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As a timely celebration of IQ's 20 year career, IQ20 - The Twentieth Anniversary Show is released by GEP (although it's 3 years late now). In case you haven't heard of IQ before, it's a band at the forefront of Progressive Rock in the UK and they're also quite known elsewhere. This new double DVD release contains about 4 hours of material (over 230 minutes) for the fans of the band to explore. Some of the material has never been performed live before (for example, they performed Headlong for the first time live). Of course all the features have both Dolby 5.1 surround-sound and stereo option available.
The concert has been recorded in Mean Fiddler, London in 15.12.2001. As with most live releases, one can usually consider them as "greatest hits" kind of collections (although all of their best songs aren't performed). Therefore this release is also good for new (post-subterranea) fans of the band that haven't heard IQ's older material. It goes without saying that their performance is very good (as is the music).
It's quite easy to recognise what every feature is about from looking at the track listing... However, the "Cookie Cam" feature isn't as self-explanatory as others. Basically the cookie cam feature means a shot of drum performance (throughout one song). Other features include encores, "the Lens performance", tour diary, stage set up, photo gallery etc.
The Lens is the "predecessor" of IQ. It's the band that "transformed" into IQ later on. Back in the days of the Lens, there was only Martin Orford and Mike Holmes (other members of IQ weren't present). Nevertheless, on the special features DVD IQ has included 3 "covers" of the Lens' songs (although I'm not sure if the word 'cover' should be used as Martin and Mike have performed on the originals as well)... Those who haven't heard of the Lens before, their music is instrumental progressive rock. As one may expect, IQ covered those songs very well, and those songs provide a great addition to this release. In addition, IQ has also included their covers of ABBA's 'Mamma Mia', The Osmonds' ‘Crazy Horses’ and Paul McCartney & Wings' 'Jet’.
Production on the concert DVD has been done well, both the sound and picture quality are of quite high quality... However, few clips did occur (on some vocal parts) and occasionally the picture quality could have been better. The special features DVD, on the other hand, hasn't been produced so well (the production varies between the different features). On behind-the-scenes footage (access all areas, cookie cam etc.) the sound quality deteriorates (which is quite often the case with behind-the-scenes footage that has been shot with a handheld camcorder). Nevertheless, the overall production is quite good (especially the concert has been mixed well).
To put it simply, this double DVD release is a must-have for every IQ fan. It contains hours and hours of "prog nonsense" entertainment that should be enough to cover anyone's needs.
By the way, regrettably there isn't a NTSC (USA format) version of this release available at the moment. However, it might be available in due course, so be sure to check out for it (in case you aren't in Europe/UK and can't use the PAL format).
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- MAGE (10.12.2004)
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