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Van Der Graaf Generator - Live Broadcasts - Collector's Rarities CD (album) cover

LIVE BROADCASTS - COLLECTOR'S RARITIES

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

3.15 | 7 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Matti
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This is apparently a low-budget release with a poor design, unadded here until I borrowed it from my friend. I think it's 'official' enough. Sadly I haven't seen any other vintage VdGG video/DVD releases to evaluate the quality against them, but this 79-minute collection of broadcast footage 1970-1975 is nevertheless definitely worth seeing and captures this unique band in their prime. (Oops, I could have checked first if some of the contents have been released in other DVD's as sometimes is the case with low budget DVD's. The places of each performance - originally produced for TV, I suppose - were mentioned but I can't remember them now. I can edit the info page later.)

First comes two tracks from the second album Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other. Bassist Nic Potter is still in the group, Peter Hammill plays acoustic guitar with long black hair hiding half of his face. The stage is small and intimate, dimly lit, making the atmosphere gloomy and undergroundish. 'Whatever Would Rober Have Said?' and 'Darkness' are performed pretty faithfully to the album originals. No big complaints about either sonic or visual level.

The next phase dates from 1972, the group plays live in a studio (no audience around). 'Theme One', George Martin's composition for BBC, is performed by the trio of Hugh Banton on organ, David Jackson on saxophone and Guy Evans on drums - Hammill is not present. This powerful performance somehow very well shows the improvisational, dynamic essence of VdGG's music. Evans is such an animal with his crazy stares and a woollen cap! Then the camera moves slowly among dozens of candles in a line , and the first chords of 'Plague of the Lighthouse Keepers' sets shivers down your spine. Hammill sits at his electric piano. The whole epic is played with skill. Perhaps Hammill's voice is not at its best here, it sounds a bit pushy and tired.

The main body of this DVD serves the whole Godbluff album (1975) performed in Belgium. Again, if there is audience it is not seen or heard. There are no visual gimmicks or extra material, just the band playing. The DVD's technical quality is average. Knowing how powerful and emotionally strong the "real" VdGG concerts often were, these performances could be called rather safe and unsurprising. On the long run I may prefer to listen to the albums but, as I said, worth seeing at least once.

Matti | 3/5 |

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