|Pop Rock Magazine 30th October 1976 (In French)|
|Quebec October 7th
Along with Scotty McDougal, I met up with Pierre Brooke of CHOI radio station. An interview was scheduled with Van der Graaf this afternoon but the band arrived a little late so it was postponed until tomorrow. While Scotty is busy making different calls, I go off to the Salle des Congrès where Pat Moran and his team are preparing various installations for the stage. Outside, hundreds of fans await impatiently for the doors to open. The concert is at 8:30 and it's only 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I learn that the concert is sold out, meaning that more than 2500 people will see VdGG tonight. It's the biggest concert of the tour. There is electricity in the air. Québec city proves to be the most fanatical towards the coming of the '4 Van der Graafs'.
At 5 o'clock, the band arrives for the soundcheck.. David Jackson carefully checks his 2 octoboxes (electronic box that allows his sax to go two octaves below the low E on a guitar) and his 'écholette'(echo box). Peter Hammill sings nonsense while they test his microphone. Guy Evans rolls out a beat to which the roadies start dancing to pass the time. And Hugh Banton, he is with me for a few moments, so I ask him about the new organ he uses. He completely built it himself to combine different possibilities of multiple organs into one. "I don't like having many instruments around me. Also I'm not crazy about synthesizers and mellotrons." He explains that he never took any real courses in electronics except for a lengthy work experience for the BBC in England. I asked him about the collaborations of Robert Fripp (King Crimson). "He's an old friend. He came to work with us on Pawn Hearts because he sympathized with the project." His interlocutor then asks if it's true that Fripp is really this bizarre, introverted character that doesn't like to work with just anybody. "Yes. He is like me. Actually we are both Taurus'. While talking, I learn that Hugh is one hundred percent Scottish. I don't know what this has to do with the article but a little gossip doesn't hurt anyone. Then Peter comes off stage and drags us into the lodge to have a drink and smoke some 'wacky tabacky'.
7 o'clock. It's time for lunch! Outside there is a crowd. The police try to calm them down. Already 20 youths have broken down the gates and have illegally entered the Salle des Congrès. Management of the venue are nervous. The police become agitated. The crowd are on the verge of a riot. Meanwhile, the members of Van der Graaf slip out the back door and go off to eat at the hotel. On their way back, it would take them police car to get through the crowd to get to their specially reserved entrance.
8:30. 3000 spectators cramped in the Salle des Congrès can finally relieve the extraordinary tension that terrorized the security guards and Québec policemen. In Québec, that night was truly Van der Graafmania. The police had an impossible time controlling the circulation of the crowd that endlessly file into the building.
Around 9 o'clock a storm of clapping erupted. Peter, Hugh, Dave and guy enter the stage. Here in Québec, we've waited a long time for VdGG. And tonight, the band gave their best show. The largest audience, the best acoustics, their best performance and tonight, beyond all expectations Van der Graaf Generator played Man-Erg. As an encore, they did "Killer", that classic from the album H to He.
We don't know what motivated Peter and his friends to play older Van der Graaf material but as a fan who also was a roadie explained "They just had to do it!"
The next day, Friday, Van der Graaf gave an interview at the CHOI radio station. Actually Peter and Guy speak a respectable French. Also Peter Hammill presented all the songs in this language we all know.