IQ, 9 November 2002
The Brook, Southampton, England

By Craig O'Brien


Tonight's gig at The Brook in Southampton, the second gig IQ have performed in the past few months in the UK, is the location where the band originally formed 21 years ago. Accordingly, there appeared to be a fair smattering of friends, families and long-term fans in the audience. The Brook is a relatively small, but quaint pub which by performance time which just about full. The band launched into The Wrong Side of Weird and immediately had the crowd in the palm of their hands, sounding very tight and also clearly enjoying themselves on stage. The fun atmosphere was actually noticeable all during the gig, especially Mike Holmes' brand of wacky English humour.

Erosion, another of the highlights from The Seventh House CD aired next, before a rarely performed Further Away which, although great to finally hear live, didn't really gel as well as the rest of the songs played tonight. A huge reception followed for the first two, of four, tracks from Subterranea (including backing slides) which judging by the crowds reaction (and the two guys dancing next to me!) this clearly must be the most popular IQ album. The title track, sounding as strong as ever, was followed by the excellent Sleepless Incidental. I was holding my breath hoping the band would then launch into Failsafe, but instead, we were treated to a rousing rendition of The Thousand Days (the sped up version) which segued into the beautiful Magic Roundabout which was the highlight of the night for me. The instrumental introduction to this song is so moving.

Next was a return to a lengthier track with the title track of the The Seventh House CD just building and building to its majestic conclusion. This track would surely rank as one of IQ's best ever, containing all the classic IQ traits including some excellent lyrics. The pace was then slowed down for another Subterranea track, Speak My Name, which gave Peter a chance to really show off his voice and he managed to keep the crowd's interest without losing too many to the bar for the slow song! Guiding Light, another truly beautiful song in the IQ catalogue, continued the theme of sadness and loss before the band rounded off the set with the massive sounds of The Narrow Margin. This was the first time I had heard this song live, and I wasn't disappointed. The high-point of the Subterranea album was the perfect way to end tonight's set . A real stroll down memory lane.

We when then treated to three encores, during which Mike's humour became more and more prevalent and smiles could be seen all around. The Wake sounded great (as usual), Crazy Horses was it's usual manic self and the surprise third encore was the only track played from the first album, but Awake and Nervous received a huge roar of approval from the crowd and was a great way to round off the evening.

IQ are indeed, a great live band. To think that they've been going for 21 years now and still demonstrate such enthusiasm for old, and new songs alike. The fact that the band continues to release fantastic music is testament to their skill, and love of the band. Let's hope they stay together for another 21 years!!

Setlist:

The Wrong Side Of Weird
Erosion
Further Away
Subterranea
Sleepless Incidental
The Thousand Days
The Magic Roundabout
The Seventh House
Speak My Name
Guiding Light
The Narrow Margin

The Wake
Crazy Horses
Awake And Nervous

 

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