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DISTRICT 97 WITH JOHN WETTON: One More Red Night – Live In Chicago

The 21st century proggers on home turf and in star company.

Or, more appropriately perhaps, John Wetton with District 97.

This quality live set was recorded at Reggie’s Music Joint in Chicago back in October 2013, during D97’s tour with the Crimson/Asia legend. Wetton has heartily endorsed these up ‘n’ comers, dubbing them ‘the best young progressive band around right now’, and they were certainly the highlight of Celebr8.2 for this writer, with charismatic frontlady Leslie Hunt a total revelation. Sadly, she’s hardly to be heard here. The accent is on D97 as Wetton’s backing band as they make through a set of nine Crimson covers, from the title-donating One More Red Nightmare to The Great Deceiver, Lament, The Night Watch and into must-play 21st Century Schizoid Man, Starless and set-closer Easy Money. It takes, guts, gumption and real instrumental talent to stand behind the man and convincingly render these tendon tearing mellonfarmers, and the boys in the band (drummer/founder Jonathan Schang, keyboardist Rob Clearfield, bassist Patrick Mulcahy, axeman Jim Tashjian) do this with aplomb. Hunt’s low profile aside it is a good listen, but District 97’s third album is what we’re really waiting for around here.