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Van Der Graaf Generator

Eclectic Prog

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Van Der Graaf Generator Godbluff Live 1975 album cover
4.11 | 120 ratings | 8 reviews | 62% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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DVD/Video, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

Live at Charleroi, Palais des Expos, September 27th 1975:
1. The Undercover Man
2. Arrow
3. Scorched Earth
4. The Sleepwalkers

Live for Belgian TV, March 21st 1972:
5. Theme One
6. A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers
a) Eyewitness
b) Pictures / Lighthouse
c) Eyewitness
d) S.H.M.
e) Presence Of The Night
f) Kosmos Tours
g) Custard's Last Stand
h) The Clot Thickens
i) Land's End (Sineline)
j) We Go Now

Total time: approx. 60 minutes

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Hammill / vocals, electric piano
- Hugh Banton / organ
- David Jackson / saxophones, flutes, devices
- Guy Evans / drums, percussion

Releases information

Classic Rock Productions (CRP1160 PAL)

Thanks to Joren for the addition
and to M@X for the last updates
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Buy VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Godbluff Live 1975 Music

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Godbluff Live 1975 ratings distribution

(120 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(62%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (7%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Godbluff Live 1975 reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars 4,5 stars really!!!!

As Joren said , everything about this DVD makes a must for VDGG fans. The Charleroi concert is extremely well filmed, with an excellent sound and a very classic performance.

The first part is the concert but I will address the second part most , because this filmed in a studio performance at Belgian state TV by the usual team that also filmed ELP, Genesis , Pentangle and a few more were doing an excellent job. Theme One is just average but the stellar rendition of Lighthouse Keeper is the version that got me to like this tough but awesome epic. Before seeing this the first time in the early 90's , I really had problems with that track but seeing them performing it (well it was a VHS copy viewed in a studio with the complicity of a friend who had access to the archives) changede my outlook.

I suspect that those two tracks are also available on the hard-to-get Classic Rock DVD From The Vaults series. Thanks to Joren I got confirmation of this , so this DVD will suffice.

Review by OpethGuitarist
3 stars A treat from Hammill.

VDGG's only DVD release is quite a good one, if not the fact that we must remember it is material from over 30 years ago, so the quality of it is not so great. Lighthouse wasn't exactly made for a live performance, but they pull it off admirably, and I can't really envision the song being done better on a live setting given its eccentricities.

I guess the downside to this is because of poor production quality (in comparison to now) I can't imagine non-VDGG fans enjoying this. Of course, I'd love to be proven wrong. Some sections are difficult to follow unless you are familiar with the material. The highlight for me was the work of Banton.

If you love what I consider the "peak" years of VDGG, from 72-76, you'll love the addition of this DVD to your collection. Gives you an inside look at the madmen who led this extraordinary band in the 70's.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Finally, there goes a worthy video release of VDGG! It's interesting to see that two of their darkest, heaviest and least penetrable albums ("Godbluff" and "Pawn Hearts") are most reviewed and praised among the fans on ProgArchives. I was personally more inclined towards other albums of this unique group of freaks. Still, I owned a vinyl LP of "Godbluff" and liked it, but sincerely felt that it was an extremely challenging and too dark piece of music. I could live without it for a long time.

But, now how to not get this on DVD? The entire album is played live and it looks like it was actually a multi-part suite grande. Musical performance is perfect and you get a sense of being there in Charleroi. However, my objection goes to video footage itself: there are too many close-ups, especially on Jaxon and Hammill faces! Sometimes it is quite rewarding to look at Dave bowing ahead while stepping on the pedals, equipped with artillery of saxes, flutes, cables and amplifiers. But it is often done at the cost of stage mise en scene. You don't see much of the scenery, the stage itself and the instruments, only the faces are spotted. Banton is particularly under-represented and I barely caught a moment (the only one) when he played bass guitar in "Arrow"!

