For many years IQ has frequented De Boerderij for their regular gigs in The Netherlands. Most of the times the venue is sold out and if not, it is almost fully packed. Announcing that all visitors to the "Legendary 20th Christmas bash" on December 16th would receive an unique free cd was surely an effective way to make sure that many fans would turn up again to witness and celebrate this jubilee. And they did!
I have seen the band many times through the years, especially in De Boerderij, and there wasn't a gig I didn't enjoy. IQ live is always more than worthwhile to be part of as they display a good sense of British humour on stage, pretending taking themselves not too seriously combined with playing their heart out.
This evening was no exception. Yet there were two features that spoilt some of the magic of the evening. One of Paul Cooks snare drums was far too loud in the mix which became slightly annoying as the gig proceeded. And Pete Nicholls has sung, mwah, better on other occasions. He wasn't good on tone sometimes and his voice wasn't as powerful as it can be. Well, we're all humans so this can happen.
There was more than enough to make up for these minor things. The setlist for instance was great: starting off with Christmas intro/For Christ sake from the free cd Tales of a dark Christmas we were to be given after the gig, was a nice surprise as were the two new songs from the forthcoming (2018!) and as yet untitled new album. The first one, presumably entitled It's Only Forever, brought us a heavenly Mike Holmes guitar solo as the closing section of a very nice, accessible song.
The second new one The Flent(?) didn't do much for me at first glance. A difficult vocal melody that seemed a bit out of Pete Nicholls' vocal comfort and instrumental parts that still need some elaborating made this one feel as being unfinished. But it is always nice to be treated on new things that may turn out classics in the future..!
The setlist furthermore featured three strong tracks from the first disc of Road of bones, a good rendition of The darkest hour and an absolutely fantastic live version of Harvest of souls with Mike Holmes and Tim Esau playing their acoustic guitars beautifully in the extensive intro of this 24-minute epic. Pete Nicholls told us before that in this song many could go wrong because of its length but nothing of that kind happened, of course.
Some further favourites were Guiding light from The seventh house album and the title track and emotional closing track Closer of the Frequency album. Breathtaker and Fail safe from the Subterranea album completed the set list. Somehow these tracks sound less convincing when taken out of the context of that majestic concept album.
The Christmas mood was brought about by two white Christmas trees aligning the stage on both sides, by laser beams and by slide projections that supported all songs. And of course there was the encore in Christmas style in which the band wore their red Christmas caps while mr. Holmes was transformed into a white angel that suited him well although it appeared quite heavy. It didn't prevent them from playing an enthusiastic Merry Christmas everybody that also appears on the free cd, and a driving Headlong.
After more than 2,5 hours it was all over and we had to queue up to get our copy of the free cd. That was effectively organised so we could enjoy the gift on the car stereo while driving home in wintery The Netherlands. Another nice IQ gig and a new album to come, a good way to finish 2017!
Christmas intro / For Christ's Sake The Darkest Hour Breathtaker It's Only Forever (Working title for new song) From the Outside In The Road of Bones Guiding Light The Flent (Working title for new song) Frequency Harvest of Souls Closer Until the End Failsafe
Merry Christmas Everybody (Slade cover) Headlong