IQ, June 30th and July 1st, 1999
Teatro Provedencia, Santiago, Chile
By Bart Jan van der Vorst and Martin Reich
Strange encounters in Chile
By Bart Jan van der Vorst
What on earth can be better than having the opportunity to see one of your favourite bands play while you're on a holiday on the other side of the globe.
When I found out that IQ was to play Santiago I instantly knew that I just had to be there. OK, I had to throw my whole schedule around, but in the end I think it worked even better this way.
I had booked my tickets through e-mail with organiser Juan Carlos, and when I arrived in Santiago I decided to drop by at the theatre to see if he was there with my tickets - that would be easier than to try and find him at the entrance before the show.
When I arrived at the theatre he wasn't there, but one of the other organisers, Jose Luis, invited me inside, to watch the soundcheck. The band had just finished setting up all the instruments and they were ready to play some music to test the system.
Because the band had had problems with their flight from the USA they had arrived a day late in Santiago. Therefore the crew had had only a few hours to set up the whole gear. This was quite apparent during the soundcheck, where they just couldn't manage to adjust the sound to a desirable level. The band played the instrumental finale of Leap of faith as well as the first half of Nostalgia/Falling apart at seams. During the latter song Mike's guitarsynth just didn't sound the way it was supposed to do, and because of the time constraints it was decided to drop Nostalgia from the set rather than to try and fix the guitarsynthesiser.
Too bad, as this is one of my favourite Menel-era songs, and I have never heard them play this song live before.
The next song they wanted to try was Subterranea and during this song it became clear that the sound of Pete's vocals had too much bass in it. And since Pete hasn't such a heavy voice this destroyed the whole performance. While the sound-guys were trying to sort out this problem and find out whether it was the microphone or the soundboard, Pete seemed to have had enough of it. "Well, I guess this is all for us, we'll see you tonight" and he left. It was clear that the whole band was tired after this whole day, which at that point had already lasted thirteen hours and would at least last another six.
Paul was required to stay a little longer for some more drumming as some of the toms had the same problem as Pete's vocals - they sounded as if they were played through a concrete tube or something.
A while back I had received an e-mail from a Chilean guy as a result of my review of the last Subterranea show in Tilburg last April. We had kept e-mail contact and naturally he was going to be here tonight as well. I met him at the nearby subway station and we went for a quick beer before the show. At around nine o'clock we went back to the theatre and the show started about thirty minutes later.
The show started with some weird sound effects, followed by some techno-music, undoubtedly created by Mike Holmes. The band took their places onstage and after the music had faded Martin Orford started the first notes of the classic Awake and Nervous. It became clear that the band and crew had not had enough time to set up all the equipment and samples, as the sound was very poor at the beginning of the gig and Martin had some complete wrong sounds loaded into his keyboards. The heavy synthesiser intro and outtro of this song were played with the sound of some strange organ!
The song was immediately followed and The Darkest Hour and It all stops here. In my opinion IQ has never been a band with a good choice of encores, however this show started with three songs which are regularly played as encores, and they worked so much better at the beginning of a set (especially The Darkest Hour). So to me this already promised to become a great gig.
I don't like seating venues, as it takes away so much of the atmosphere. The Chilean audience however, was really enthusiastic. After each and every song everybody would get up and give a standing ovation, only to sit down again when the next song would start. There was however no singing or even clapping going on. (and a couple of morons behind me felt the need to catch up on the latest gossip and managed to talk their way through the entire performance) Nonetheless this was one of the nicest audiences I've ever seen at a gig. Like I said, very polite audience, no hecklers, and they were definitely enthusiastic (although only in between the songs).
Peter Nicholls introduced the next song with a short story (just like he had done during the winter-tour) about being lost and wondering where he was. Fortunately someone could tell him: "You are in 'Subterranea'"
Subterranea and Sleepless Incidental were played, including the images and the theatrics of the Subterranea-shows. Unfortunately it became clear that the crew had not had enough time to program all the gear and the lightshow wasn't exactly how it meant to be. Also the already meagre sound quality suffered from all the samples that are used during these songs.
Sleepless Incidental was supposed to flow into Nostalgia however because of the problems with Mike's guitarsynthesiser this song was skipped. Paul, John and Pete left the stage while Mike walked over to Martin's rig and together they started the intro of King of Fools. Peter's face was projected on the backdrop and the song was played like at the Subterranea-shows. I still think that this song, or at least the act is completely out of place without the rest of the show. Too bad.
