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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A Remarkable Live Performance!

This live recording was performed at Stadthalle Kleve Germany: June 12 1993. There are three reasons why this album deserves five stars:

(1). This was a showcase concert timed to coincide with the release of their 1993 album "Ever". I consider this was a brave decision made by the band to play the songs that the crowd was not familiar with the new album. Of course, the concert itself did not only contain the new materials but still, the existence of non familiar songs played that night exposed the band to a certain risk level.

(2). The band performed their best performance for some of their best tracks (there were still many other best tracks of the band that did not make up into the live set) stemming from their old as well as new albums. The track selection from the old albums is really good. All tracks from old albums were performed better than the studio versions while the new ones from "Ever" were performed at par excellent with the studio version. Remember, this live record was released three years after the showtime; so by the time I got this album I had had been familiar with the band's "Ever" album. There were four (4) out of six (6) tracks from new album performed that night. Reading through its sleeve, I respect the band's honest statement to drop "Further Away" from the live set to relieve tension that grew an hour before the stage curtain was lifted up.

(3). Typically in any live album we tolerate poor quality production especially in the sonic quality of the CD. It doesn't apply here because this album produces excellent sound quality with wider dynamic range as compared to studio versions. Even, I'd better enjoying this CD than the original studio album CD. I can enjoy and appreciate this live set fully if I turn my power amps volume really LOUD!


The album starts off with a soft and ambient keyboard sound combined with people's crowd followed with a dazzling intro of groundbreaking track "The Wake" in a very energetic way. Wow! What a dynamic music man ..!!! This track was my first favorite from the band. I like its rocky style and creaming vocal by Nicholls. Paul Cook's drums are much better here than its original version as he puts more dynamic drumming especially during transitions. It then flows to the second track "The Darkest Hour" from new album with a hard driving rhythm and pounding bass lines augmented with keyboards. This rocking track with heavy 70s prog touch is performed excellently by the band. The band continues its showcase with another fine track from The Wake album "Widow's Peak". This track reminds me to early Genesis especially its melodic opening part where the guitar fills accompanied with ambient keyboard. When the music plays in full involving all instruments, oh man . what a great treat: dazzling drums followed with inventive keyboard by Orford featuring pondering voval line. Excellent!

Next track "Out Of Nowhere" from new album is another upbeat track with energy combining the work of drums, bass and keyboard nicely in sort of staccato style music. "Nostalgia / Falling Apart The Seams" is another wonderful track from "Are You Sitting Comfortably?" album. It starts off with catchy keyboard sound followed with relatively faster tempo, high energy and uplifting mood music. Yes, it's another favorite of mine. The composition is great: stunning keyboard, solid bass line and energetic singing style. The band continues its journey with a section from their debut album "Tales from The Lush Attic", ie. "The Last Human Gateway (middle Section)". CD One concludes with a relatively slow track "Fading Senses" from the new album. Wow! A very nice track performed flawlessly by the band. So many catchy melodies here.

CD Two starts with The Wake's "The Thousand Days" continued with another great track from the new album "Leap Of Faith". Again, this is another treat as this melodic track was performed wonderfully, flawlessly! What I did not expect but in fact was performed in the live set was "Human Nature" that originally was sung by Menel (the previous vocalist) from "Nomzamo" album. Again, I'm amazed with this performance. The song itself is great: it has a great variation and changing tempo with many catchy segments.

Next is from the band's debut album which was performed excellently by the band: "The Enemy Smacks". This track has become classic to me as this was released early 80s. Beautifully composed track reminiscent of early Genesis. The fifth track is truly a KILLING track because it has a very VERY melodic lyrical part and wonderfully crafted composition. It's called "Headlong " from The Wake album. It opens with great singing overlaid on soft keyboard work. Oh man . I LOVE this track!

The band concluded the show with another section (non acoustic part this time) of an epic from their debut album: "The Last Human Gateway" (end Section) and again another track from "Nomzamo" album where Nichols did not contribute in studio version as he left the band at the time : "No Love Lost". This track was an opening one for Nomzamo. Excellent.


