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Van Der Graaf Generator

Eclectic Prog

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Van Der Graaf Generator Maida Vale album cover
4.10 | 146 ratings | 8 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 1994

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Darkness (7:17)
2. Man-Erg (11:00)
3. Scorched Earth (9:40)
4. Sleepwalkers (8:58)
5. Still Life (7:20)
6. La Rossa (10:00)
7. When She Comes (8:08)
8. Masks (7:22)

Total Time 69:45

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Hammill / vocals, guitars, keyboards
- Hugh Banton / organ, bass pedals, guitar
- David Jackson / saxophones, flutes
- Guy Evans / drums

Releases information

Written by: Peter Hammill (1-8), David Jackson (3)

The Radio One Sessions:
Tracks 1 and 2 recorded for "Sounds Of The Seventies" (10/6/71)
Tracks 3 and 4 recorded for "The John Peel Show" (3/7/75)
Tracks 5 and 6 recorded for "The John Peel Show" (1/4/76)
Tracks 7 and 8 recorded for "The John Peel Show" (11/11/76)

CD Band Of Joy - BOJCD008 (UK, 1994)
Several CD reissues

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Prog Network & NotAProghead for the last updates
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VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Maida Vale ratings distribution

(146 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(53%)
Good, but non-essential (10%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Actually very few live recordings of VDGG exists because on the group's own admittance , they were horrible on 40% of their gigs and bearble on 30% of the others. This left only 30% of the gigs were they could've recorded (given that they knew in advance they would smoke and that conditions allowed the recording) and this explains that the only real live album was Vital under the VDG monicker. So are we thankfull that the Beeb existed. While not really live recordings per se , the sessions made that they played together some of those real classic tracks . Unfortunately most of the tracks are from the second era (I said unfortunately but I like that one better than the first) so the early stuff is not well represented here as well. I think the material from Pawnheart or The Least is most interesting to hear live.

Nevertheless we have some kind of live recordings and it should please all unconditional fans.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars Very few live performances of VDGG were officially released. One of the reason has been already mentioned on this site (thanks Hughes) : the band was not a too great live performer. I saw them live at the Cirque Royal in Brussels in 76 but I only have a vague souvenir about it.

"Maida Vaile" consists of songs from different eras : the origin with "Darkness" and "Man-Erg" and then the Mark II period with songs from "Godbluff", "Still Life" and "World Record". What is really interesting with this album is the overall quality of the recording, and this is sufficiently important to mention.

Forget about the disgusting renditions from "Vital" and jump happily into this one. This is by far the best official VDGG live release (in terms of boots, you should try and get hold of their 2005 reunion concerts from either London or Milan). This effort also sounds more as a studio live effort (no audience participation at all).

The highlight is "Still Life" : even if Peter is not the greatest singer of the prog rock history, his rendition here is truly emotional and deserves the deepest consideration. Another one is "La Rossa" : although it is not one of my preferred song from the band, this live performance is really great.

If you should consider to buy only one live album from Van Der Graaf, this is the one and only (even if "When She Comes" and "Masks" are a bit weaker - they should have put "The Undercover Man" and "Pilgrims" instead).

Four stars.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a fantastic live album with a rare performance of Van Der Graaf Generator live and in fine form. It sounds very different than Vital that had a booming bass. This concert was clearer recorded with good equipment from the BBC and the set list is terrific classic VDGG.

'Darkness' is the perfect opening, an incredible eerie track with Jackson brilliant on sax, followed by quintessential 'Man-Erg' from "Pawn Hearts" and dark and brooding 'Scorched Earth' from "Godbluff". All three are killer classics and never bettered live. The version of 'Sleepwalkers' is a 10 minute zombie outbreak of prog with epic proportions. 'Still Life' may be the best live version available, so powerfully moving and Hammill convicting and emotional. 'La Rossa' is a colossal beast of 10 minutes with pounding drums and killer guitar. Hammill's piano cries in agony and this is a definitive highlight with a tour de force of Evans and Banton's rhythms. 'When She Comes' is a strange choice but still good to hear and we end with a wonderful version of 'Masks'. I would have preferred 'Killer', 'Pioneers Over C' or 'Arrow' but it was interesting to hear these live versions.

The Maida Vale BBC Radio One Sessions is a must for Hammill and VDGG fanatics that never fails to please and is of the highest quality. The crowd are low key, and it is more like a Radio session than a concert. And it is all the more enjoyable as a result. Hammill, Evans, Banton and Jackson are a force to be reckoned with and here they are captured in all their glory at the peak of their powers.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I have always been a fan of Session Albums like this one, they offer a very unique look at what a band was really like in their prime. This collection of VDGG recorded at the BBC with the classic line-up offers in my opinion the definitive experience of Van Der Graaf Generator at their peek of pe ... (read more)

Report this review (#395450) | Posted by topographicbroadways | Sunday, February 6, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars BBC tends to deliver good prog rock live albums. The CARAVAN live recordings through BBC is excellent. BBC has given VDGG the same treatment. Which has enhanced VDGG's discography and reputation in my view. The album opens with a haunting version of Darkness. Classics like Man-Erg, Scorched ... (read more)

Report this review (#219536) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Tuesday, June 2, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Work announced in 1994 "Maida Vale(The BBC Radio One Sessions)". Live album that collected sound source of live in BBC studio spent between 1971 and 1976. All tunes collected to this album are collected to the original album. This album might be the highest in a live sound source of VAN DER GR ... (read more)

Report this review (#47245) | Posted by braindamage | Monday, September 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is the closest thing we can get to a live VDGG album by the classic line-up of Hammill, Banton, Jackson, Evans (OK, there are live tracks at "The Box", but a box-set does not count as a live album - except King Crimson's "The Great Deceiver". In fact, as the songs here were culled from BB ... (read more)

Report this review (#43638) | Posted by M. B. Zapelini | Sunday, August 21, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars On lead-off track 'Darkness' it sounds like the dangerous-to-know Pawn Hearts-era group were going out of their way to first chill then outright terrify the listener; it certainly puts goosebumps on me. Many of their contemporaries impressed; these guys could also intimidate and this is I thin ... (read more)

Report this review (#8075) | Posted by playitstrange | Tuesday, August 10, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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