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IQ Living Proof album cover
3.09 | 96 ratings | 9 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Live, released in 1986

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Awake And Nervous (7:21)
2. Outer Limits (7:37)
3. It All Stops Here (6:59)
4. Just Changing Hands (5:23)
5. The Wake (3:46)
6. The Magic Roundabout (7:37)
7. Widow's Peak (8:47)
8. The Thousand Days (3:47)
9. Corners (5:07)

Total Time: 56:24

Line-up / Musicians

- Paul Cook / drums
- Tim Esau / bass
- Mike Holmes / guitars
- Peter Nicholls / vocals
- Martin Orford / keyboards, vocals

Releases information

LP Samurai Records SAMR 045 (1986) France

CD Samurai Records SAMR CD 045 (1986) France
CD Giant Electric Pea GEPCD 1004 (1992) UK

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Grendelbox for the last updates
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IQ Living Proof ratings distribution

(96 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
Good, but non-essential (44%)
Collectors/fans only (16%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

IQ Living Proof reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
1 stars As I have nothing nice to say....... I would normally say it Diplomatically if I can . But I know most IQheads are very susceptible , but here , this album is among the worst of this site and even them will have a hard time denying it . Mmmmmmm..... Well not from reading other reviews on this album or the ones from that same early period. For fans only and even then......
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is the live version of "The Wake" album, WOW! I like it! If you refer to my review of "The Wake" album, the lack of ambience problem is quite well solved here:

The drums are really louder and more punchy, even having a pleasant permanent echo! The electric guitar is clean, highly pitched, and no doubt Mike Holmes plays and sounds better here, producing very subtle and ethereal, melodic & sustained solos more in the background. The keyboards are maybe slightly more in the background, creating with the drums and bass a very pleasant and addictive echoed live ambience. Peter Nicholls' confident voice is excellent, quite in the foreground, having a natural echoed live sound. The bass is VERY well played and elaborated, much better than on the studio album! For people who only know the later IQ ("Subterranea", "Ever", "Seventh House"), I recommend you this record, because it has more the atmospheric mood so present on the 3 records above. This live album is among the best ones in the prog music.


Review by Fishy
3 stars This concert was recorded for the television series "live from London" which was broadcasted in Europe during the eighties. Shortly after the show Pete Nicholls left the band due to tensions within the band and personal problems. In 1986, IQ discovered that a live album & video of the show had been released without commitment of the band. Despite this, it became quite popular with the fans. After the leaving of Nicholls this was the only opportunity to watch the band performing the Wake live. Since its deletion in 1987, it became a collector album. In 1993 the band, including Nicholls, decided to re-release a tied up version of the recording on this cd. The concert happened around the same time "the Wake" was released and this is probably the reason why that album is omnipresent in the track listing. Besides that, it only contains one track of their previous album, one b-side of a single and one track from their debut cassette album "six to eight". The band only had a couple of days to rehearse the set and this explains the many imperfections. Still the concert is highly enjoyable in its present form thanks to the spectacular stage performance of Nicholls who is able to keep the attention. The tracks from the Wake still make sense after all those years. The dark sounding music is full of mystery. "Widow's peak" is the emotional peak of this album. Sure the mood is depressing but it's very romantic just the same. The way the mellotron is used on this track is perfect to create a ghostly atmosphere. Moreover in all the years I've been listening to prog, I 've never discovered a composition that was better crafted than this. Although there's several flaws in the vocals of Nicholls , it doesn't spoil the fun. "The atmosphere and emotional level in "the magic roundabout" is quite similar. On "the thousand days" and the following "Corners" the influence from pop & wave styles of that time are undeniable. Therefore "Corners" may sound a bit outdated when hearing it now but the eastern influences at the end still sound lovely. For years I've been looking for the studio version of "It all stops here" because I still believe this is one of the best tracks IQ ever released. Mike Holmes & Martin Orford are pushing their virtuoso skills to the limit or at least it sounds like that. The first part is very hectic as it hold many different sections that succeed rapidly. When compared to the technical composition of the first part the second part shows the emotional, dreamy side of IQ. The lyrics may sound a bit too adolescent when hearing it now but the melody still sounds great ! "Just changing hands" is simpler but has a lovely atmosphere which is dominated by the mellotron once again.

Even though the sound has been improved when compared to the original release in 1986, the sound quality of this cd is rather poor as it lacks depth. Especially the sound of the rhythm section could have been better. The rest of the instruments is sounding rather good and the live version brings some different sounds along that those that initially were used on the studio albums. The live sound is typical for a neo prog band as many moog and synthesizers are used.

