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Van Der Graaf Generator - Live at the Paradiso CD (album) cover

LIVE AT THE PARADISO

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

4.01 | 59 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Reduced to a trio, the Generator rose to the occasion and pulled one of their very best albums, despite the essential sonic landmark of Jaxon's sax. With such a brilliant album under their belt, it made sense to tour, but how would their older material fare. One of the solutions would've been to feature a lot of the new album, but you can't say that they pulled such a stunt either since only three tracks appear on the set list of Amsterdam's concert, although I seem to remember one more from their Verviers concert in Eastern Belgium. It's a bit shocking to see from up close the trio's headgear, two members sporting totally grey or white hairs and the third shaving whatever's left on his helmet, but our heroes are well into their 60's.

Opening on the classic Lemmings, Hammill & Co seem to warm up and play a bit as if going through the motions in Place To Survive, but by the end of the latter, the group and the new number Lifetime is the real kick-start. In the Verviers show I saw, it was Still Life that really got things together and the crowd went nuts, but in this case, we'll have to wait until In The Black Room, once Peter sat down behind his clunky electric piano, and adds another dimension which is directly transmitted to the usually superb Bloody Emperor (from the preceding Present album), but here a bit rushed in its first half. After a blazing All That Before,, the trio has the crowd definitely won over (as if the crowd or the band had a choice), but the amazing Gog has also something to do with that. It is a bit sad that we had to wait this long to see Banton's pedal bass play, though. Jaxon's sax (or the absence of) is not a big issue with me, even though some numbers survive it better than others. Always a crowd pleaser, Meurglys was also a bit long, even fit was always so, but the group is on top of the world and can do no wrong, so it chooses Sleepwalkers, the rest of the set list being an obvious triumph

For some reasons, the present DVD about the Paradisio show is definitely not leaving me with the same glorious after-taste of the show I saw a few days (two weeks I believe) later, part of it, probably lying in a different track list, but also Banton's incredible Verviers performance, especially seeing him almost dancing on his bench from his bass pedal play. Recommended to all fans, although I guess some will inevitably have a thought for Jaxon's sax.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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