Bonus material brings a fine short performance of instrumental hit "Theme One" and the entire half of "Pawn Hearts", yes - "The Plague of Lighthouse Keepers", performed live for a Belgian TV. Excellent job! This suite is much more accessible when looked at, rathen than when only listened to it. No guitars whatsoever on this composition (Robert Fripp did add a few guitar licks on the studio version). Hammill with electric piano, Banton on Hammond and a synth, Evans drumming and Jaxon with his double-sax asortment deliver a wonderful reading of a heavy and extremely demanding composition, amongst the candle- lit studio room. A real treat is seeing Hammill bent over his piano where the "Pawn Hearts" black lyrics insert is leaned on the piano slot where usually the music notes are placed! Ha! Even the Author himself cannot remember what he had written while recording the album. Towards the ending notes, Peter raises a glass of wine (if it's not a cranberry juice, which I doubt). Cheers!

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This dvd is perfect thing to watch (hear) as the first thing after you wake up. This music is real shocker, in a good way of this word.

It must have been great experience for people back then, to witness David Jackson's wild sax and soothe flute (nice police officer hat, his whole look a little bit in American style), Guy Evans's very good drumming (fortunately, drum part on Godbluff is very complex and interesting for my liking) and of course, Peter Hammill, whose voice is the main love/hate element here.

Songs are faithfully performed, except one part, higher pitched vocals, there, Peter Hammill, well, maybe slips, I'm not sure, maybe it's an intention, but some of them are done correctly (where correctly means same as original - why this ? because the rest is the same) and some seems muted, I got feeling from this as he reached too high goal (again - at times, most of the times it's OK).

Check my album review, it's basically the same and will explain more. Because I love all these songs

Yeah, this part of "Sleepwalkers" (Latino like?) when main composition breaks and Peter walks on a stage really like someone with sleeping/walking disorder, it really works.

Pawn Hearts session works, even I don't like Theme One that much, even A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers is of course thrilling.

4(+), really bunch of freaks, but loveably freak.

Review by friso
3 stars VDGG - Godbluff Live (1975)

This dvd shows the legendary Generator in concert with the original line-up of Hammill, Banton, Jackson and Evans. The complete Godbluff album is played and even a full version of The Plague of the Lighthouse Keepers is present. The recording isn't perfect, but acceptable for '75. The band plays very good and Hammill sings freely to the intensive material. I would have loved to hear Hammill sing a bit more like on the album I'm so attached to. Whilst most of the parts on the album contain two wind-instruments, the live version has of course only one wind-instrument at a time. This changes the impact of some of the material.

Though they are one of my favorite bands, I must admit VdGG perhaps wasn't the best band on stage. It's strange to see Jackson (wind-instruments) in front of the band and Hammill in the back. The material is however very strong and the emotional content is strong. The version of Plague is atmospheric with the nice use of candles in the studio.

Conclusion. This is a dvd for the fans of the band and by no means a good way to get to know the band. It's nice to see VdGG play in the classic line-up, but still this isn't an essential purchase. Only the version of Plague of the Lighthouse Keepers amazes me. Three stars.

Latest members reviews

5 stars So here infront of us all is a DVD of rare VDGG material. Peter Hammil does not likethis sort of thing being released, yet the VDGG camp show no signs of letting it out either, so this is why I finally made this purchase. My edition starts with early footage from the Beatclub show, with the band ... (read more)

Report this review (#172076) | Posted by hawkbrock | Saturday, May 24, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Good music as is to be expected, Peter Hammill is a master composer and the band is tight and there are few mistakes except for the occasional time when Peter Hammill goes off key voically but he has never been a great singer in the first place so its alright. The soudn quality is rather poor ... (read more)

Report this review (#62613) | Posted by walrus333 | Saturday, December 31, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars While I agree with the other reviewer's assessment of the performances, the quality of both the sound and the image are really not that good. The '75 material is very bassy, and the vocals are frequently incomprehensible. Worse, the transfer is sloppy - the image is marred at several points by di ... (read more)

Report this review (#46139) | Posted by | Friday, September 9, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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