Posted by Sid Smith on Mar 30, 2018

King Crimson's Live In Vienna, due for release next week, has been reviewed by John Kelman at All About Jazz. Kelman says "Situated, chronologically, between Live in Toronto and Live in Chicago, Live in Vienna can be viewed as a transitional recording in more ways than one. In addition to documenting this particular version of the current Crimson lineup, it also finds the ever-evolving Crimson repertoire expanding once again. The 2016 tour introduced two pieces from 1970's seminal but, until more recently, often and unfairly overlooked Lizard. The septet's look at Lizard's album-opening "Cirkus" is closer, in its nightmare-inducing, multi-layered and massive spirit, to the original studio version, even with this twin-keyboard, pre-Rieflin return lineup. For the first time, Crimson could, due to reasons of size and instrumentation, more closely interpret the song in ways that the 1971/72 touring quartet simply could not, all while bringing it well into the 21st Century."

In an enthusiastic and detailed review, Kelman also spends some time considering the inclusion of Fracture on disc 3.

"Recorded at Crimson's September 24, 2016 date in Copenhagen, this version of "Fracture" may only be, in Fripp's view, somewhere between a 6.5 and 8 out of 10. It's also unlikely that many fans will, despite few having any comparative performances with which to refer, give this performance anything less than an 8 (or, even, a 9.5). Beyond Fripp still managing a slightly reworked version of the moto perpetuo with the kind of instrumental mastery that truly few guitarists can match, what makes this seven-piece look at one of the guitarist's most mind-boggling, classic compositions so compelling, with its multiple sections and mix of shifting and overlaid time signatures, is how it is, indeed, rearranged for the larger lineup.

Various guitar lines, both interlocking and migrating back and forth between Fripp and Jakszyk (who demonstrates his own mettle as a six-stringer here and, indeed, throughout the set) make for a provocative reinterpretation, in particular during its lengthy introduction but also during the moto perpetuo and following rubato section, where Collins solos at length on flute.

In addition to layered flute improvs at various points throughout (including, surprisingly, during the composition's ferocious climax), Collins also adds some effective baritone saxophone lines that sometimes double Levin while, at other times, acting contrapuntally. Levin ensures that original bassist Wetton's signature lines remain similarly massive while, being a more versatile, flexible and fluid player, also changing things up considerably, both extemporaneously and through moving between bass guitar (clean and heavily overdriven) to upright bass. His rapid-fire electric bass lines near the song's climactic conclusion mirror Harrison's especially attention-grabbing, wildly complex drum arrangement. Adding a (relatively) simple backbeat during parts of the moto perpetuo only shines a greater spotlight on the drum parts in the more frenetic sections that follow.

It's a true tour de force that may, sacrilegiously, even surpass and supplant performances by the 1972-'74 band in conception and explosive energy. It absolutely is, alongside the three soundscape improvisations that close the third disc, a primary reason to consider Live in Vienna an essential listen."

You can read the whole review here.

Live In Vienna is available from Inner Knot (USA) and Burning Shed (UK & EU).