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Previous Item   November 20, 2015  Next Item SOUND  VISION WORD
    Queen Elizabeth Theatre    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
CD Cover Photo

Itís a strange feeling to hear Larksí Tongues In Aspic Part One opening a concert after an absence of 40 years from the King Crimson setlist. Strange exhilarating. Just as the original recording served as a kind of overture heralding a new adventure in the ongoing KC story, so it does here.

There are so many highlights just within the one piece; Pat summoning Jamie Muirís presence in the introductory build; the pounding theme; Jakkoís spidery lines scuttling between percussive salvos; Robert and Tonyís short-but-sweet soloing underpinned by Gavinís driving beats; Mel Collinsí wry flute solo and Billís haunting atmospherics; the triumphant downbeat into the bittersweet coda. Itís one hell of a way to open a gig.

Pictures Of A City never sounded as forceful or as dynamic as it does performed by this line-up. With scorching vocals and barbed wire lead lines, the three drummers meld into one body spurring the entire ensemble onwards. Collinsí feverish sax solo in the middle section ups the temperature as he does in the glowering improv during The Letters.

Yet listening to the concert it becomes obvious that thereís no single star of this show. This Crimson is all about teamwork; the work of one supporting the work of many, to borrow a well-known phrase. Thereís the thrill of the big set-piece moments and the joy in alighting upon the tiny, painstaking details that have been invested into the fabric of this music.

Radical Action... and Meltdown typify that approach. A classic Crim rollercoaster of simultaneously ascending and descending dovetailing lines and baton-passing beats calculated to create a wildly dynamic yet intricate mechanism.

As the last notes of a barn-storming Starless dies away, smoldering under the intense red stage light, itís one hell of a way to close a gig. And after the encores King Crimson stand reinvented and triumphant taking deserved applause after turning in an astonishingly powerful performance.

Please note a 2-disc Collectors Club Special Edition of this show (identical to this download) will be available mail order from March 17th.

Disc Number 1
1.  Threshold Soundscape  [PREVIEW]  4.00
2.  Larks Tongues In Aspic Part I  [PREVIEW]  10.29
3.  Pictures Of A City  [PREVIEW]  8.32
4.  VROOOM  [PREVIEW]  5.18
5.  Radical Action To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind  [PREVIEW]  3.20
6.  Meltdown  [PREVIEW]  4.51
7.  Hell Hounds Of Krim  [PREVIEW]  3.31
8.  The ConstruKction Of Light  [PREVIEW]  6.44
9.  Red  [PREVIEW]  6.47
10.  Epitaph  [PREVIEW]  9.02
Disc Number 2
1.  Banshee Legs Bell Hassle  [PREVIEW]  1.43
2.  Easy Money  [PREVIEW]  8.33
3.  Level Five  [PREVIEW]  7.04
4.  The Letters  [PREVIEW]  5.38
5.  Sailors Tale  [PREVIEW]  6.56
6.  Starless  [PREVIEW]  15.18
7.  The Court Of The Crimson King  [PREVIEW]  7.17
8.  21st Century Schizoid Man  [PREVIEW]  11.41

All previews are MP3 192kbps

Robert Fripp Guitar Keyboards
Jakko Jakszyk Guitar and Voice
Mel Collins Saxes and Flute
Tony Levin Basses Stick Backing Vocals
Gavin Harrison Drums Electronic Percussion
Bill Rieflin Drums Electronic Percussion Keyboards
Pat Mastelotto Drums Electronic Percussion


Audio Source: Multi-Track

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Fan Reviews

 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars6 out of 5 starsIt's gold!, Sun., May 8, 2016
Written by Spradlinn

Iíve been living with the Live in Toronto disc in my car for the past two weeks, and since my commute each way is at least 45 minutes, Iím very familiar with it now. I love it! Is it me, or is Fripp sounding better than ever? That intro guitar melody at the beginning of Epitaph just freaking kills me. It passes right through my body and gives me the chills. So epic, breathtaking. That one little line has so much anguish and resignation in it. The echo he puts on that guitar and softly picked riff is just as amazing as the album version, fín brilliant and haunting. In my opinion, Epitaph is King Crimsonís most epic, anthemic, timeless song ever, surpassing even In the Court of the Crimson King in itís grandiosity. In a catalog thatís filled with those superlatives. And Jakko does an admirable job with the vocals, and Greg Lakeís original is hard to beat. The lyrics are the most profound of any theyíve ever written, Peter Sinfield was such a poet, one of the very best in rock-n-roll. So glad theyíve resurrected it for todayís line-up. My only quibble is the drumming on Epitaph, especially during the chorus (For I fear...). Just think the snare on the and of three each measure kind of stunts the flow somehow. But the rest of the band is on fire and just perform the shit out of it. Just think the drumming is a little too prog--rock, check-out-these-fills, at times on several songs, most notably the epics, Epitaph and ITCOCK. It is not a crime to just play the ride cymbal during the climactic parts of a song, which wouldíve helped the chorus of Epitaph, I think. A ride cymbal opens up the song from the closed hi-hats to a more dynamic uplift. Itís tried and true and never fails a song. Itís the only misstep in the song, however. I understand the drummers are trying to change things up and try new things. And this is Harrisonís territory because he has the most drums and feels he must use them all. But it is possible to be too prog when you play the drums.

