Live at Rockpalast 2005 [no label 1DVD PAL]

It's shorter than you'd hope it might be, but six songs (plus a couple of Peter Hammill interview clips) nevertheless capture all the immediacy and power conjured by Van Der Graaf's 2005 reunion, across a performance that might even squeak the official live CD in terms of sheer energy. 

Kicking off with a daunting "Darkness"; moving on through the sinewy "Sleepwalkers," and "Every Bloody Emperor" (from the comeback album), the show starts in top gear and then keeps rising. It seems incredible that songs like "Man Erg," "Killer" and "Lemmings," the triptych with which they wind up the performance, were written more than 35 years ago, and it's so depressing that no band since then has ever come close to topping the sheer intensity and challenge that VDGG exuded from every pore.

Sound and vision are both as superb as you'd expect from the German TV source - but, as a trip through Youtube will remind you, it really wouldn't matter if they weren't. Van Der Graaf looked and sounded amazing whatever the quality might be. Near-perfection is simply a bonus. - Dave Thompson

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August 17, 2007