IQ - Subterranea: The Concert

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Giant Electric Pea
Catalog Number: GEPCD 1027
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:01:00

I was there in the early afternoon on April 4th '99 in Tilburg, Holland, when I encountered the various IQ members rather nervously in the backstage area of the newly built 013 hall. Not only would they perform Subterranea as a whole for the very last time, but on top of that, a live album plus a video would be recorded. I remember every single musician going over his equipment for the upteenth time whilst Rob Aubrey checked and double checked so to make sure nothing could go wrong. What they didn't know was that after fifteen minutes into the set, one of the spotlights would break down, a light which was vital for the recording of the video so the concert was halted, the band biting their nails in the backstage area once again as they had to do it all again from the very beginning. So what you hear here is the second "take" of the first couple of songs followed by the rest of the Subterranea material but without the encores. "The band wanted this to be Subterranea live and nothing else," said Martin Orford. Peter Nicholls found his confidence as time went by whilst he added the necessary theatrical extras.

What you get with this kind of music is the fact that there isn't ample space to improvise because, after all, it's a concept piece and you should stick to the original as close as possible. Maybe only in parts such as the saxophone solo in the track Subterranea is there a small chance for some improvisation. The crowd, although knowing there was to be a live recording, tries to be as quiet as not to disturb what's going on. I'm convinced some overdubs have been made to enhance the storyline such as the footsteps and noises in "Sleepless Incidental." The balance of the album is perfect, John Jowitt's bass guitar not too loud, Martin Orford's backing vocals just right.

With the song "Failsafe" reaching a climax, its normal a couple of seconds of "silence" is inserted in order to receive an overwhelming applause from the audience. Then again you can hear a pin drop during the pastoral "Speak My Name." Speaking of a respectful fanbase! The second disc opens with the Hackett-like genius of "Laid Low," illustrated by the wonderful technique of Mike Holmes. When Tony Wright guests at the end of "Capricorn" it's eerie to hear how close the music gets to Pink Floyd! For the final "The Narrow Margin," the audience helps out clapping the right rhythm which strangely reminds me of Fish when he performs "He Knows You Know" live.

Subterranea: The Concert is over once you hear the sounds of the iron bars coming down. With less than 50' playing time on this disc there certainly was enough room to include the encores as well, but these have also been omitted from the video release as well, which wasn't initially planned. All in all I think this live recording will be of more value to the band than the average listener as it marks the end of an era. As already mentioned, there's also a video of the concert on VHS but there are rumours of a DVD as well. There certainly won't be a lavish boxed set like with Forever Live as that was a very expensive venture for the band.

[You can also read Bo Bo's feature on the filming of this project - ed]

Disc One : Overture (4:34) / Provider (1:36) / Subterranea (5:30) / Sleepless Incidental (6:04) / Failsafe (8:37) / Speak My Name (3:48) / Tunnel Vision (7:17) / Infernal Chorus (4:39) / King Of Fools (2:15) / The Sense In Sanity (4:39) / State Of Mine (2:30)

Disc Two : Laid Low (1:35) / Breathtaker (5:26) / Capricorn (5:37) / The Other Side (2:32) / Unsolid Ground (5:04) / Somewhere In Time (6:38) / High Waters (2:48) / The Narrow Margin (20:00)

Paul Cook - drums, percussion
Mike Holmes - guitars, keyboards
John Jowitt - bass, bass pedals
Peter Nicholls - vocals
Martin Orford - keyboards, backing vocals

Tales From The Lush Attic (1983)
The Wake (1985)
Nine In A Pond Is Here (1985)
Living Proof (1986)
Nomzamo (1987)
Are You Sitting Comfortably? (1989)
J'ai Pollette D'arnu (1991)
Ever (1994)
Forever Live (1996)
Subterranea (1997)
Seven Stories Into 98 (1998)
The Lost Attic (1998)
Subterranea: The Concert (2000)
The Seventh House (2001)
The Archive Collection - IQ20 (2003)
Dark Matter (2004)
Frequency Tour CD 1 (2008)
Frequency Tour CD 2 (2008)
Frequency (2009)
The Wake: Live At De Boerderij (2010)
The Wake (Deluxe Edition) (2010)
Re:Mixed (2011)
The Archive Collection - IQ30 (2012)
Tales From The Lush Attic 2013 Remix (2013)
The Road Of Bones (2014)
Live On The Road Of Bones (2016)

Subterranea: The Concert Video (VHS) (2000)
Subterranea: The Concert DVD (DVD) (2002)
IQ20 - The Twentieth Anniversary Show (DVD) (2004)
Live From London (DVD) (2005)
Stage (DVD) (2006)
Forever Live (DVD) (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: September 1st 2000
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 1061
Language: english


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