The first band I ever saw live on stage was Van der Graaf Generator, at the George Hotel in Walsall. It was 12th December 1971. I was 14 years old; my friend PJ’s dad drove us all there and picked us up after the gig. In between, I had my tiny mind blown. I’d heard the band’s albums, but nothing prepared me for the full-on, uncompromising intensity of their performance. Many celebrity musician fans – including John Lydon – have cited them as a formative influence, pointing out that their brand of prog-rock was more like sonic terrorism than cosy virtuosity, and I think that’s why I liked them so much, and continue to do so. Like most bands of the time, surviving live footage is thin on the ground, so it was a relief when, on re-forming in the early noughties, with the “classic” line-up intact, they’d lost none of their fire, and recorded a show in Germany, in 2005. This song, originally from their 1974 album “Godbluff”, sets out their stall pretty well, I think. The show’s available as a 2CD+DVD set called “Live At Rockpalast – Leverkusen 2005”, and is probably the best chance we’ll have to see the Hammill/Banton/Jackson/Evans line-up in full flight (Jackson has long departed the band).
You are here: / / Van der Graaf Generator, anyone?