call the police, who then formed a ring around the stage so that the musicians could continue playing unhindered. The last concert in Morocco took place on April 21, again in a cinema hall in the capital Rabat in front of a very knowledgeable audience (about 1700 visitors). The Moroccan state radio station recorded the one-and-a-half hour concert, and here too, as everywhere else, there were enthusiastic reactions from the audience. Almost all Moroccan newspapers reported in large articles about the Embryo Tour, "Opinion" compared Embryo with Beethoven, Mozart, Bach and Stockhausen in a long essay. To get to the next gig, the band had to drive over dirt roads with huge potholes, or they were often just simple gravel roads. Fortunately, Embryo's electronic equipment survived the strain to some extent and after some minor repairs, the concert in Algiers could begin on April 28th. Here there was then a small scandal. The concert took place in a small music hall with about 300 seats. But more than 600 people showed up and were let in. The audience liked the music of Embryo so much that they got more and more into it, they started dancing. Some rolled on the floor. Some of them even fell over. The members of the embassy were so shocked by the behavior of the people, one can imagine that all this happens at a "cultural event" in the German embassy, so that they imposed a strict dance ban for the next day at the second concert. Otherwise they wanted to stop the whole thing. On the other day more than 1000 people showed up, and of course not all of them could be let in. Police were called in to block off the entrances after the hall was full. They told the audience to sit quietly on their chairs, otherwise Embryo would not play anymore, but nobody did. After only five minutes, Embryo had to stop the concert to avoid chaos. To uncover some backgrounds: In Algeria, in response to the French colonial period, the country is currently following a strict national course, remembering the Arab cultural past and suppressing everything that comes from Europe (including pop music). The behavior of the people in the embryo concerts was, of course, the exact opposite of this, and Dr. Becker of the Goethe-Institut feared that the institute could be closed down because of this incident. The last two concerts of the tour were then in Tunisia, on May 7 in Tunis (Maison de la Culture Ibn Rachiq), and on May 9 in Sfax (Cinema Principale) in front of about 1000 people per concert. Almost needless to say, Embryo was celebrated stormy by the audience, as almost everywhere on this tour. During conversations with members of the Goethe Institute, it turned out that full concert halls at Goethe Institute events are extremely rare. Normally attracting 100 concertgoers was considered a great success, and usually there were many embassy staff members sitting in the audience rows, who appeared out of pure politeness.

From: Unknown Source