Conclusion : Despite the flaws, this is an enjoyable record and a time document that rounds up the first incarnation of on of the best neo-prog bands of the eighties.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I purchased the CD of this live album dated back in 1998 for USD 22.49 (quite expensive for me especially the dollar rate against IDR at that time was 50% higher than now; plus USD 5 shipping cost). But, I never regret having this in my prog collection. Not that the show was superb, it's was just a matter of loving the music of the band. Honestly, the recording quality is not that excellent but I enjoy spinning this CD because it gives me another nuance having owned all studio versions the band had ever made. The story of this live album started when in 1985 IQ received a phone call asking them to play a concert which will be filmed for the "Live From London" television series. So in just three days from that phone call the band played a concert at the Camden Palace on May 13th before a hastily- gathered home crowd . Later that same year the band discovered that a live album of the show had been released without any consent or artistic input from the band. Despite the poor aural and visual presentation of the product, it proved to be a popular and collectable item even after its deletion in 1987. This edition of "Living Proof" has been re-mastered and "tidied-up" and the booklet features previously unreleased photos from the performance. The performance was finally released also in DVD format.

The live set kicks-off with soaring keyboard sound of Martin Orford with "Awake and Nervous" from the band's debut album. The band played this song energetically and the song is suitable for opening act of the live performance. Composition-wise it's no different with the original version, only that I notice the drum work by Paul Cook is more dynamic in variation. Peter Nicholls sings excellent voice. The song projects good live vibes through the combination of musical instruments they play and voice line. Nicholls communicates with the audience in between tracks indicating what song the band will play. "Outer Limits" from The Wake is another track performed excellently by the band.

As with the original studio version "The Wake" is continued seamlessly with "The Magic Roundabout". The Wake was the first song I knew IQ for the first time and it blew me away at first listen. I like the energy and the dynamic of this sort track. It starts with a great combination of keyboard and guitar, augmented with bass and drum. "Singing praise was never a feature encouraged in me or y kind ." - oh what a wonderful voice line entrance! I also especially like when Nicholls sings before great guitar interlude by Holmes: "I come drifting through the draughting Dropping out of sight. I'm not begging for love. I'm empty as I am ." [continued with hard edge guitar solo by Mike Holmes]. Really nice. "The Magic Roundabout" is specific in a way how the howling guitar sounds melt together with long sustain keyboard sounds. I also enjoy this track especially during interlude part with guitar solo and keyboard sound that follows at the background. It's very seventies, I would say.

Another all time favorite of IQ music is a song titled "Widow's Peak" from "The Wake" album. This song is very strong in composition especially in the way how melody and harmony were put together nicely. You may find an early Genesis music style but it has different kind of melody and singing style. IQ music to me is very unique and it can be identified easily as no band is similar with IQ. The opening guitar fills of "Widow' Peak" is really killing! It has a very catchy melody that bring the music into full blown symphonic prog style just before Nicholls sings "Garden over me, the secret I love most .". Oh man .. what a great composition! The music seems like containing two parts with the other part starts with a long sustain howling guitar sound augmented with keyboard and cymbals at the back. The music continues with a the like of Pink Floyd Music just before the lyrical part says "I want to see you I want touch you .etc". The music reaches its ultimate "orgasm" right after lyrical part "You couldn't get that, yeah!" when guitar produces wonderful soft riffs augmented with soaring keyboard sound, drum and bass. Oh .. what a wonderful composition!!!!! Imagine if all prog music has this kind of tight composition and melodic segments. I'm dying man .

Overall, this is a recommended live performance by one of the finest neo progressive band, IQ. It's recommended that you own a copy of the band's previous albums "Tales From The Lush Attic" and "The Wake" before proceeding with this CD so that you have a fair chance listening to the studio version before this one. Happy New "Prog" Year 2006. May the year 2006 is a shiny year for prog and . keep on proggin' .!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars It seemed that prog bands were taken by a live album frenzy in those days. Maybe the Marillion syndrome ?

IQ did deliver two great studio albums, and released a studio live / rehearsal one ("Nine In A Pound Is Here") and this true live one. This was the occasion for Peter to say goodbye to the fans. The charismatic lead vocalist from IQ had decided to concentrate on his side project (Niadem's Ghost) and left IQ. Fortunately, he will soon come back. He was also responsible for the design of the album covers, and quite successfully, I must say.

This album was recorded during the supporting tour for "The Wake" and will feature not less than six numbers from it.

