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Van Der Graaf Generator Live At De Montfort Hall, Leicester, 9th July 2005

After many absent years, Van Der Graaf Generator have reformed to the delight of their cult following and are currently on tour. After a sell out concert earlier in this year at The Royal Festival Hall in London, a handful of dates are currently going ahead in England and Europe, and from what I witnessed in Leicester, the magic still remains.

The quartet of Peter Hammill, Guy Evans, Hugh Banton and David Jackson were as you would expect very tight and precise in the two hour set of old and new songs, but at the same time sending a message out to the public to say 'we're back'!

Van Der Graaf Generator Live At De Montfort Hall, Leicester, 9th July 2005After the intro music, Hugh Banton hit the Hammond organ sound complete with the hum from the bass pedals, while the tall figure of Peter Hammill appeared to a warm welcome from the near capacity crowd, and the band started with Undercover Man. From the first lines of the song, Peter's voice sounded crisp as he took his place to the right of stage behind his keyboard.

Another old classic rang out in Scorched Earth to gain lots of cheers and standing ovations from the crowd, which had a varied age range, whilst a twenty something young lad said to his father 'Dad, this is amazing'! who was seated behind me.

From Present, (see review) Every Bloody Emperor followed, and compared with the older songs, didn't stand out of place at all. After (In The) Black Room and When She Comes, a big moment for me arrived when the band performed Still Life. This has been a favourite of mine for many years, and when David Jackson commented that the last time VDGG performed here, tickets were ten bob, we realised how times have changed in currency and price!

After Masks, which again got a big cheer and another standing ovation, Childlike Faith In Childhood's End followed with David Jackson swapping his Tenor and Alto Saxes and sometimes playing them at the same time, which was a feat in itself! The Sleepwalkers followed which again Peter's voice controlled the song throughout. The second and last song from Present, Nutter Alert was a hit with the crowd also, before the final number of the set from Pawn Hearts, Man-Erg in which Peter said thank-you to the crowd for being so kind, and then the band left the stage to find the whole crowd were on their feet cheering for more.

The band returned as Peter picked up his guitar and for me the highlight of the evening, again from Pawn Hearts, Lemmings was presented to the happy crowd. This for me was a brilliant moment as this classic echoed around the hall.

So, that was it, the end of two hours of sheer magic, and I hope VDGG carry on and release another album and tour again soon. A momentous evening all round, faultless and most enjoyable.

Danny Mayo



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