"This is a bad recording. There is not all the titles wich were on the double-live album on black-vinyl. This band deserved better than this commercial muck... wich rhymes with [you know what...]"
William Wood | Sydney, New South Wales Australia | 05/08/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I feel obliged to re-write this review as only one of seven people felt my original review was helpful maybe I was being unclear.
Van Der Graaf Generator where a fine band who emerged from the progressive rock scene in the UK to become a totally unique and singularly passionate vehicle for the songwriting of Peter Hammill.By the time of this release most critics either felt the band had outlived it's usefulness or that they were on the verge of greatness. This band have always provoked such strong viewpoints.
My original complaint with this disc was it's very poor reproduction,not the quality of the music.The original vinyl version was a rough and ready attempt to present us with what it would have been like to BE THERE at the Marquee club on those nights.In a sense this was a success,but the compact disc is almost claustraphobic sounding,there is no space around the individual instruments(and Nic Potter's bass sounds woeful compared to the wonderful ,warm ,overflanged monster of the vinyl).
Some of the highlights are the stunning version of "Still Life" where cello and violin replace the original gothic organ of Hugh Banton to create one of the high points of Peter Hammill's career so far.His voice here almost captures what it is like to be in the same room while he sings( If you have ever seen him live you will know what I mean)."Pioneers over C" features some hair raising group playing and features Nic Potter's monster bass to maximum effect, only John Wetton when he played in King Crimson even comes close to this level of power from a bass guitar.The medley of " a plauge of lighthouse keepers " and "sleepwalkers" is dark ,menacing and volatile.
Hopefully this review is more helpful to those of you thinking of buying this disc.I would recommend it because there is indeed some wonderful music on board,but I have to say that if you can find a vinyl copy you should buy it rather than this."
Details missing from the CD version....
Mark J. Moerman | Vancouver, USA | 05/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For those who are wondering, here are some details taken from the original vinyl edition.
Graham Smith: violin Charles Dickie: cello, electric piano, synthesizer David Jackson: saxes and flute Nic Potter: bass Peter Hammill: vocals, guitar, piano Guy Evans: drums Recorded live at the Marquee Club, London on January 16, 1978.
This recording is raw, primal, powerful, and unforgettable, and the band were as uncompromising then as they are with their surprise reunion album in 2005."
An audio note
Robert Kennedy | Astoria, NY United States | 05/16/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Since several previous reviewers have commented upon the audio quality of this album, here's a little background -- apparently, due to a technical problem, the recording of the show did not pick up any signal from David Jackson's sax/flute; his parts were "reconstructed" by pulling signal off of other tracks (eg:vocals) where his part had bled in. I would imagine that the other tracks were tweaked accordingly to compensate for the compromised quality of his track, contributing to the somewhat flat and claustrophobic quality of the overall recording.
That said, I like the more minimalist feel that the band were moving towards in this phase. The violin helped accentuate the midrange in what was at times rather a shrill, trebly sound; the group left more space in the music and were willing to play more abrasively and sloppily in the louder bits (which I consider to be a good move); and one can certainly detect the glimmerings of approaches that would persist in the work of post-punk artists like PIL, Wire, Virgin Prunes, and The Ex.
This is definitely worth checking out, and really should be regarded as a different band than the "Pawn Hearts"/"Godbluff" VdGG."