1993's blistering return to form finds IQ rediscovering the mojo they displaced after 1985's dark, stark, startlingly brilliant `The Wake', a fact not entirely unconnected to vocalist Peter Nicholls' return to the band. But there is more to it than this. It sounds like the whole band has taken stock after a couple of below-par albums, stopped trying to be something they are not, and asserted the collective personality, sound and approach that has served them well right up to this day.
Living Proof documents an IQ concert from May 1985 recorded for the British television series Live From London. The LP edition was released without the band's consent (or knowledge) and bore poor sound quality, and was deleted in 1987. Giant Electric Pea (a label managed by IQ members) reissued it with improved sound quality in 1992. This is a good performance. Most of the material comes from the then-recently released The Wake; six of the album's seven tracks are included. These songs differ very little from the studio recordings, but "Outer Limits" gets extra value in terms of punch, and overall this album provides an opportunity to hear how the material translated into a live setting. Paradoxically, the band sounds tighter and more confident here than on The Wake. Of more interest are the powerfully delivered "Awake and Nervous" (from Tales From the Lush Attic), the riveting "It All Stops Here" (from the band's self-released first album), and "Just Changing Hands" (the B-side of the 7" single "Barbell Is In"). These are the real treats.
This CD was not on general sale, all copies have been given-away to attendees at the London and Zoetermeer 2017 Christmas concerts, with the left-overs sold-out through the band's official website. It is now out of print. As you may know by now, this year sees the 20th anniversary of the iconic IQ Christmas Bash(es). To mark this auspicious occasion the boys are giving away a free ‘Christmas-themed’ archive collection CD as a thank you to everyone attending the shows in London or Zoetermeer. With design by Tony Lythgoe and new artwork from Peter Nicholls, the album ‘Tales from a Dark Christmas’ consists of 6 tracks including the 20 minute epic ‘The Dark Christmas Suite’ complete with Tron choirs, ‘big juicy bass pedals’ big proggy ending and of course Alastair Sim!
The Archive Collection: IQ20 is a live album by British progressive rock band IQ released in 2003. The album is the first installment of a series of original bootlegs releases, and was recorded on 16 February 2002 at the Colos-Saal, in Aschaffenburg, Germany, during IQ's 20th anniversary tour. Recorded live in concert from the personal soundboard archives of the band, IQ's 20 is an essential acquisition. This 2 CD package is from the "The Seventh House" tour and contains many of IQ's great songs including a stunning opening into "Awake & Nervous", a great version of "The Wrong Side Of Weird" and a haunting beautiful version of "The Last Human Gateway".