You do NOT have to be an IQ die hard fan to enjoy this album as the music is so powerful with a lot of catchy segments, recorded live with superb sonic quality - even the dynamic range is quite wide, I sense it. If you like early days symphonic prog but in a little bit simpler form, this album fits you. You may enjoy buzzing and howling guitar of Mike Holmes, punchy keyboard of Martin Oford, solid bass lines by John Jowitt and dynamic drumming (better than any studio version) by Paul Cook. In fact, the mixing of this live album seems like to favor drums as the sounds are very clear and firm throughout this record. Unfortunately by the time I write this review, Paul Cook intends to leave the band. Peter Nichols also performs excellent job in this album. For me personally, this album has been in my CD shelf for nearly nine years but I still find it very enjoyable to start my day with this CD. Great live music! Keep on proggin' ..!!!

Progressively yours,



This review is dedicated to all IQ fans all over the world, basically those who subscribe into "It All Post Here" and those who do not. In specific, I want to dedicate to my prog mates in my country that really love IQ with their heart: Rachmat Hery (Keli) - thanks for the forwarded info on IQ, Tatan A Taufik - hey, there are many "The Wake" tracks in this live set!, Oga Zano - When you come back to London, don't forget to attend IQ's next gig man! Get them shot with your digital camera!, Herman Schulz - are you still "in trance" with Dark Matter?, Imam S - who was amazed with the beauty of IQ music, and last but not least, the man who always inspire me, the neo man .Bowo!

Report this review (#3770)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Live Album, recorded in occasion of pubblication of Ever. From the report in the booklet of the CD, the five members of the band, tell about how the show was programmed, and all the problems which came out until the very first song at the beginning of the show, when all the uncertainties disappeared, in order for the band to perform one of their best live shows. Personally I give 3 starts (actually it should be 3 and a half) just because some songs which I like very much, were left out of the recording, and frankly it is a pity the epic The Last Human Gateway, was only played split (as it happens unfortunately very often) and not completely, how it would have been appropriate, in this live album. On the other hand, we can appreciate a fantastic version of The Enemy Smacks, which alone worths the buying of this CD!
Report this review (#42469)
Posted Thursday, August 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars IQ Test in the Darkest Hour ...

This concert from 1993 offers a very good presentation of the band and the sound quality is excellent. The two discs are ensuring a solid overview. They consist of many important tracks from the albums IQ had released up to this year. The unique point of the band is the very individual voice from Pete Nicholls. John Jowitt plays his bass with the necessary pressure and the keyboards are very retro.

The gig starts with some ambient soundscapes and then we are gliding into the first classic IQ song after a minute. For some moments you can hear how enthusiastic the crowd is. Remarkable for CD 1 is the song Out of Nowhere from the former release 'Ever' with Nicholls back in the line-up. This track differs from the others with an interesting staccato rhythm. The highlight is Fading Senses - a wonderful ballad. Nostalgia is decreasing on the other hand.

Second CD contains some of my favourite songs - for example Leap of Faith with very impressive guitar playing by Mike Holmes. And of course the complex long track The Enemy Smacks - excellently performed. No love lost from their disappointing commercial orientated album 'Nomzamo' is quite good but not exciting.

The only weak point for me is that studio and live versions are not barely differing as far as I can hear. Some songs are even played shorter. And that's what I'm not exactly expecting from a live concert. Never mind - in any case this release is an excellent introduction to IQ!

Report this review (#81165)
Posted Wednesday, June 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After Paul Menel's two album run with IQ following Peter Nicholls first exit from IQ, fans were unsure and misguided about what the future would hold for Mike Holmes, Paul Cook, and Martin Orford. Fortunately, in the early 90s Peter Nicholls returned to the fold as vocalist/lyricist and John Jowitt would be enlisted as the new bassist of the group. These additions to the group would make up the IQ lineup until Paul Cook left in 2005 and was replaced by Andy Edwards. Anyway, their first album, Ever, would prove to be one of the strongest IQ albums released yet, and this live release coincided with the release of that studio album and was intended to be the band's definitive live recording. The result is a highly polished and a highly produced live album that in spots seems too much like a studio album as everything about the live atmosphere seems to be missing. I will mention, though, that the playing on this album is fantastic, and it's amazing to read in the liner notes that they didn't perform well at all during the soundcheck. I can't even find a single mistake in all the playing. Still, this live collection has some classic IQ songs as well as ripping renditions of the stellar Ever material.

