Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Inside Van der Graaf Generator |
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Special Interests, Educational
This is the ultimate critical review of one of the most under-rated bands in the history of rock. Van der Graaf Generator was enormously influential both in the seventies and beyond. The music is complex, intelligent and i... more »
VDGG Deserved Better
Tom Reid | San Jose, CA USA | 09/14/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"As a huge fan of this band for the last 21 years I was excited to see this come out. I didn't actually buy it off Amazon, I rented it from Netflix, I guess if I had paid for it I'd feel a bit cheated. On the upside (why I at least gave it two stars), it's nice to see a great band having a documentary made about it. There is some nice archive footage of the band with Nic Potter circa 1970 doing some material from "the least we can do" that I haven't seen before.
Now the downside - Peter Hammill, Hugh Banton and Guy Evans don't appear, maybe that reflects their opinion of the quality of the people that made this? It was really nice to see David Jackson, but the only other two people connected with the band who are interviewed are Nic Potter and Chris Judge Smith. The bulk of the interviews are made up of "rock journalists" and "music producers" (I'd never heard of any of them), giving their "views" on the band. The makers of this DVD would have been better just picking one or two people out of the audience at random at one of VDGG's recent reunion gigs.
As I guess it'll really only be true fans that buy this DVD (it'd be nice to show it to someone who had never heard of the band to introduce them to it, but I doubt if any of the viewers would be in that category), you actually learn nothing new. Worse, I spent a lot of my time when I was watching this, mentally correcting the mistakes these so called "experts" were making. One actually said, that "Octopus" on "Aerosol Grey Machine" was mush more redolent of Hammill's solo work!! Surely, as any true fan knows, that song marks the real birth of the classic VDGG sound. I also didn't need to hear all these awful reworked clichés about Bruce Dickinson saying that Hammill's lyrics are "wrist slashing music" - yawn yawn. Also all the continual references to prog rock are missing the point by a mile and prove these "experts" don't have a clue about VDGG. The whole point was that this band were unique and defied any easy, lazy, categorizations into prog with the likes of Genesis and (god help us all), Yes.
There are other huge mistakes in the way this DVD is made up. The DVD originally starts going through each VDGG album chronologically. However I can only assume that the makers of this DVD ran out of video tape or something, as the DVD abruptly ends at Godbluff. Did no one tell them there were albums after that? How any can DVD purport to be a serious review of VDGG and not even mention Still Life? Worse still, I can only assume that this has been released to cash in on the renewed interest in the band after their reunion. Not a mention of this at all! Its as if VDGG just fell into a black hole in 1975 after Godbluff and were never seen again.
The archive footage from Rock Garden in 1970 was new to me, you can see a bits of a cracking version of "Darkness", "Whatever would Robert Have Said" and "Killer", but you only get a few seconds of this footage at a time, and it's continually broken up by the "experts" saying nothing that any average VDGG fan would need to know and sometime saying things that are so stupid they are downright embarrassing. One "expert" at one stage even says VDGG sound like "having your brain sucked out of your skull" - eh? Whatever he got paid to appear on this, it was too much! The other footage is just the material from Pawn Hearts and Godbluff that was released two years ago that I guess every fan has now.
So in summary, I gave this two stars as it's nice that it exists, but if you edited it down on iMovie to the bits worth watching (which are David Jackson's interview and the "Least we can do" period archive footage), it would last about 8 minutes.
Don't waste money buying this ,if you know and love this band, just rent it or borrow it off a mate who was daft enough to buy it ,if you want to see it, and please, please, please fast forward through the "experts". Great job eh, getting paid to talk crap about one of the greatest bands of all time!
VDGG are a great unique band and they deserve a proper film to be made about them. Hopefully someone will do this one day, this sure isn't it!"
Very interesting item
FGZ | Mexico | 11/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm reviewing for the recently 2 DVD edition and not for the single one. First DVD contains interviews with Dave Jackson, Nick Potter and C. J. Smith but not with VDGG leader Peter Hammill.
The second DVD is the best part because it features all the available TV appearences of the band: Darkness and Whatever would robert have said? from German TV Beat Club 1970, Theme One and Lightkeepers from Belgian TV 1972 and the complete Godbluff live set from Belgian TV 1975.
The beat club part has a great quality and the 1972 and 1975 shows are slightly inferior than the quality of the Godbluff DVD."