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IQ - Stage CD (album) cover





4.42 | 127 ratings

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5 stars In 2006 we had some outstanding prog DVD's released with Dream Theater's Score, Pendragon's And Everyone To The Stage, and Porcupine Tree's Arriving Somewhere; however, leading the pack was IQ's Stage, which captures their performance at NEARFest in America, and a similar (albeit shorter) show in Germany. Clearly this band should be recognized as a tight progressive band who focuses on musicianship, who are craftsmen at penning some of the best music prog has to offer, and delivering a great performance. Naysayers of the neo progressive genre should really take notice because I wonder if this band is more symphonic prog than neo.

Recorded during the tour in support of the highly acclaimed Dark Matter, IQ enraptures the enthusiastic American crowd with selections spanning their career. One of the biggest highlights is the opener "Sacred Sound", which is coincidentally the powerful opener for Dark Matter. I just love it when Nicholls finishes the 'what if I'm no longer sane' line, Edwards counts off by beating his sticks together, and the band just explodes in a blinding fury with Edwards playing a great hi-hat/snare rhythm.

"The Seventh House" is another highlight, as it's not only one of my favorite songs by IQ, but Nicholl's delivers it with such conviction as he's flanked my images of war on the screens behind him. A tremendous song by itself, it comes alive while watching the visuals.

The true crescendo of Stage is the performance of the epic "Harvest Of Souls". Widely considered IQ's greatest epic, to see the performance is something to behold. It begins with Holmes seated with a 12 string acoustic and playing that beautiful intro, but quickly gaines steam as the band dances between Orford's swirling keyboards. To see the crowds reaction upon the song's conclusion is proof that we Americans appreciate a great progressive epic, as well. It could be the fact that we're deprived of it and appreciate it that much more! We take whatever we can get.

The band seems to be enjoying themselves, too. Holmes' style on the guitar reminds me a lot of Alex Lifeson of Rush, but his awkward dances remind me of a clumsy Steve Martin in The Jerk as he tries to keep rhythm with his adopted african american family on the front porch. Jowitt, on the other hand, is a true showman as he visits all points of the stage while exhibiting his mastery of the bass. And hats off to new drummer Andy Edwards, who replaces longtime stickman Paul Cook. Edwards comes in seamlessly and anchored the sound so brilliantly that you really don't miss Cookie. He plays Cooks parts with ease, but makes me wonder how he'll put his stamp on the new IQ disc. As good as Cook is, Edwards has the finesse of a Jeff Porcaro, but the speed of a Colaiuta or Peart (Listen to Frost's* Milliontown and you'll know what I mean). I foresee an upgrade in the IQ onslaught of sound.

So, in the end I'm going to go ahead and give this gem 5 stars. I normally don't award discs/DVD's 5 stars (unless it's Marillion's Brave), but this is a great DVD. It's loaded with extra goodies, but the performance is the best part. I guess if I had one gripe, it's that I'd like to see more epics done in their entirety. I know they are allowed only a certain amount of time; however, I'd take out a couple shorter songs, and maybe play "The Narrow Margin" or "The Last Human Gateway" in their entirety. Still, it doesn't take away from the fact that this is how concert DVD's should be done. Excellent job!

E-Dub | 5/5 |


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