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Van Der Graaf Generator - Godbluff Live 1975 CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.14 | 105 ratings

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4 stars Finally, there goes a worthy video release of VDGG! It's interesting to see that two of their darkest, heaviest and least penetrable albums ("Godbluff" and "Pawn Hearts") are most reviewed and praised among the fans on ProgArchives. I was personally more inclined towards other albums of this unique group of freaks. Still, I owned a vinyl LP of "Godbluff" and liked it, but sincerely felt that it was an extremely challenging and too dark piece of music. I could live without it for a long time.

But, now how to not get this on DVD? The entire album is played live and it looks like it was actually a multi-part suite grande. Musical performance is perfect and you get a sense of being there in Charleroi. However, my objection goes to video footage itself: there are too many close-ups, especially on Jaxon and Hammill faces! Sometimes it is quite rewarding to look at Dave bowing ahead while stepping on the pedals, equipped with artillery of saxes, flutes, cables and amplifiers. But it is often done at the cost of stage mise en scene. You don't see much of the scenery, the stage itself and the instruments, only the faces are spotted. Banton is particularly under-represented and I barely caught a moment (the only one) when he played bass guitar in "Arrow"!

Bonus material brings a fine short performance of instrumental hit "Theme One" and the entire half of "Pawn Hearts", yes - "The Plague of Lighthouse Keepers", performed live for a Belgian TV. Excellent job! This suite is much more accessible when looked at, rathen than when only listened to it. No guitars whatsoever on this composition (Robert Fripp did add a few guitar licks on the studio version). Hammill with electric piano, Banton on Hammond and a synth, Evans drumming and Jaxon with his double-sax asortment deliver a wonderful reading of a heavy and extremely demanding composition, amongst the candle- lit studio room. A real treat is seeing Hammill bent over his piano where the "Pawn Hearts" black lyrics insert is leaned on the piano slot where usually the music notes are placed! Ha! Even the Author himself cannot remember what he had written while recording the album. Towards the ending notes, Peter raises a glass of wine (if it's not a cranberry juice, which I doubt). Cheers!

Seyo | 4/5 |


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