Album + Live
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To the uninformed, a new Crimson live album is probably a pleasure that is lost in the plethora of material currently on sale (at least ten live albums!). Vroom Vroom, however, applies the pleasure principle to the max. Previously available only to the initiated (On Broadway via the collector's club and Mexico City via download), DGM have finally set these monsters loose on the unsuspecting masses. As Robert Fripp himself states: " &this is an opportunity for the wider world to get lucky and Crim-out."
The use of the phrase 'get lucky' was never more apt. Mr F always claimed that the difference between KC in the studio and live was akin to the difference between a love letter and a hot date. The grainy visceral quality of the Mexico gig is, indeed like 'going all the way' - sweaty and fleeting. Maybe audiences in Central America are less male-orientated than the normal beard-stroking devotees, but this is avant-metal at its sexiest. Fripp's measured noise, here comes across as far filthier than the norm. A dangerous ragged beast pixellated by Adrian Belew's incandescent fretwork. Witness the crushing intro to "Larks Tongues In Aspic" and the truly punishing power of "Red". All propelled by a steam-hammer rhythm section of bass players Levin and Gunn and drummers Bruford and Mastelotto.
Possibly the only criticism to level at this double set is the chronological incongruity which results in the first disc being from 1996 and the second from 1995. The second disc's set from the Longacre Theatre, Broadway shows the double trio format finding its feet on the Thrak tour - highlighting the more melodic side of their persona with the lovely "Walking On Air" and "One Time", yet still interspersed by jagged classics such as "Indiscipline". Again, as Fripp says: "It was a messy conglomerate of exceptional, exuberant, experienced and energetic talent&". Compare and contrast the thrill of the line up attempting more vertiginous numbers such as "Neurotica" on the 1996 Thrakattak tour. This is a band that is having large amounts of FUN - even dusting off the ancient history of "21st Century Schizoid Man" for one more spine-tingling ride around the block. Crimson on this superb form will always be the most intimate and dangerous encounter you could wish for. Go out and score...