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IQ - Subterranea - The Concert CD (album) cover





4.36 | 66 ratings

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3 stars This live concert DVD covers the band's performance on one of their seminal works "Subterranea" - a concept album that tells a story about a 17-year old boy that appeared in city N, 1828. He could not speak but one word. He was buried in the cellar since he was born. No one knows what was the reason and who set him free. The whole album was performed in its entirety by the band to the crowd at O13, Tilburg, Holland, on 4th April 1999 and later to the wider audience as the performance was filmed in the DVD. The actual show was actually stopped after the first 10 minutes of the performance ast there was some technical problems with the light. But, don't worry - you won't see it at all in this film.

The show begins with "Overture", an instrumental piece that sets the atmosphere for the whole album and show followed with "Provider" that captures an overview of the story. It has a great vocal by Nicholls with spacey keyboard sound in the background. "Are you inside, provider, or am I?". This short piece is then followed by a drumming part that opens "Subterranea" (third track) - a medium tempo and melodic song. Nicholls sings nicely. The keyboard played by Orford is great, combined with simple guitar touch by Holmes. This track is much more enjoyable if you play it loud. "Powerhouse, sacred vows, trigger happy punk ..". The track features saxophone work by Tony Wright, that accentuated the track beautifully. It's obvious that the band's members are basically not entertainers because all of them play their roles with practically no energetic movements on stage. Probably only John Jowitt (bass) that seems attractive in his stage act.

Holmes' guitar and Orford's keyboard produce a smooth transition to next track "Sleepless Incidental". It is followed by Nicholls voice that dominates the scene at the intro part until a dazzling drums, bass and organ sounds enter the music. The touchy melody happens right after Nicholls sings "I'm only taking time. And I'm not where I want to be now" where solo organ by Martin Orford takes the lead with other instruments are quiet. This piece elevates the live performance nuance wonderfully. Holmes continues the nice piece with lead guitar play until the song ends. This part that is wonderful in studio version has become even more awesome on stage.

The organ solo opens "Failsafe" - another melodic track continued beautifully with "Speak My Name" - a nice ballad with only vocal and keyboard sound with acoustic guitar as interlude. This is another track with a great melody. Peter Nichols voice is powerful. He sings with his heart. "Every time you speak my name .. you speak my name.." . This mellow track is a relaxation before it enters to the uplifting and dynamic song "Tunnel Vision" (one of my favorite tracks). I usually play this track LOUD to satisfy my enjoyment watching this DVD. I like when Nichols sings at the intro "Don't want to lead a revolution. Let another go ahead ." Wow! I like the lyrics and the melody (of course). The musical piece is also excellent. I catch another touchy melody again played by guitar fills. The lead guitar interlude is cool.

The first part of the album concludes brilliantly with two wonderful tracks: "The Sense of In Sanity" (slow track dominated by vocal and vibraphone sound) and followed by "State of Mine" (higher tone track with all instruments play together dominated by keyboard sound). Mike Holmes help fill in keyboard works by Orford. The next part of the album starts off with a nice instrumental "Laid Low", continued with "Breathtaker". It concludes with an epic track "The Narrow Margin" (20 minutes). No major change in style as far as the band's stage act from the first to second part. In addition to saxophone, the band also featured an actor during the show, performed by Michael O'hara.

Overall, the main course DVD is excellent. The package contains also some other features: Encores that capture band's performance on two classic tracks: "Human Nature" and "The Wake". I really love these two shows as they are performed energetically with much more relax mode. "Human Nature" is taken from the band's "Nomzamo" album that the original vocal was performed by Menel. It's a wonderful track, composition-wise. "The Wake" is performed as energetic as "ForEver Live" set - much better and much dynamic than the studio version. What I also love is the "Orchestral Overview" feature. Wonderful orchestra!!! I love it very much!

In any DVD set of rock show I always enjoy the bonus materials that contain documentary part whereby I can see the story behind the stage. In the "Going Underground" feature the DVD tells the whole concept of Subterranea as well as the making of great and simple IQ logo and its various forms prior to the final one. I enjoy it. It also tells the story about the concert in the perspective of production. What makes me VERY DISSATISFIED is that the DVD that is on my hand, it can not display "Band Commentary" menu. What a GREAT regret. It seems like a manufacturing problem here. Should I complain to GIANT Electric Pea, the label? With this technical problem, I would only give three stars out of five. If this problem does not exist, it deserves four stars. Keep on proggin' .!!

Progressively yours,


Gatot | 3/5 |


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