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Van Der Graaf Generator

Eclectic Prog

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Van Der Graaf Generator Live at the Paradiso 14:04:07 album cover
3.69 | 87 ratings | 4 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (52:53)
1. Lemmings (13:54)
2. A Place to Survive (6:54)
3. Lifetime (5:12)
4. (In the) Black Room (11:43)
5. Every Bloody Emperor (7:28)
6. All That Before (7:42)

CD 2 (55:43)
1. Gog (7:25)
2. Meurglys III, the Songwriter's Guild (15:55)
3. The Sleepwalkers (11:04)
4. Man-Erg (11:55)
5. Scorched Earth (9:24)

Total Time 108:36

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Hammill / vocals, guitar, pianos
- Hugh Banton / organ
- Guy Evans / drums

Releases information

Released by Voiceprint Music

Thanks to Kestrel for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Live at the Paradiso 14:04:07 ratings distribution

(87 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Live at the Paradiso 14:04:07 reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tarkus1980
4 stars This recording of a performance from pre-album touring for Trisector doesn't just show that the band would weather the loss of Jackson; it shows that, at this point, they were a vastly superior band without him. Lest someone accuse me of blasphemy, I'll emphasize the at this point in that sentence; it's impossible to imagine the 70s version of the band thriving and making a strong mark without Jackson's noisy woodwinds, especially given the relative lack of guitar on those albums. When the classic quartet reunited for Present and accompanying live performances (like the one on Real Time), though, they essentially became a touring museum piece, which wouldn't have been so problematic if Hammill's vocals didn't sound so out-of-place worn and old. When Jackson departed and the other three decided to carry on, this didn't just require them to find a new approach to take on any new studio material they might do; this required them to reinvent their performances of their classic material in a way that would still preserve their essence without exposing the potentially gaping void in the sound. This process of reinvention gives a spark and a life to these performances that I didn't expect coming in, and it helps make for a really enjoyable live album.

Instrumentally, the main trick of the band is for Hammill's guitar to take a more central role than before, with his parts sometimes mimicking Jackson's old woodwind parts, and sometimes providing a level of noisy chaos that matches the general chaos Jackson's parts had provided. In terms of vocals, Hammill doesn't actually sound any better in tone and approach here than he does on Real Time, but the key here is to fill the setlist with material that doesn't require the kind of delicacy that he couldn't really provide in upper registers anymore. The only quiet ballads of the set are "Lifetime" (from Trisector) and "Every Bloody Emperor," and they're low-key enough (except for some angry moments near the end of the latter) and in a low enough register that there aren't any problems to deal with. The rest of the album consists of the kind of noisy material that is only helped by Peter's yelps and growls and half-singing. Plus, forcing Peter into a lower register has a major positive effect on one track: "Gog," from Peter's In Camera album, always seemed a little awkwardly pompous to me with Peter singing in the angelic higher range of his youth, but in a lower voice, the opening line of, "Some men have me Satan, others have me God..." suddenly becomes menacing as hell, and his voice generally gives a heft that wasn't present in the original.

The album has a lot of good material, but the major highlights come from World Record. Both "Place to Survive" (10 minutes to 7 minutes) and "Meurglys III" (20+ minutes to 16) are slightly abbreviated from before, but the shortening isn't really noticable, and they both exemplify all of the best aspects of the "power trio" VDGG. Trust me, you won't miss the saxes; the guitars give a dirty and sloppy edge that had always been slightly present in the studio versions but now become one of the best parts of the songs.

Look, this isn't one of the very best live albums I've ever heard (whatever weaknesses were in the studio versions of these tracks don't suddenly disappear completely), but it's definitely one of the most shockingly revelatory live albums I've ever heard. One thing I always hope for from a live album is for a few sonic surprises (which this album definitely has) and a few renditions of tracks that will make a case for being my favorite rendition of that track (aside from these being my preferred versions of the two World Record tracks, this also has my favorite "Lemmings" and my favorite "Scorched Earth"). If you're a fan of the band and you're not a diehard Jackson fan who refuses to acknowledge anything from after he left, you absolutely must get this album. More than anything else from this era, it cements late-period VDGG as having one of the very best late-period stages of any significant prog rock band.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
3 stars 'Live at the Paradiso' is such a treasure with the VDGG band returning to the big stage and celebrating the return of the classic lineup with a CD and DVD. The DVD is the preferred choice here but this is still great to listen to without the visuals. It begins with the mesmirising 'Lemmings', sounding a bit strained but still a classic in all respects. Hammill seems to have the obligatory microphone issues being that this is the first song, as there are audio dropouts, though this is fixed for the rest of the concert. The guitar is rather odd, almost sounding out of tune but it is great to hear that organ of Hugh Banton, and the drumming of Guy Evans is powerful. The real star is Peter Hammill on vocals, guitar, and pianos; he is the piece of the VDGG puzzle that really must be present or it all falls apart. 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.

Having said all that there is still enough here and so well played to make this a worthy purchase. Songs such as '(In The) Black Room', 'Every Bloody Emperor' and 'Gog' are always going to be powerhouse performances, even if they are not as good as the studio versions. The unusual choice of 'World record' epic 'Meurglys III, The Songwriter's Guild' is very welcome as it is rarely heard live and unedited. The nest is yet to come at the end of the concert with the incredible 'The Sleepwalkers', 'Man-Erg' and 'Scorched Earth', all quintessential VDGG tracks in their own right. This is not as good a live album as 'Vital' or 'Real Life' but it is certainly a wonderful thing to hear them play these tracks all these years on and they still sound as creatively vital and innovatively fresh even in their golden years. The DVD is far superior and identical as far as audio so that is the better choice.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars This double CD set captures the band after they had reinvented themselves as a trio following on from the departure of David Jackson. The quartet had reformed in 2004 and recorded 'Present', yet after touring a decision was made to part company with Jackson and to instead work as a trio of Hugh Banton (organ), Guy Evans (drums) and Peter Hammill (vocals, guitar, piano). This CD captures them in their tenth show as a three-piece, having yet to release any new material, although they were trialling some music which would be recorded for 'Trisector' the following year. This meant the band had to reinvent their music, as apart from debut 'The Aerosol Grey Machine', they always had an additional melodic element either with woodwind or strings, but that was no longer the case. Part of this has been countered by Hammill becoming far more aggressive on guitar, and while they have replicated some parts normally played by Jackson, there are others where they have simply restructured the arrangements.

Opener "Lemmings" shows exactly what direction the band is going to take, while "A Place To Survive" is deliciously fractured and dynamic. Hammill, Banton and Evans started playing together in 1968, and more than 40 years later they were determined to prove that the latest iteration of VDGG were not only valid but were continuing to drive their legacy forward. There is plenty of emotion, both on stage and off, with the delicate piano introduction to "Man Erg" being one of the highlights of a tempestuous double CD set. The Paradiso is often used by progressive bands to record concerts as the crowd is always rapturous, and there is great sound quality to be had, and such is the case here. VDGG have continued as a trio to this day, having released four studio albums to date, yet at the beginning they were looking back into the classic catalogue and producing songs in a brand-new way. Essential for any fan of the band.

Latest members reviews

3 stars With the official release of their new studio album A Grounding Of Numbers just some hours away, I dug out this album from my purchased but not listened to mountain of albums on my desk. I have always and will always rate Van Der Graaf Generator among the five best prog bands this planet h ... (read more)

Report this review (#414136) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, March 10, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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