In February 2022 Van der Graaf Generator embarked on a UK tour which had been rescheduled several times due to the Covid pandemic. The final show on these dates took place at The Forum in Bath on March 1st and the event was captured by a film and recording crew.
‘The Bath Forum Concert’ is the first live CD and film fully controlled by the band and it captures Peter Hammill, Hugh Banton and Guy Evans at their finest performing vintage tracks such as ‘Masks’, ‘Childlike Faith In Childhoods End’, ‘La Rossa’, ‘Man Erg’ and ‘House With No Door’ along with newer pieces such as ‘Interference Patterns’, ‘Every Bloody Emperor’, ‘Go’, ‘Alfa Berlina’ and ‘Room 1210’. Cherry Red Records
Van Der Graaf Generator: The Bath Forum Concert
This well-recorded concert from March 1, 2022 at the Bath Forum finds the Van Der Graaf Generator trio in superb vocal and instrumental form, as they brave their way through more recent tunes and a few old warhorse classics.
They begin with two songs that conspire with new relativity. (As always, thank you, Einstein!) The short “Interference Patterns” gives way to the brilliant rant “Every Bloody Emperor,” a song with an eternal and always-modern human hubristic burn. Little wonder why Sex Pistols guy Johnny Rotten (aka John Joseph Lydon) loved the band. Then the band explodes into “A Louse Is Not a Home,” originally from Peter Hammill’s solo album, The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage, which was my entry into his fiery canon. And the years don’t miss a step, as the performance touches ancient Grecian drama. The resurrected and quite modern stylus still cuts through bloody vinyl grooves. Something Else Reviews
“Well. Well, well, well.” Peter Hammill says after a roaring applause while he, Guy Evans, and Hugh Banton get down to business at The Forum in Bath, England last year on Tuesday March 1st, 2022. The moment that Van Der Graaf Generator play ‘Interference Patterns’, you can just close your eyes and imagine yourself being at the venue. Almost nearly two years when everything shut down due to the pandemic and COVID-19.
But here, and now, the recording that has been released by Esoteric Recordings, showcases the three-piece playing their hearts out, and honoring their fans with absolute justice. It becomes a dangerous tightrope when they play the opening track and never knowing when the rope will be cut before going into the dystopian nightmares of ‘Every Bloody Emperor’ from their 2005 comeback album, Present… Echoes and Dust
“Have we just seen one of the last great Prog outfits from the golden age?” we asked after an encounter with VdGG in Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall almost a year ago to the day. With King Crimson as their only real challengers in the world of the avant garde framework hanging up their boots as Mr Fripp teams up with Toyah on a titillating husband/wife project, we’d suggest we could be right. Suggestions on a postcard…
We even dared suggest how Peter Hammil and his partners in crime – Hugh Banton and Guy Evans – that make up the 2022 VdGG, continue to challenge rather than become a watered down version of what they once were. You’d expect nothing less from Peter even as he hits the age where he might be considered an elder statesman.
We’re fortunate that we now have a record of the tour with the release of the entire Bath Forum concert. One mixed by Stephen W Tayler, whose involvement in the recent reissues of the VdGG albums puts him in prime position of having the perfect set of sympathetic ears for the band.
And for all the bluster about the ‘classic’ era of VdGG which has received a shot in the arm from the recent remastering and shiny 5.1 surround polishes, the live experience confirms how the more contemporary work (that we can now call ‘from this century’) is no less engaging classic era of the seventies. Time has not mellowed or watered down the Hammill fervour; it wouldn’t dare… At The Barrier
- Interference Patterns (4:51)
- Every Bloody Emperor (8:19)
- A Louse Is Not A Home (12:40)
- Masks (6:08)
- Childlike Faith In Childhood’s End (12:56)
- Go (5:23)
- La Rossa (10:38)
- Alfa Berlina (8:11)
- Over The Hill (12:47)
- Room 1210 (7:48)
- Man Erg (11:35)
- House With No Door (7:16)