Two non-album tracks will appear here : "It All stops Here" and "Just Changing Hands". The later was recorded during the sessions from "Tales" but did not make the original album (it will be featured as bonus track on the CD release). Both numbers will sit on "Nine In A Pound Is Here", but since Paul Menel was in charge of the vocals on that one, it was quite interesting to compare both "live" versions.

I like Peter quite a lot. I have seen IQ twice on stage recently and I must say that he is a good showman. Of course, some will argue that he is only a clone for the other Peter; and in a way they are not wrong. He is even pushing the similarity in doing some song introductions in French while having a French audience in front of him (in this case in Belgium). You know like...I just feel that first of all, it shows a great respect for the fans who might not always speak English but globally, I am sure he has also the deepest respect for PG (whom I also see with Genesis durng "The Lamb" tour, a looooong time ago).

So, yes; the similarities that are noticeable on their studio works is pretty much vivid in their live appearances. But I have no problem with this. It is probably pure nostalgia, but again : I am a nostalgic person of these remote times. I am grateful to IQ to perpetrate some of the magic of those days.

As far as this live album is concerned, we will be orphan of "The Last Human Gateway". We will need to wait very long years (about twenty !) to finally get it with Peter on the vocals in its entirety on their 20th years anniversary DVD "IQ 20". Another version, (again offering the possibility of comparison) isalso featured on ""Nine In A Pound Is Here" with Paul Menel on the vocals. But Peter remains my fave.

All tracks are well played on this live effort. There won't be much difference with the studio versions, though. The overall sound quality is not the greatest one, I'm afraid. Very little communication between the band and the audience but I assume that Peter was not as comfortable as he is now when in front of an audience.

Of course this CD is more a live version of "The Wake" than anything else. But honestly, why the hell do we need to suffer the presence of the infamous "Corners" here ? I have expressed my feeling while reviewing "The Wake". This live version won't change my mind, by any means. Absolutely AWFUL again. The band might have some fun while playing this reggae-ish joke, but when you listen to this in the back of your seat, I doubt that the joy is shared. Not by me. It is the only blunder of this live album (but it is also their unique blunder on those two studio albums).

Three stars for this live effort. This will be the only true IQ live album till 1996 and the better "Forever Live". But this is another story.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Sometimes being pompous and strong is not enough.

I haven't heard "The Wake" more than twice, so I will dare to give my opinion of the tracks of "Living Proof" based exclusively on the live version without comparing them with the original studio release.

Been trying IQ for years, but still my opinion hasn't changed, I find them extremely derivative and lack of originality, I can listen the three Genesis eras and Marillion, all mixed in one, I had the hope that they would sound different on stage but haven't found almost nothing that defines an original sound in this album.

The opener "Awake and Nervous" starts strong and gives hopes, but there are two facts that I can't stand, the voice of Peter Nicholls who tries to sound as Gabriel but only gets to sound as a hybrid between Gabriel and Fish with a touch of Barrett, who looses the key very frequently.

The other problem is in the keyboards, Martin Orford gives us 7 minutes of variations on one chord. For God's sake, I know there are a few notes, but you can make infinite combinations!

Strong and vibrant during the first two minutes, but after that is more of the same, yes, it can move a crowd because of the powerful drums and loud keys, but doesn't resist a careful analysis because there's absolutely nothing original.

In "Outer Limits" the keyboards are more interesting, the interplay between Orford and Holmes is interesting and they add a good doze of emotion, despite Nicholls vocals, the song is very good and you can find at last some originality.

"It All Stops Here" reminds me a lot of UK (Night After Night) with a touch of Marillion, but again the problem is the originality or more precisely the lack of it, even when they have good changes and dramatic sections it's not enough..BTW: Am I crazy or Orford tries to sound like Jon Lord in some sections?

"Just Changing Hands" makes me wonder if Paul Cook has more than one beat, yes he's fast and strong but his drumming is almost standard for all tracks and moods, despite this fact, the track is strong and keeps the interest of the listener, not outstanding but good enough.

"The Wake" is a strong song, again the only low point is in the vocals, this time Nicholls sounds as a Metal wannabe trying to keep with Mike Holmes who does an extraordinaire work with the guitar, the rest of the band is impeccable, specially Tim Esau who adds the touch of originality to the rhythm section because Cook sounds almost exactly in every song.

"This Magic Roundabout" has an excellent organ intro by Orford, at last he doesn't tries to sound as anybody else and proves he's a very capable keyboardist, but again the standard sound of the band returns, nothing new, sounds well causes the desired effect in the fan and casual listener but lacks of depth IMHO, but at least I find some radical changes, something unusual in them.

