April 25, 2009 - De Boerderij, Zoetermeer (NL)
Practically every IQ-gig at De Boerderij in Zoetermeer is sold out. I am not sure whether that was the case when they launched their brand new album Frequency. I am perfectly sure, however, that the concert hall was completely filled with IQ die-hard fans coming from everywhere to see their favourite band. The band planned both this gig and the album release earlier, but due to health problems of lead singer Peter Nicholls everybody had to wait longer to see the band perform. A second delay was caused by the fact that drummer Andy Edwards decided to take a sabbatical year. ‘A friend in need, is a friend indeed’ is an old English saying, so former drummer Paul Cook was willing to help them out for this tour. According to Peter Nicholls, Paul Cook was one of the gifts IQ brought from England. The second one was Frequency, the new album and only for sale during this tour. You could also buy the special package including a live DVD recorded at De Boerderij during their previous tour. Peter Nicholls, joking as always, told the audience that Stronger Than Friction, one of the new pieces on Frequency, had been written between The Darkest Hour (1992) and Outer Limits (1984). Of course, nobody was stupid enough to believe that.
After a kind of techno-house intro from tape, the band kicked off with a splendid version of the eponymous track taken from the new album. In this piece, Mark Westworth perfectly showed that he is the right man to replace Martin Orford especially for the new material. He also played the older stuff in a proper way, however, some people heard some mistakes during Guiding Light, but that escaped my attention. Guitarist Mike Holmes used a new toy: the Roland VG-99 guitar system for special effects. With this device, he is able to transform and distort the sound of his guitar by just waving his hand through a pair of light beams.
Besides the eponymous track, IQ played three other songs from the new album. All songs were done very impressive and they underlined that IQ still belongs tot the premier league of the prog rock scene. The nicest surprise of the evening was the complete performance of the 20-minutes epic The Narrow Margin from their concept album Subterranea . During this epic, Mike supported Mark on keyboards. It was the last song of the regular set.
After the concert, I got a set list and to my surprise, it included Widow’s Peak as the first encore, followed by It All Stops Here. Unfortunately, IQ did not play the first encore, but during It All Stops Here, the audience reacted very enthusiastically. For that reason, the band remained on stage a bit longer and started to play an unknown song that sounded like a punk song by The Sex Pistols or The Clash. For a short period, Pete Nicholls sat behind the drum kit and the keyboards. Those present enjoyed it and some of them even sang along with this unknown tune. After that song, the band members must have thought that the audience would never asked for another encore, but they were wrong. The audience kept asking for more. When the musicians returned, they played the middle section of The Last Human Gateway. It was nice to see how John Jowitt played the bass pedals with his hands instead of his feet.
I will probably remember this concert as one of the best performances of 2009. Apart from Magenta, I have not seen such a strong live show from one of the best prog rock bands from England. It was just too bad that after the gig, nobody could buy the limited edition of Frequency. The 800 copies they brought along were already sold out before the band had played a single note!
Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen), pictures by Arthur Haggenburg
The Darkest Hour
Stranger Than Friction
The Narrow Margin
It All Stops Here
Sex Pistols/Clash like punk
The Last Human Gateway
Pictures by Arthur Haggenburg & Henri Strik
Click on the picture to enlarge.
Pictures IQ by Henri Strik
Line up IQ:(left to right)
Guitars and keyboards
Bass, bass pedals and backing vocals
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Pictures IQ by Arthur Haggenburg