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IQ, John Young At Robin2, Bilston, 17th September 2005

IQ's first show in the UK with new drummer Andy Edwards was well attended in this great West Midlands venue, and with support from the ever-gigging John Young, made a lot of the crowd very happy indeed.

Just past eight o'clock, John Young made his solitary entrance behind his keyboard, and complete with backing tracks performed yet another remarkable show. Songs such as When We Were Young and Childhood's End, got the steady growing crowd applauding. Highlight of John's set was the impressive Unknown Soldier with it's twists and turns, but generally a long song what flows well.

The Bilston crowd got their first glimpse of Andy Edwards when he joined fellow band mate John Jowitt and IQ crew member Mark Westwood for the closing number of John's set. The song was the instrumental Kings, and the quartet just eased their way through it. So, that was the end of John's performance, a good one, and I hope many more to come.

The new intro music to IQ's stage show was to say the least a lot different to recent events. The same three screens were there projecting those fine images, but a nice surprise with the opening song Failsafe. Peter Nicholls took to the stage to a warm welcome as he sang the first line. You could tell by the first few minutes that this was well planned and worked out, with Mike Holmes note perfect on his guitar, and Martin Orford as per normal his usual solid self. The new back-bone team of John Jowitt and Andy were in perfect synch with each other watching their moves, and it was like Andy has been with the band a lot longer.

From the last album Dark Matter, Born Brilliant followed, and now with the double bass drums gave this a heavier edge. It's true as we could see that with Andy's input the band seem to be on a higher level, and enjoying themselves, and for me a new angle of their sound. Jumping back twenty years, The Outer Limits was next, followed by the emotional Seventh House, and for me the harmonies made this song stand out well.

Next up was an old song from the early days, and for me the highlight of the set, Intelligence Quotient which sounds as fresh as was all those years ago. Mike's guitar flowed through this as did Martin's keyboards, and a welcomed return to the set. From the Paul Menel years, No Love Lost was next, including a fine example of Andy's technique as he entertained the crowd at the end of the song with a drum solo. Sacred Sound followed, which is becoming a firm favourite with IQ fans alike, and the images on the screens are worth seeing too on this particular piece. Back to the past with It All Stops Here, along with the 1-2-3-4 vocal parts from the crowd, and bringing the pace down next was Guiding Light.

Ending the set was the longest song from the last album Harvest Of Souls, and after the costume changes from Peter, the ending was well received from the crowd.

First encore was from the Ever album, Darkest Hour, and again the band were in perfect synch with each other, while putting the final coat of paint on the evening's show, The Last Human Gateway (middle section) and The Wake were the last two songs the band performed. With the closing credits with pictures of the band with the added names, this was a fine evening's entertainment. A good sized crowd witnessed Andy for the first time on these shores, but on the whole the band are performing well. I'm already looking forward to Germany in November 2005! (See Photos from the gig below.)

Danny Mayo

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John Young


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