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


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

3.98 | 54 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars The DVD of VDGG's 'Live at the Paradiso' has the identical audio as the CD but with the visuals this is the full package and as close as some may get to the real concert experience. As such this is irresistible for the VDGG addict. The visuals are certainly crisp and have excellent camera angles zooming into the face of Hammill or focussing on the extraordinary percussion work of Guy Evans. There are only three members to target so there are a lot of shots of Hugh Banton, a wizard on keyboards. Of course the main focus is on Peter Hammill, decked out in white and sporting a flock of white hair. He looks aged but still has enough power in his vocals to scare off the average unprepared music listener. The crowd are very reserved, listening intenlt and patiently as the band belt out one tune after another.

It begins with the mesmirising 'Lemmings', sounding a bit strained but still a classic in all respects. The absence of sax legend David Jackson is infuriating as he is one of the main drawcards and he is missed on several songs where the organ attempts to replace him to no avail. This would have been the perfect package if he had made an appearance. He returned of course on 'Present' but that was in 2005, whereas this concert was a 2009 performance, so he disappeared after such a great return, unfortunately. Hammill has a turn at some quiet reflective ballads such as on 'Trisecotr''s 'Lifetime', but mostly these tracks are quite raucous, and his voice holds out well. He does not do too much talking apart from the occasional 'thankyou very much' and some humorous banter spoken off the cuff.

Highlights include the jumpy intricate '(In The) Black Room', wondrous killer track 'Every Bloody Emperor' and the existentialist 'Gog', that are always going to be powerhouse performances. The unusual choice of 'World Record' epic 'Meurglys III, The Songwriter's Guild' is very welcome as it is rarely heard live and unedited at about 23 minutes in length. The other 'World Record' song is the 7 minute version of 'Place To Survive', better than the original. The best is yet to come at the end of the concert with the incredible 'The Sleepwalkers', 'Man-Erg' and 'Scorched Earth', massive crowd pleasers that have them on their feet in excitement, hearing these classics after so many years of playing them on vinyl.

This is one of the best live DVDS of the band in terms of visual quality, showing a whole concert rather than just snippets. It is certainly a wonderful thing to watch them play together after all these years, and they still sound as creatively vital and innovatively fresh even in their golden years. The DVD is the superior product rather than the CD as I think they need to be seen in all their glory, not just heard on the live stage.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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