Just like during the winter-tour the song flew into the golden oldie Outer Limits, which of course is a great combination of the two songs. Maybe they should consider next time to play King of Fools with Pete staying onstage (perhaps in a chair or so) as the combination of the two songs is excellent!
It was time for some 'Menel' songs and the two Paul Menel albums were represented by the War Heroes/Nothing at all-medley which they had also played during their '96 minitour. Unfortunately during Nothing at all Mike's guitar broke down, so we had to do without a guitarsolo in the song.
It took a while for Mike and the roadies to set up a new guitar (his spare guitar didn't seem to be tuned) so Peter took his opportunity to announce their "most famous song, which doesn't get played very often" which was of course the classic Wiggle. A fun song which lyrics only consist of 1 word (guess what word that is) and which requires a lot of audience participation.
Mike's guitar was still not working, so Peter introduced Paul Cook behind the drumkit who gave a very short drumsolo. Then Pete introduced John Jowitt on bass, who started playing the first notes of the fun-version of Came Down. This rumba version does however require a guitar, so Pete made up for the lack of guitar by singing part of the chorus.
The guitar was fixed, but needed testing first before they could continue with the show. The rumba version of Came Down was played again, but this time with a roaring guitarsolo, for which Mike received a loud applause.
The show continued with two more Subterranea songs and the majestic Leap of Faith. I was hoping they would play the full version of Came Down as well, like they had done during the winter-tour, but unfortunately they didn't play it.
Pete announced their last song of the evening. With any other band this would mean that the show's nearly over. With IQ such an announcement can only mean that you get at least 20 more minutes, not counting the encores!
They played the 20-minute finale of the Subterranea-album, The Narrow Margin. Despite the poor sound, the tiredness of the band and the problems earlier on, they managed to play a superb version of this modern classic.
The crowd went crazy, got up and gave a loud applause and cheer. Naturally the band got back onstage for an encore and they played their classic The Wake. After this song the band left the stage again. This is another thing that bothers me a little bit of IQ encores, they always leave the stage again after only one song. OK, they usually come back again after that, and often they do this even four or five times, however it can create some confusion to both the audience and the management of the venue.
Here it was both in a reaction to eachother. When the band left the stage again, someone immediately switched on the house lights in order to have the people leave the auditorium. I looked at the sound and light crew behind me and they just gestured that they didn’t know what happened – they hadn’t switched the lights on. Many people did leave the auditorium, but fortunately many others stayed and cheered in order to get the band back onstage.
Of course the band came back. Like I said, they usually give at least three encores and often more, so they were a bit surprised to find the house-lights already on. Whoever was responsible for these lights, he realised that there was a band onstage, so he switched the lights off again.
The band played their smash-party medley of Out of nowhere and Mama Mia. Recently I read a review in which the author expressed his disliking of this song and I must admit that it is getting a little bit boring. Of course if you have never heard it before (like the Chileans, and it was their concert after all) this medley is great fun, but for me the fun wears off a bit, after having heard them play it at almost every single concert I’ve seen since 1996.
The band left the stage once more and all the lights came on again. The audience decided that was it and left the auditorium.
After the show I had a chat with the guys from the sound and lighting and they didn’t understand what happened either. They gave me a setlist and according to that setlist the band had prepared at least one more encore!
When I entered the theatre on Thursday it became clear that neither the band, nor the crew had had a day off here. They had been testing and tuning all day long with the result that the PA and lighting equipment had been moved to the middle of the auditorium.
The result was amazing! The sound was crystal clear and the band played flawlessly. They had eliminated all the problems of the previous day and skipped the songs that might have caused problems, like yesterday’s opener Awake and Nervous. After the intro tape had finished they went straight into The Darkest Hour. This song works actually great as a set-opener!
Like yesterday Nostalgia/Falling apart at the seems was left off the setlist.
There were a few changes in the setlist, Outer Limits was replaced for another The Wake-song: Headlong!! This song was actually listed as an encore on yesterday’s setlist, but wasn’t played because of that idiot with the house-lights. It’s one of my favourite IQ songs and they played a superb version.
Another one of yesterday’s unplayed encores was Breathtaker, this gave me the feeling that they were trying to make sure they’d play all the songs they wanted before getting "forced" off stage.
