It's this line up that's been recorded on the newly released Live At The Lowry DVD on the MVD Visual label. The concert was filmed in 2003 and features eighteen tracks representing the band's first five albums. It would seem like this disc represents a perfect opportunity for those fans looking for a filmed record of the band's greatest hits or those interested in checking them out for the first time.
Unfortunately, what's on display on this DVD won't serve either purpose, as it bears little if any resemblance to what the band was in their heyday. It has nothing to do with the new members either, as they are both gifted instrumentalists, with Fluff, in particular, having a wonderful singing voice and a great stage presence. The trouble lies with the two original members of the band, whose abilities on this night range from the barely competent to the abysmal.
While Heron still retains some presence on stage, he is constantly straining to reach notes with his voice, and, when he sits at the keyboard, he plays with the tentativeness of a hunt and peck typist. But even sadder is Clive Palmer, who simply looks lost, confused, and barely able to play his banjo or sing in time. The occasional missed note is understandable, but it became embarrassing to watch his fingers stumble along the fret board as he hunts around for the right notes.
While the sound and picture quality of the disc were superb, and the efforts of Fluff and Lawson Dando were admirable, there was nothing for them to support. The two supposed leads in the group were uninspiring, and the performance was boring. Live At The Lowry is a performance by the Incredible String Band in name only. Former members of the band might have been playing songs they had performed thirty to forty years ago, but that's the only thing that bore any resemblance to the original.
If you want to hear the Incredible String Band, I'd recommend you buy some re-mastered CDs of their original recordings and not waste your time with this DVD.