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IQ - Living Proof CD (album) cover





3.09 | 93 ratings

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4 stars In the mid-1980s, just as Peter Nicholls was preparing for his stint away from the band, he was persuaded to stick around just long enough to produce the Live From London concert video at the Camden Palace Theatre. Living Proof was an initially unauthorised release - it's simply the soundtrack to that concert video, put out by IQ's old label after they broke from their former management.

IQ were unhappy with this for several reasons - Martin Orford's keyboard settings were apparently faulty (certainly they seem more aggressive and punchy than usual), and Peter had to struggle with a collapsing mic stand. (Indeed, there's a few points here where his vocals get entirely lost, presumably as a result of that.) In addition, the setlist wasn't really representative of IQ's performances at the time - neither of the major epics from Tales From the Lush Attic (The Last Human Gateway and The Enemy Smacks) because the video's producer vetoed them, forcing the band to reconfigure the set to account for their usual centrepieces being taken off the menu.

To cap it all off, the crowd in the video don't seem all that enthusiastic, presumably because they'd been pulled off the street to come see a free show (it wasn't an advertised concert); had it consisted of actual IQ fans, maybe they'd have been more keen. For these reasons, IQ felt that their performance on the day had been subpar and were deeply annoyed at the label for putting out this live album - according to their old mailing list FAQ it was only lack of funds on their part which stopped them suing over it.

However, come 1992 the band would be establishing their own label, Giant Electric Pea, and they seem to have come around on the release. Love it or hate it, the album represents perhaps the finest-sounding live material we have from the pre-Paul Menel era of the band, and so they repackaged, remastered, and reissued it for the enjoyment of fans. This tidied-up edition of the release is, despite the band's original misgivings, a real treat - yes, there's imperfections here and there, but the emphasis on material from The Wake (pretty much that entire album is represented here except for Headlong) plus some aptly-chosen other numbers (Awake and Nervous from Tales From the Lush Attic, Just Changing Hands - as commonly heard as a Lush Attic bonus track these days, and It All Stops Here, one of the best tracks fromSeven Stories Into Eight) results in a set list which gives the listener a decent-enough overview of IQ as they existed in their pre-Paul Menel incarnation.

Warthur | 4/5 |


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