John Wetton: Live Via Satellite

Prog royalty live and in the raw.

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He has contributed to some of the world’s most respected prog and rock bands, and John Wetton has also appeared with various line-ups for his own solo tours.

However, the two concerts on this double-disc are examples of Wetton’s one-man show. With one set from a Washington DC satellite radio show from 2001 (previously available to download from Wetton’s website) and one from a radio broadcast in Stockholm in 1998 (thought to have been lost and previously unreleased), we get songs from various points in an enviable career. The track listings are very similar: only five tunes across both discs aren’t repeated. Armed with an acoustic guitar and minimal backing tracks, Wetton gives songs like Asia’s Heat Of The Moment and King Crimson’s Starless a quite different character, more raw and perhaps more poignant. On solo tracks Arkangel and Battlelines and UK’s Rendezvous 6:02, he loses the extraneous instrumental sections of the originals yet still ends up with the essentials of the songs intact. Not everything works stripped back, and this isn’t for those seeking techno-flash, but for those seeking a different side to this songwriter and performer, this set makes interesting listening.

Gary Mackenzie

Gary has contributed reviews and news features for Prog Magazine for over a decade now. A fan of prog and heavy rock since childhood, his main areas of interest are classic and symphonic prog, prog-metal and modern acts bringing in fresh influences to the genre. He has a professional background in youth and community work, he teaches drum kit in schools and is a working musician. Gary was the drummer in semi-legendary NWOBHM band Praying Mantis for a couple of years and has been a member of indie-prog-pop-art-rock combo The Mighty Handful for more than twenty years. He loves cats and skiing, and has a Blue Peter badge.