The highlight of the show was a perfect rendition of The Last Human Gateway which had replaced The Narrow Margin in the set. It amazed me how much this song has improved through time. Better quality keyboards make this song so much more beautiful than the original studio-version. I’d really love to see the current live version released on a CD soon. The shows at Teatro Providencia were recorded for radio-broadcast, so there may be hope.
Like yesterday the first encore they played was The Wake. Apparently yesterday’s idiot had learned from his mistake and he let the band come back for a second encore (a great rendition of Human Nature) before switching on the house-lights. The band wouldn’t go that easily though. When the audience kept on cheering after the second encore they came back once again. "Could you please turn the house-lights off? Please, whoever you are, turn the house-lights……. OFF!!" was Peter Nicholls’ jesting reaction to the well-lit auditorium. The person got the message and switched the lights off again so that the band could play their final song Widow’s Peak.
And then it was over. The band had to leave for Buenos Aires for the last gig of this mini-marathon. The band was really tired already and their flight for the Buenos Aires was scheduled for 6 am! Therefore there was no time for a meet and greet with the few hundred eager fans that waited outside the venue for them. John Jowitt was the only one who could spare some time for a quick chat, but when the others came out they wanted to leave as quickly as possible, yet they were polite enough to give the occasional autograph or pose for a photo.
All in all these were two excellent shows, although the second one was definitely the better of the two. In fact, I rate the second night as my personal second-best IQ gig ever (just after the Subterranea show in Paradiso ’98). A well-balanced setlist, with about 20 minutes from each album (the Menel albums counting as one), excellent lighting, good sound and a superb performance, especially when considering how tired the band must have been.
IQ live at Theatro Provedencia
By Martin Reich
Hi Prog Friends all over the world!!!
I'm so depressed right now, I'm back in town, returning from the other side... I invite you to join me to cross THE
I'm Martin Reich, a 23 year old geology student from Concepción, Chile, and for the last 4 days I've been abducted to IQ
's SUBTERRANEAN WORLD. That's right!! IQ played Santiago de Chile June 30 and July 1st, 1999. Undoubtely,
a week to remember for all the chilean prog-fans:
I have to tell that IQ's concerts in Chile were an absolutely brilliant, impressive, OVERWHELMING EXPERIENCE... by
far, the best progressive acts ever in Chile, along with Pendragon and Yes (last year both). The guys played like gods,
despite the long and frantic trip to our homeland, nearby the Andes domain: a perfect settlement for IQ's "magic
Both of the concerts were supported by a screen in the back side of the stage, where images were projected during the
concert, specially during the Subterranea bits. They didn't play the whole Subterranea show, but who cares!!! The concerts
were so damned good, the guys are real masters!!!
Peter Nicholls: very impressive, theatrical, lyrical. A mystical presence, he's actually THE prog showman of the moment.
His voice is as good as ever...
Martin Orford: this guy's the keeper of IQ's flame!!! He was very ill, but he played brilliantly. After his second coming to
our country (after last year Orford/Chandler shows), he's the most popular IQ member in Chile... He left his footprints in
Chile, we will never forget him.
John Jowitt: a great bass player, so original,and also a kind and funny guy, very friendly, he represents the "social" side of
Mike Holmes: his guitar playing is unique...very "Hacketty". What else can I say??
Paul Cook: the man behind the drums, the keeper of the rythm, solid playing, he played even better than in "Forever
The shows and the whole South American tour were organised by the ARPROCH, the Chilean Progressive Rock
Association, a labour of true love... Thank you guys, keep on moving and consolidating CHILE as an important
progressive scene...There's a big following here in Chile, and the existence of ARPROCH
I have so many things to say about the shows, that it would be a never-ending story, so many feelings, impressions,
emotions, there's too much to say...
Actually, just the coming of IQ to Chile was a dream came true to a lot of chilean fans...
Regards to my prog friens at Santiago: Claudio, Jorge, Rodrigo, Carola,Marcos, Mauricio, Cristián, Victor (from Perú),
etc. And also to SUBTERRA, the best chilean prog-band, keep the faith!!!!
Intro Techno Tape
Awake And Nervous
The Darkest Hour
It All Stops Here
King Of Fools
Nothing At All
--- guitar problems ---
Came Down Rumba Version (Vocal)
Came Down Rumba Version (Guitar)
Leap Of Faith
The Narrow Margin
Out Of Nowhere / Mama Mia / Out Of
Intro Techno Tape
The Darkest Hour
It All Stops Here
King Of Fools
Nothing At All
Leap Of Faith
The Last Human Gateway