There, Iíve said it.

Nobody enjoys a good thousand-note, complicated, over the bar drum fill than I, but it must never clutter the song just trying to impress with boundary-less creativity. I know itís a fine line with this type of music, which begs for creative and never before heard instrumental explorations, which is the Crimson way. But Bruford was always musical, as was Wallace, and Mastelloto knows that. Even Giles and his flurry of fills matched the music, and his approach to ITCOCK and Epitaph on the original album is case in point, he helped epic be epic, and went apeshit like Moon-on-coke when it needed it, but pulled back for those somber classics. I think it is Harrison who is to blame for a little too much over ambitiousness. Canít blame him. Heís obviously learned every fill and lick from the masters, from Bruford, Collins, Peart, Weckl, Barlow, Phillips to Colaiuta, and this is his chance to prove it. Donít get me wrong, he doesnít ruin the songs, but may step out of the songwritersí approach and more into that over-enthusiastic, percussive bombast more than occasionally. Precision is not Gavinís problem. Just reigning it in and being a bit more deferential to what the song needs and how he can support it may be something he needs to work on during some tunes. My prediction is that he wonít stay in this line-up too long, but heíll have a hard time finding an outfit of writerís with anywhere near the vision and originality of KC and Robert Fripp. Weíll see. But he hasnít stamped me with that "That is so Gavin Harrisoní in his playing the way those other drummers have. Yet. I know the guy has the talent.

Now, that said, when the drummers three let loose on songs that demand it, 21st Century Schizoid Man, Level 5, Pictures of a City, man, itís frickiní thrilling, and Harrison shines. Love Mastellotoís e-percussion sounds, the bells, the chimes, etc. Witness, the intro of Larkís Tongues in Aspic Part 1, which Iím so glad they included! Love Part 2, but heard it so many times that Part 1 is so refreshing to hear. And Pictures of a City is my current favorite. Man, they just rip that fast instrumental section to shreds!!! Mel Collins adds so much to everything. Heís kind of this line-upís ace-in-the-hole, IMO. Frippís addition of him has added everything to their epicness and potential, allowing them to do the early stuff such justice.

Also, love how the Letter flows right into Sailorís Tale. Thereís a few slightly underwhelming versions of a few tunes. I thought Red, with itís strange but cool new intro, didnít have quite the power that it usually has. Vroom and Constucktion of Light might miss Belewís spark. Jakkoís a decent guitarist, but he still doesnít impress me, and heís probably the weakest link in my opinion. Just doesnít show the instrumental individuality of Fripp, or Levin, or Mastelloto, or Collins. He doesnít have a stand out guitar moment, just passably plays his parts. Amazing parts, but really someone elseís. And the Meltdown song, oh my. I wouldíve left off the album. Jakkoís lyrics are a little embarrassing. Like heís trying to be Belew with the word play, but doesnít have much to say. I know thatís harsh, but itís my opinion, so it means nothing to anybody but me! And the music of Meltdown, even for Fripp, is kind of listless, Crimson-lite. Fripp can write this stuff in his sleep, so itís a little disappointing, especially if the new stuff is going to be like Meltdown. Also, thought Starless is great, but the version we saw in Boston was way better, more uplifting. Any performer can tell you, it changes on the night. But this band performs as close to flawless as youíll find.

Anyway, if youíre a Crim fan of any era, buy this! You will love it! Love the album even with itís miniscule flaws. Frickiní Pictures, Epitaph, ItCOCK, 21st, Letter, Sailorís, Easy Money, the drum thing, itís all great. Most of the prog bands have sputtered out, and there literally is only one out there that is still challenging the listener and blowing us away. At least, now that Bowie is gone. And Fripp, at his age, is putting them all to shame. Long Live Fripp and the Crim!!



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