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Thread: VdGG live in the '70s

  1. #1

    VdGG live in the '70s

    I've been recently diving into the Gentle Giant box set pretty hard. Some of the concerts included approach unlistenable (the Hollywood Bowl show is rough), but none are really that bad. They all have some sort of value.

    It got me thinking about VdGG.

    There is so little released live material from the 1970s, but it's not like they weren't touring. How bad can some of the unofficial recordings be? Whelp:







    Et cetera, et cetera.

    There's a lot of really decent recordings out there. The way I figure it, VdGG have to be at least as popular/unpopular as GG, right? Does it make sense to gather what can be gathered and release it? It's certainly something I'd be interested in having.

    (And, yes, I get that the circumstances are likely far more different than I'm admitting here. GG wanted to do put together that set and must've had the resources to do so. Who knows what VdGG want to do or have the ability to do.)
    Last edited by polmico; 1 Week Ago at 04:37 PM.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  2. #2
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    ^It's shocking really that Charisma didn't record anything live by the band, until right at the end of their original run. And that was a different band anyway ('Van der Graaf'), of course.

    The BBC sessions and European TV shows are the only game in town for professional recordings. And a lot of those were not recorded with an audience, so aren't 'live' as such.

    There is a live concert for John Peel from 1970 which hasn't been released on anything. This is because the tapes don't seem to exist and it never made it onto a transcription disc. It's OK for an off-air amateur recording, more AM than FM though. 'Killer' and 'Octopus' were among the songs played.

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    I agree there are a lot of "2nd era" boots of VDGG that are B or better sound and are great performances. The Newcastle one you have posted is one of my favorites. There's also Birmingham, London, Manchester and ??? I own one other one but the city and date are slipping my mind right now. But anyway lot of great stuff. I have never heard the NY one so thanks for posting that.

    Are these worth packaging and selling in some form? I'm not sure, in 2020, anyway. The boots have been widely available for a long time. Not sure a lot of people would want them. A 30-cd box with all the studio records like with Gentle Giant? That might be the best option; it might get the completists to make a major investment in a way that individual cd's would not.

  4. #4
    I'll have to listen to some of these. Vital Live was my entree into VDG(G) after not quite "getting" their studio stuff.
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  5. #5
    I really like this show, though for some reason not alot of it is on YT:



    I think it is the band themselves that are to "blame" for the lack of recordings- as PH himself said, you could go to 5 VDGG shows, 2 will be bad, 2 will be ok, and one would be crazy sh!t good. The shows that were documented throughout the years were always the ones that the band were "playing it safe" - even up to the recent Leverkusen show which was professionally filmed but one of the weakest in the tour (imho).
    The only exception to this is probably Amsterdam which is pretty solid, and that show was intended for low profile webcast and not filmed as professionally as the rest.
    This band is at its peak when it is free to take risks, and only with todays technology all shows can be recorded at no cost and put out on something like Merlin Atmos.

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    Label/tourmates Genesis and Lindisfarne both had live albums early in their careers. Maybe it's down to the 1972 split that VDGG didn't get one, I don't know.

    They are definitely another case where the BBC recordings are so valuable. And there's also the European TV broadcast where you get a live Godbluff in its entirety...and (frustratingly) 'Man-Erg' over the closing credits!

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    I find the BBC recordings too close to the originals to get excited about them. There must be some in-studio recordings that could be dug up. The 15-minute live-in-the-studio recording of Squid 1/Squid 2/Octopus, which is included on the remastered “H to He”, is excellent. More stuff like that would be welcome.
    'The more you know you know you don't know what you know'

    'There are no certain answers and no time to understand / The rules are set to paradox, coercion and blind faith / The goal's a changing paradise, a moment out of date'

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Munster View Post
    I find the BBC recordings too close to the originals to get excited about them. There must be some in-studio recordings that could be dug up. The 15-minute live-in-the-studio recording of Squid 1/Squid 2/Octopus, which is included on the remastered “H to He”, is excellent. More stuff like that would be welcome.
    Exactly, same as the Godbluff broadcast - like I said, they were playing it safe when they knew they were recorded and the result is not on par with what they achieved when they were wild and loose.

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    Depending on which Godbluff DVD version you view, on one there is also extra footage of the Belgian TV performance of "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers". Again, this is very close to the original but I love it for the shots of Guy Evans on drums. In recordings Evans seems such a busy drummer, but this footage shows him to be very constrained, with very little flamboyance in his actions. The footage just highlights his mastery. And I love how Hammill reads a book between takes and gets the words for the song from the lyric sheet that came with the original vinyl version of Pawn Hearts.
    'The more you know you know you don't know what you know'

    'There are no certain answers and no time to understand / The rules are set to paradox, coercion and blind faith / The goal's a changing paradise, a moment out of date'

  10. #10
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    ^^ Just found the Belgian TV footage on YouTube. Worth watching IMHO

    'The more you know you know you don't know what you know'

    'There are no certain answers and no time to understand / The rules are set to paradox, coercion and blind faith / The goal's a changing paradise, a moment out of date'

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post

    Are these worth packaging and selling in some form? I'm not sure, in 2020, anyway. The boots have been widely available for a long time. Not sure a lot of people would want them. A 30-cd box with all the studio records like with Gentle Giant? That might be the best option; it might get the completists to make a major investment in a way that individual cd's would not.
    Or how about a package like Love from the Planet Gong? I'd take a selection of shows along with either trilogy of 70s albums.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  12. #12
    Belgian TV is fantastic, no argument there.
    Its definitely one of the moments that the magic that is VDGG was happening. Definitely the fact that the TV people were actual fans and set those moody candles etc etc. The song was chosen and insisted upon by them, and the fact that it was the first time they played it in its (bathroom pause aside) entirety helped fuel it all.

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