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IQ And Magenta, Oakwood Centre, Rotherham, 27th November 2004

As part of the 'Best Of The Year' awards evening, IQ and Magenta were paired together for the first time, and both bands didn't disappoint anyone inside the venue at all

Early onstage, Magenta opened the evening bang on seven o'clock, and the place was nearly empty, but the venue soon filled quite eagerly. For many people, this was their first time judging by later CD sales that they had witnessed Magenta, and the forty-five minute set was packed with just five songs. As at Progeny 2004, Home was the first song. The band were soon in their stride, as the black dressed figure of front lady Christina approached the mic-stand. Soon the award winning singer weaved her vocals into the other five members instruments, and the intentions were clear, the crowd were in for a great night. After Broken, the highlight of the set for me was The White Witch. Chris Fry on guitar just took control, and at one point, ended up among the crowd! After I'm Alive, the band ended with Pride, again with Chris and Rob Reed on keyboards demonstrating their skills in this fine piece of music. Sadly it had to end, but the new album is out next year, and the best live act as voted by the Classic Rock crew, will be back next year!

After the awards, it was IQ's turn to turn on the style! Just one more show is left remaining on The Dark Matter tour at The Mean Fiddler on December 11th 2004. Just a few minutes earlier, IQ bagged four awards between them. John Jowitt and Martin Orford won their sections bass and keyboards as you all know. The award for best album was Dark Matter and, as on previous shows on the tour, the album was played in it's entirety. Sacred Sound was the set opener, and long standing crowd favourite It All Stops Here followed. It has to be said that IQ have a large following on the circuit, with many fans travelling long distances to see the shows, and as per usual, the band deliver. Tracks such as Failsafe, The Outer Limits and Common Ground still sound clean and fit well in the set, but the new songs from Dark Matter edge in fine. With Pete Nicholls in good voice, and Paul Cook playing the drums well too, it was soon time to bring the 'Best Track', as in the awards, to life. Harvest Of Souls was for me the highlight of IQ's set, and in many ways the best I've heard it played on the tour. The crowd soon cheered when it had ended, and this made way for The Seventh House, complete with Mike Holmes starting off in a comedy tune just after it had started!

Onto the encores, Subterranea, Awake And Nervous (with the Status Quo middle bit included, when Pete had a lie down!) and crowd bouncing to The Wake ended the evening. Looks like the final gig on the tour will be a special one, and as normal, I will be attending!

So that was the end on the BOTY night.  Magenta have shown that they are a great up and coming act, growing all the time, and with IQ still performing better than ever, the new year cannot come as quick as we would like! A great evening's entertainment.

Danny Mayo

(See below for gallery of photos.)




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