Split into two discs, the first opens with the title track to their second album The Wake. It's a pretty slick sounding version (without the dated synths that plagued IQ's early albums, although they were good). I won't go about talking about every track, just those that deserve mentioning. The Ever material (which at the time was brand new to the crowd) is played pretty well, with the group carrying on through even the most complicated tracks (The Darkest Hour for one), and the music is actually very close to the studio counterparts (it's amazing how crisp and vibrant they sound, almost too good for a live album). An interesting choice for inclusion were two songs from Are You Sitting Comfortably (one of the two albums to not have Nicholls at the helm vocally) played in a continuous format (as the tracks were side by side on the original album). Anyway, with Peter Nicholls on vocals (I've heard these two songs before with Menel on vocals) is an interesting thing to listen to and for the most part he completely takes everything Menel did and kicks it up a notch. Other tracks worth mentioning are the superlative epic of The Last Human Gateway (albeit it's abridged and only the middle section is played, and the ending sections gets played at the end of the show). The first disc ends with the song Fading Senses from Ever.

The second disc opens with the song The Thousand Days from The Wake, and then goes straight into Leap of Faith (which is one of the best songs on Ever). On top of the two songs played from Are You Sitting Comfortably?, there are two songs from Nonzamo from here as well, the first being the epic of the album Human Nature. For the most part it's a pretty decent song, with some melodic playing from the group and Nicholls vocals which are pretty good, if not on par with the rest of the set. The next track played is the best song on this live collection, the epic The Enemy Smacks (from their debut album, Tales from the Lush Attic). The musicianship, the vocals, the theatrics (as far as I know, Nicholls actually does some theatrics a la Peter Gabriel), everything about the song is perfect and in the live context it's just as great. The rest of the set is pretty good, with a great rendition of the ending of The Last Human Gateway finishing off the main set, and the encore being No Love Lost, which was the first song on Nonzamo. Essentially, the set list was perfect except I would have loved to have seen The Last Human Gateway played in full rather than in segments.

Overall, IQ's Forever Live is a fantastic live album that feels more like a studio recording than a live recording as there is little live ambiance and feeling, which is really why I can't give this album full marks, as well as the fact that there were a few songs that would have been great on this record (like Through the Corridors or Awake and Nervous from Tales from the Lush Attic, and definitely The Last Human Gateway in full). But other than that, I can't really complain about this live album. It's one of the better neo prog live albums I've heard, although not a masterpiece. Highly recommended for fans of IQ and fans of live albums. 4/5.

Report this review (#86114)
Posted Monday, August 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars IQ was rather discreet in terms of records those days. Three years since they have released their last studio album "Ever", the come-back one for Peter Nicholls. So, what do you do when you have no new material ? A live one, right ?

At least, we can't say that IQ will reject their Menel days (which were not the best ones IMO). Four songs out of these two albums will be played.

From "Nomzamo", the long "Human Nature" (one of the very few average song of this album). I have to admit that I prefer this live version : a bit more dynamic and above all, more dramatic. "No Love Lost" was definitely one of the poorest with its AOR oriented style. It is still the weakest number of this double live set.

From "Are You ...?" two songs as well, presented in a medley. The choice from this album is definitely better. "Nostalgia" and "Falling Apart at the Seams" were amongst the best ones ("Wurensh" being my fave one).

I really believe that they should have skipped completely "Nomzamo" from their setlist. These songs really do not belong to their good repertoire and since Nicholls was not in charge, I guess every would have understood.

On the contrary, the inclusion of "Wurensh" might have been a good idea since the only live version available is to be found on "J'ai Pollette D'arnu" (with Menel) and sounds terrible. But we'll never know how it will sound like with Peter on the vocals (even if it is featured on the album "La Maroquinerie" but this one is really difficult to grab).

Now, what do we get from the Nicholls days ?

Almost two songs from their debut album : "The Enemy Smacks", the second longest piece (being slightly extended here to clock at almost sixteen minutes). It was not my fave of the album. Too long and repetive even in its initial format; so I'm afraid that this feeling can only be increased in this live version. Still, far much better than the "Nomzamo" ones of course.

But what did they do with one of their greatest songs ? Cut it into two pieces and record only two-third of this great musical moment! It is pretty weird since there was a full version of this marvelous song available on their studio live album "Nine a Pond Is Here" (again with Menel on the vocals), so it would have been a good idea to play it for the Nicholls come back.

