What does it sound like?:
The live releases from Crimson keep coming and are the gifts that just keep on giving. This 5 cd set, covering the years 2014 to 2018, was on sale at the band’s gigs on their recent tour, but has now been given a deserved wider release.
The material covers performances from the first show by this incarnation in New York in 2014 up to one of their most recent gigs in Tokyo in December of last year, devoting one cd to each year. The current line up is now the most enduring in the band’s half century of operations, and they have lost none of their spark – indeed, as the years have passed the creative fire has seemed to burn ever brighter. As purchasers of their previous live offerings will expect, this set has been superbly curated, and is accompanied by a very nice 24 page booklet.
Musically, the playing and improvisations are off the scale, and even when pieces are repeated on different cds no two performances are the same – there are always differences, some subtle, some more obvious. There are some great Crim classics here such as Moonchild, Starless and Red, plus some quite radical reinterpretations of 80’s material like Indiscipline and Neurotica. There’s also a top version of Breathless from Fripp’s solo album Exposure plus A Scarcity of Miracles and The Light of Day from the Fripp Jakszyk Collins band that foreshadowed the current incarnation of Crimson. For me though, the highlights of the recent shows, and of this comprehensive and excellently compiled and presented set, are the pieces that were newly written for this line up, such as Radical Action, Level Five and Meltdown.
Quite simply one of the best live bands around at the moment – hear them in their natural environment and marvel!
What does it all *mean*?
Another essential addition to the collection for the fan, but this set also gives a good overview of the band’s career for those wondering what all the fuss is about.
Goes well with…
Great musicianship, pushing the boundaries.
Might suit people who like…
Concentrated listening and wondering just how they do it.