Saturday, 25th April 2009
De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
Article and photos By Menno von Brucken Fock
IQ is one of the first "neo-prog" bands from the UK and all of their career, 25 plus years now,
they remained true to their sound & kept up a high level of quality musically and as well they maintained and even improved their craftsmanship.
On the verge of the release of their brand new album Frequency, they did three gigs: one in Essen (Germany), one in Zoetermeer and one in Verviers (Belgium).
De Boerderij, always a good venue for IQ as Nicholls mentioned, thanking Arie Verstegen for his continuing support and hospitality, was nearly sold out.
In spite of not knowing some of the songs played that evening, all people were very enthusiastic right from the start.
A bit odd maybe, but the band got on stage and started their show with the title track of the new album, a solid and very nice composition indeed.
The band played tight and a very pleasant surprise turned out to be the drummer, Paul Cook.
With him present, there were three members of the first incarnation of IQ on stage: Nicholls, Holmes and Cook.
Peter Nicholls’ voice was excellent, in fact much better than 25 years ago.
With his characteristic poses and sometimes subtle witty remarks, he kept the crowd eating out of his hand.
Along the show went with Erosion and Darkest Hour, favorites from albums they produced in the nineties.
Another track from the new album, Stronger Than Friction, was followed by one of the most popular songs IQ ever released, Outer Limits from the album The Wake, a true feast of recognition.
A nice feature was the little computerscreen/box thing Mike Holmes brought with him.
Mike could play a note on his guitar and with his other hand waving above this device the sound of this note and its pitch then would change dramatically into the weirdest noises.
Even Nicholls came to see what he was up to and couldn’t help laughing.
After a track from their previous album Dark Matter, it was time for another new song and if one should have seen the response of all people present,
one would be inclined to think it was appreciated very well again.
Via Guiding Light it was time for the last piece from the new album IQ played that evening, Closer.
All songs sounded remarkably fresh but as faithfully performed as they once were recorded. Cook and Jowitt were in great form as well.
Westworth, not familiar with all the songs performed by his band-mates hundreds of times, with just an occasional mistake, seemed to be the less confident of the five.
He was playing very concentrated and wasn’t able to grin or interact with the audience as were Mike, Peter, John and Paul.
Still his performance was way above average and he proved himself worthy of being Orford’s replacement.
For the Subterranea song The Narrow Margin Peter changed his blackish shirt for a red sweater.
De Boerderij was filled with ecstatic music lovers by this time.
After the first goodbye, the first encore and an extra performance of Paul juggling with little plush bears.
The old classic from 1982 It All Stops Here was the perfect choice as was part of the brilliant song The Last human Gateway.
The band had to come back once more and started some jamming which was quite fun, both on as well as off stage.
In the mean time everyone sang "Happy birthday" for Michael Holmes , about to turn 50 the next week.
An extra special treat was The Wake and with this classic monumental song, a magical show had ended.
A superb quality of the sound, atmospheric lighting (although from the point of view as photographer I would have liked a little less red and purple) and one of the best prog-acts around.
In this form and with yet another fine new album IQ is nowhere near its retirement!
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Stronger Than Friction
The Narrow Margin
It All Stops Here
The Last Human Gateway (middle section)