Saturday, April 1, 2017

Van Der Graaf Generator - 1994 - Maida Vale

Van Der Graaf Generator
Maida Vale (The BBC Radio One Sessions)

01. Darkness (7:21)
02. Man-Erg (11:08)
03. Scorched Earth (9:42)
04. Sleepwalkers (10:01)
05. Still Life (7:22)
06. La Rossa (10:01)
07. When She Comes (8:10)
08. Masks (7:24)

- Peter Hammill / vocals, guitars, keyboards
- Guy Evans / drums
- Hugh Banton / organ, bass pedals and guitar
- David Jackson / saxes, flutes

Actually very few live recordings of VDGG exists because on the group's own admittance , they were horrible on 40% of their gigs and bearble on 30% of the others. This left only 30% of the gigs were they could've recorded (given that they knew in advance they would smoke and that conditions allowed the recording) and this explains that the only real live album was Vital under the VDG monicker. So are we thankfull that the Beeb existed. While not really live recordings per se , the sessions made that they played together some of those real classic tracks . Unfortunately most of the tracks are from the second era (I said unfortunately but I like that one better than the first) so the early stuff is not well represented here as well. I think the material from Pawnheart or The Least is most interesting to hear live.
Nevertheless we have some kind of live recordings and it should please all unconditional fans.

This is the closest thing we can get to a live VDGG album by the classic line-up of Hammill, Banton, Jackson, Evans (OK, there are live tracks at "The Box", but a box-set does not count as a live album - except King Crimson's "The Great Deceiver". In fact, as the songs here were culled from BBC Sessions, this is actually a "live in the studio" album. That said, let's face the facts: this is a great album, with a fantastic song selection and good recording quality (the first two tracks, recorded in 1971, are slightly poorer than the others in terms of recording). From 8 tracks, six comes from VDGG's "second generation" (two from each album recorded by the classic line-up during this period). So this album also serves as a satisfactory introduction to the second generation, but not to their full career. Another BBC sessions can be found at the aforementioned "The Box", and maybe this album should have been re-released as a 2-CD set to fans who cannot afford to the more expensive box set. Highlights: "Darkness", "Scorched Earth", "La Rossa" and "When She Comes" (the last two are actually better than the studio versions). Recommended to all VDGG fans and to all prog-rock lovers.

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