Letter to The Wire, March 2007

Many thanks for the interesting feature on Seismic Performances (The Wire 276). The stipulation that the writers had to have actually been at the concerts they described was undoubtedly the right way to proceed, although it meant that some of the selections were rather less seismic than the title suggested.

My own choice would have to be the 2005 Royal Festival Hall reunion concert by Van Der Graaf Generator. Onstage for the first time in almost 30 years (except for a couple of ad hoc appearances), these four unassuming middle aged men tore ferociously into their repertoire, banishing accusations of nostalgia with sustained sax- and organ-fuelled intensity. Coming the day after Blair’s re-election, the line “Every bloody emperor with his sickly rictus grin talks his way out of nearly anything but the lie within” was chilling in its timeliness.

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