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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.

Ian Fortnam

Commissioning both album reviews and live reviews, Classic Rock reviews editor Ian has been fearlessly filtering the rock from the cock since 2003.