But nothing as such. Fans will have to wait for their twenty anniversary tour to get it played life in its entirety. I was even lucky to see it be played in in its full lenght in 2005 as well as the whole of "Harvest of Souls". All this during the same concert ! My best of two IQ concerts, of course. Almost three hours of music !

Still, these two portions of a song remain one of my fave moments on this work.

The four numbers from "The Wake" are really good ones (except "The Thousand Days"). The title track is very catchy and "Widow's Peak" is probably one of their all- time best while "Headlong" is one of their most emotional song. Peter is especially brilliant in bringing you emotions. He is a very pleasant guy while on stage, always caring for the audience : he even speaks some French while in France / Belgium (you know like the other Peter started to do in the seventies...).

This tour was set up to promote their last studio effort "Ever". I have expressed my thoughts about it in my according review. It was a bit of a disappointment for me, but fortunately they will pick up the best songs from it of which "Leap Of Faith" and its sad and melancholic side always pleases me. My favourite song "The Darkest Hour" is also featured, which can only make me happy as well of course. This live rendition is slightly shorter than the original, although IQ sounds pretty similar on stage and in the studio.

The rocking mood of "Out Of Nowhere" is very welcome. It is a bit of a change; while when listening to "Fading Senses" is another very emotional song. A bit too much of a sad feeling (up till the "Big Ben" sounds when the rhythm catches up a bit).

This album is globally a good one, but when you listen to it all in a row, a feeling of monotony prevails. Too much similar, too uniform. That's why I think it would have been better to have released a single CD one.

When you look at its lenght, if they would skipped the very avearage numbers I have been referring to, the one CD format would have been sufficient and the album would have been much appealing. As such, I will rate it with three stars and I do believe you need to be an IQ fan to fully get into this one.

If you should only pick up one IQ live effort, I would suggest either their twentieth anniversary one (for the emotion linked to the event) or their "Dark Matter" tour one (although it does not feature the whole of "Human Gateway" while they played it at "Spirit Of 66". Ooouh, what a lucky man, I was).

Report this review (#123652)
Posted Monday, May 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars When it comes to neo-prog I tend like the live albums better than the studio albums. This case is certainly true for bands like The Flower Kings, who did their best work on stage. However, with IQ, it's different. Here, as I listen to this album, I just yearn for the intricacies displayed on the studios that are a little absent from their live performances. I am not saying that this double length live album is bad, it's just comes off a little weaker to me than their studio albums. For this reason alone, I'd stick with Ever, or The Wake. With these two albums you will have better versions of the songs, the way the were meant to sound.
Report this review (#170756)
Posted Monday, May 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars As it says in the liner notes "IQ would play a showcase concert timed to coincide with the release of their 1993 album "Ever". The whole show would be filmed and recorded with the resulting product being released as the band's definitive live recording". They performed it at a venue called "The Stadthalle" in Kleve, Germany. All of their five previous albums including of course the new one "Ever" were represented on this double album. Some really good information and pictures in the liner notes as well, including thoughts from all 5 band members. The prevailing theme seemed to be on how badly the soundcheck went, but when they decided not to play "Further Away" from the new album "Ever" (a song they especially had trouble playing live) they all felt more relaxed. They proceeded to go out and play one hell of a concert. I'm so impressed with this recording and certainly would highly recommend it to anyone looking to hear IQ live and at their best.

The first disc is especially great. They open with the title track from "The Wake" and win the crowd over very quickly. Actually I don't think they had to win them over. John Jowitt relates how after the concert he and Peter decided to go over to the crowd to say thankyou, and as they're shaking hands they both got pulled in. Haha. "The Darkest Hour" from "Ever" might be the best track on here. It's so emotional when Peter starts to sing before 1 1/2 minutes. I just love this song. Some nice solid and crisp drumming in this one. Waves of synths from Orford after 5 1/2 minutes as the crowd cheers. It kicks back in. Great section. "Widow's Peak" from "The Wake" just blows me away. Paul Cook is all over this one 1 1/2 minutes in, vocals follow. How good is this ! Love when it gets darker after 2 1/2 minutes. It slows down 4 1/2 minutes in. Cool atmosphere here. Very uplifting after 8 minutes. Possibly the best track on here. Haha. "Out Of Nowhere" is an uptempo track from "Ever".This is a bright and fun track. "Nostalgia / Falling Apart At the Seams" are from "Are You Sitting Comfortably ?". From 3 1/2 minutes on it's so impressive. Check out the fat bass lines from Jowitt.Tasteful guitar before 6 1/2 minutes that I really like. "The Last Human Gateway" is from "Tales From The Lush Attic". Just a beautiful intro with reserved vocals. It's so moving when the sound gets fuller after 2 1/2 minutes. Guitar solo follows. Nice. "Fading Senses" is from "Ever" and it too opens with gorgeous sounds and reserved vocals. Touching. It gets pretty heavy later on. Great contrast. Fantastic tune.

