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King Crimson - Live In Chicago album review

Prog exemplars regenerate in style

King Crimson - Live In Chicago album artwork

It would be fair to say that King Crimson are enjoying something of a career renaissance, if they weren’t always enjoying a career renaissance. Here, captured for posterity on this latest ‘official’ bootleg, is the ensemble that lead guitarist and eternal KC presence Robert Fripp categorises as Formation 8.3, cutting loose on the cusp of yet another new beginning in Chicago on June 28, 2017. The band boast a formidable line-up that includes saxophonist Mel Collins and bass’n’stick maestro Tony Levin, alongside recruits of a more recent vintage (ex-P-Tree drummer Gavin Harrison and adept guitar and vocal focal point Jakko Jakszyk). Fripp’s sleevenotes recognise that no simple document can reasonably capture the experience of an audience in the moment, but …Chicago boasts its fair share of highs – not least a stratospheric stab at Bowie’s Heroes, upon which Fripp’s soaring Frippertronics were always the co-star. ‘Hits’ like Epitaph and In The Court Of The Crimson King might be absent, but reworked takes on Larks’ Tongues In Aspic (Part One and Two), Indiscipline, Starless and 21st Century Schizoid Man typify a performance of rare, if characteristic, brilliance.

Classic Rock’s Reviews Editor for the last 19 years, Ian stapled his first fanzine in 1977. Since misspending his youth by way of ‘research’ his work has also appeared in such publications as Metal Hammer, Prog, NME, Uncut, Kerrang!, VOX, The Face, The Guardian, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Electronic Sound, Record Collector and across the internet. Permanently buried under mountains of recorded media, ears ringing from a lifetime of gigs, he enjoys nothing more than recreationally throttling a guitar and following a baptism of punk fire has played in bands for 45 years, releasing recordings via Esoteric Antenna and Cleopatra Records.