"Widow's peak" starts with a dramatic guitar solo and a soft keyboards work in the back, very nice and different, and then the explosion that reminds me a lot of Pendragon, mostly because the keys style is very similar to Nolan's, the Mellotron or most likely a Novatron, is used with very high skills creating a strong atmosphere, very good song with different moods and at last very original despite the clear Genesis reminiscences.

"The Thousand Days" has the same problem of the opener, the variations on the keyboards are too subtle, sounds a bit monotonous, doesn't matter all the times I listen them, I can't get Nicholls vocals.

"Corners" should had been left aside, in this track they comprise the three Genesis eras, sounds like a blend of "Selling England By the Pound" with "A Ttrick of The Tail" with a machine drum (Yes I know they are not using machine drums but Cook tries very hard to sound as using one) taken from some late three men era album, simply too derivative and watered for my taste,

Hard album to rate, I'm sure the concert must has been great because they are loud, pompous and strong, but lacks of depth, this are the kind of albums that give neo Prog bands the undeserved fame of sounding all the same, the sad thing is that they are capable and skilled band who just need to define their own unique sound.

This is an average album, not great, not bad, so the fair rating would be 2.5 stars, sadly we don't have the chance to give this rating so will have to go with two stars, being that 3 in my opinion is for an album that's above the average and this is not the case of "Living Proof".

Review by Warthur
4 stars In the mid-1980s, just as Peter Nicholls was preparing for his stint away from the band, he was persuaded to stick around just long enough to produce the Live From London concert video at the Camden Palace Theatre. Living Proof was an initially unauthorised release - it's simply the soundtrack to that concert video, put out by IQ's old label after they broke from their former management.

IQ were unhappy with this for several reasons - Martin Orford's keyboard settings were apparently faulty (certainly they seem more aggressive and punchy than usual), and Peter had to struggle with a collapsing mic stand. (Indeed, there's a few points here where his vocals get entirely lost, presumably as a result of that.) In addition, the setlist wasn't really representative of IQ's performances at the time - neither of the major epics from Tales From the Lush Attic (The Last Human Gateway and The Enemy Smacks) because the video's producer vetoed them, forcing the band to reconfigure the set to account for their usual centrepieces being taken off the menu.

To cap it all off, the crowd in the video don't seem all that enthusiastic, presumably because they'd been pulled off the street to come see a free show (it wasn't an advertised concert); had it consisted of actual IQ fans, maybe they'd have been more keen. For these reasons, IQ felt that their performance on the day had been subpar and were deeply annoyed at the label for putting out this live album - according to their old mailing list FAQ it was only lack of funds on their part which stopped them suing over it.

However, come 1992 the band would be establishing their own label, Giant Electric Pea, and they seem to have come around on the release. Love it or hate it, the album represents perhaps the finest-sounding live material we have from the pre-Paul Menel era of the band, and so they repackaged, remastered, and reissued it for the enjoyment of fans. This tidied-up edition of the release is, despite the band's original misgivings, a real treat - yes, there's imperfections here and there, but the emphasis on material from The Wake (pretty much that entire album is represented here except for Headlong) plus some aptly-chosen other numbers (Awake and Nervous from Tales From the Lush Attic, Just Changing Hands - as commonly heard as a Lush Attic bonus track these days, and It All Stops Here, one of the best tracks fromSeven Stories Into Eight) results in a set list which gives the listener a decent-enough overview of IQ as they existed in their pre-Paul Menel incarnation.

Review by The Crow
3 stars "Living Proof" was an album released without IQ's permission during the 80's, with a very poor sound, which was later reissued with a little more quality.

However, the sound still leaves a lot to be desired, especially on Peter's vocals, making this live album of interest only to the staunchest fans of the English band, since the live versions included here hardly outperform their respective studio recordings.

Despite everything, it still retains something of that mythical aura that this album had during the time when it was believed that it was the last thing Peter Nichols was ever going to record with IQ. Hopefully, history proved us wrong!

Best Tracks: the songs from the excellent 'The Wake' sound especially good here. Widows Peak is still the best song of the group's first stage.

My Rating: ***

Latest members reviews

3 stars Well, what can I say about this album. This songs on this live album are very similar to the ones on the studio albums. It is nice to hear that IQ can deliver their sound on stage as well. The sound quality is not particulary good nor bad. Just like the studio albums of IQ in that period. Don't ... (read more)

Report this review (#97579) | Posted by BackToBruijn | Wednesday, November 8, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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