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IQ - Stage CD (album) cover

STAGE

IQ

 

Neo-Prog

4.43 | 88 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Hercules
5 stars This is a strange idea - 2 concerts off the same tour, with a largely similar setlist (the NEARFEST one has 4 extra tracks). However, whilst the NEARFEST one is almost clinically perfect with a slightly restrained approach in front of an very appreciative but docile audience, the German concert rather more energetic and animated with a far more vocal crowd.

However, if you want to hear the best band to emerge the last 30 years playing their best material to a standard no other current band can even get near, this DVD is the place to see it. Most of their classics are here - Leap of Faith, Widow's Peak, The Wake and the indescribably beautiful middle section of The Narrow Margin. The material comes from albums spanning their whole career, though Dark Matter is strongly featured, with Sacred Sound, Born Brilliant and Harvest of Souls on both sets. My only big regret is that they did not play You Never Will, my favourite track off that album.

Musically they are near perfection. Nicholl's voice is almost studio perfect and Mike Holmes plays brilliant solos and fills whilst still looking like a bank manager who has accidentally wandered on stage. Martin Orford is all over this performance; he is simply a genius even if he has practically no stage presence and actually sits down much of the time - his keyboards fill out and embellish beautifully the huge sound the band generates. New boy Andy Edwards fills in seamlessly for Paul Cook and John Jowett demonstrates why he has won the CRS best bassist award every year since about 1862, as well as providing the only real stage presence by visiting every part of the stage.

The camera work at NEARFEST is very safe, with the vast majority of shots being from the front, although there are some excellent sections where the musicians are shown shot individually but superimposed alongside each other. The German concert is much more adventurous in this respect with far more close ups, though I'm not sure I really want to see the hairs up Peter Nicholl's nose!

In summary, this has to be the best live DVD I've ever seen. Never mind the duplication; if there had only been one performance, the quality of the NEARFEST recording is so outstanding it would be well worth the cost alone. I have absolutely no hesitation in giving it the highest rating. If you don't have this, your collection simply isn't complete.

And finally, IQ are classic symphonic prog; when are we going to consign the ridiculous concept of neo-prog to the scrapheap, where it belongs?

Hercules | 5/5 |

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