Disc two starts with "The Thousand Days" a classic IQ track from "The Wake". Nice bass and the vocals shine as usual. The crowds into it that's for sure. Great tune. "Leap Of Faith" is from "Ever" and it opens with piano and synths. Vocals then a full sound follows. A spacey calm before 2 minutes. It kicks back in before 3 1/2 minutes. Fantastic sound after 6 minutes, check out Holmes' guitar solo as drums pound. "The Enemy Smacks" is from "Tales from The Lush Attic" and really impresses me with the way it opens. I'll just touch on "The Last Human Getaway" another highlight for me.This is from "Tales From The Lush Attic" as well. Lots of spacey synths before it kicks in at 2 1/2 minutes. Blistering guitar to end this incredible IQ track.

This is one of those recordings where you can tell the audience and the band are just having too much fun for their own good. Haha. Highly enjoyable.

Report this review (#204725)
Posted Saturday, February 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars High IQ!

This live album was recorded on the tour in support of the Ever album in the early 90's and offers a very nice cross-selection of material from IQ's first five studio albums. I would say that, at the time of its release in 1996, this live album was the ultimate IQ release and it remains today a very good introduction to the band's first decade as an album releasing unit (1983 to 1993). It brings together such classic IQ numbers as The Wake, Widow's Peak and The Last Human Gateway from the early days of the band's career with newer (at the time) songs primarily from Ever. The two albums they did with Paul Mendel on lead vocals are represented with the ten minute plus Nostalgia/Falling Apart At The Seams from Are You Sitting Comfortably? and Human Nature and the show closer No Love Lost from Nomzamo. All of the songs sound better here than on their respective studio albums. This is especially true of the oldest songs since those early 80's IQ albums were badly produced and sounded quite horrible even by early 80's standards. This live recording, on the other hand, has a very good sound.

The Last Human Gateway is wisely somewhat edited and split up into two separate parts played at different places in the set which is indeed a great idea as I have always considered the original version to be too long and lacking in focus. This is something I think is true of many of the longer compositions by IQ. And it is the longer tracks, like Human Nature and The Enemy Smacks, that are the weakest on Forever Live. There is a good case for saying that the first disc of this two CD set is superior to the second disc. Indeed, from the second disc, only a few tracks like Leap Of Faith and No Love Lost are up to par with the standards set by the first disc.

Still, this is one of IQ's better releases and even if I prefer the more recent live DVD Stage, Forever Live is different enough to be worthwhile on its own merits. If all you know from IQ is from the new millennium, then this double live album might be a good introduction for you to the earlier works of the band.

Report this review (#238164)
Posted Tuesday, September 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Recorded as IQ celebrated the release of the triumphant Ever, this double live set provides a well-chosen range of tracks from the band's first decade of activity - including the cream of the crop from the two Paul Menel-led albums - but suffers a little from an occasionally flat sound quality, at least early on.

Things pick up as the set progresses, and if you're an IQ fan who fancies an Ever-era live set or is burning with curiosity to hear Peter Nicholls sing a few songs from Nomzamo and Are You Sitting Comfortably it's a good pick; I just don't quite rate the versions here above the studio versions of the tracks in question, aside from the Menel-era stuff, which sounds much better liberated from the plastic, poppy production those albums suffered from and sit surprisingly well next to the more "classic-style" IQ tracks.

I'd even go so far to say that the Menel-era tracks are the real standout surprise of this set, particularly since many fans probably expected IQ to leave those tracks behind once Nicholls returned to the fold. Certainly, they were a surprise to Paul himself - apparently he got in touch with the band after the set's release angrily asking why he wasn't consulted, because he hadn't heard that the band had reunited with Peter and assumed that it was a live set from his years with the band!

Report this review (#612798)
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 | Review Permalink

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