(All Album Reviews by Boceephus)
Released in late 2007 by a Japanese label, this CD is available stateside through Abstract Logix. This appears to be the same as an earlier release titled Concert Classics 4. It has been packaged in a mini-LP sleeve, including a slip cover and insert. The insert is written in Japanese, except for track titles.
The sound quality is good. It sounds as though no studio overdubs were punched in later. Each musician has his share of clams (mistakes) that are very apparent, especially Allan Holdsworth's guitar. Some notes are not fingered properly or just missing.
The tracks, a mix of those from the s/t U.K. release and the follow up, Danger Money. Hearing Bruford and Holdsworth's playing “Carrying No Cross”, “The Only Thing She Needs” and “Caesar's Palace Blues” offers a slight variation from the DM studio project. Be aware, there is some improvisation, contrary to complaints made in print over the disputes within the band. Obviously these takes offer a bit more air and spontaneity than on the future Bozzio propelled album. Wetton's voice is good, cracking and a bit off here and there, but nothing to ruin the moment. I do enjoy Holdsworth's jazzy underpinning in the softer lyrical opening to “Carrying No Cross”. Allan's is not simply laying out during the chordal segue before the blowing begins, as is oft referrenced. He plays fills and lightning runs throughout. Wetton's live bass action harkens back to King Crimson’s glory days, even taking a solo 6 minutes in. Jobson sounds compelled to give Holdsworth a run at center stage as the piece moves forward, swelling and evolving with full band interplay. Holdsworth pulls off a stunning solo before breaking back into the vocal theme.
The “Thirty Years” intro is a beautiful clean picked guitar over synthesized sweet violin washes. Wetton attempts to be soft but struggles a bit with a few notes. The audio is very clear, nary any crowd noise, with Bruford's cymbals filling space before the band leaps into a tight instrumental section. Wetton fuzzes up his bass lines and Holdsy chords along before Jobson's keys take control. Another smoking AH solo before coming back down to another verse. Holdsworth solos out to Jobson's “Presto Vivace” synth intro to “In the Dead of Night”. Holdsworth rips it up again. Getting outside into a improv showcase. No shortage of fireworks here. Even little stumbles get you into the moment, rather than detracting.
The final track, “Caesar's Palace Blues” is interestingly contrasted from the studio take with some fun trade-offs from EJ and AH, sounding like they are totally digging the play. EJ saws the hell out of his violin. This one appears to be fun and spontaneous, even when Wetton completely blows the lyrics.
At $30.00 this is expensive and probably only for completionists like myself, but it is a great moment in time for this short-lived band. 3.75 stars. Prog On!