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(Credit: Spoon Records)


Watch footage of Can's famed free concert in 1972


Despite their vast and unrelenting influence, Can is a band that can sometimes fly under the radar for those who aren’t quite as tuned in to the world of experimental rock from the 1970s. As a very short reminder, a selection of their more recognisable songs include ‘Oscura Primavera’, ‘Arrive’, and ‘Ching Chong Bing Bong’.

For those who want to keep up to date on their music history, this German band was formed in 1968 and was active on and off until 1999. Their work influenced much of the subsequent scenes of post-rock, ambient, electronic, and noise music. The members all came from backgrounds of avant-garde and jazz, contributing to the unique nature of their rolling style.

Plenty would agree with this notion, including those who flocked to the historic free concert that Can put together in 1972. They played a show at Sporthalle, Cologne, hosting it without an entrance fee so any and all fans could enjoy their music. 

Not only was this a sensational event at the time it was taking place, but it also arrived at a historic time for the band, as 1971 saw the release of their album Tago Mago, which many consider being their most influential work. It goes without saying that Can were decades ahead of their time, and this is one of the albums that solidifies that opinion. 

You can imagine the kind of hype that surrounded Can during this time, making it the perfect environment to host a historic show like this. And one of the best parts of this is the available footage from the concert that’s still around today. 

In a nearly hour-long video, you can experience the concert just like the people in attendance in Cologne were. Although the footage is not a crowd-perspective video, it actually does one much better. The video quality is dynamic and creative, flowing in and out of different captivating angles that flow with the music.

The concert itself is captivating, to the point that even if you don’t know their music well, watching it can get you into the groove and might motivate you to take another listen in the future. They’re definitely ahead of their time in terms of progressive rock music, and seeing them do their thing has its own kind of charm.

See the footage, below.