King Crimson: Live In Toronto

Blame Canada for this high-quality official bootleg.

TODO alt text

As someone almost said, you don’t have to be a Crimson fan to buy this, but it helps. But if you are new to KC and pick this up, you might be pleasantly surprised. The prickly, jazz-rock beast of old isn’t exactly tamed, but the modern septet are at their most accessible and dynamic – minimally free-form, no extended jams – on this official bootleg from one particularly high-quality night on the band’s 2015 Canadian tour.

The 18-track set-list – including new tracks Radical Action and Meltdown, natural continuations of 2003’s The Power To Believe album – show off a number of virtuosos perfectly. Standouts are many, but Mel Collins’s flighty winds are a treat – especially the tickle of La Marseillaise on Larks’ Tongues and his wonderfully malevolent honking on Level Five – with drummers Pat Mastelotto, Bill Reiflin and musical director Gavin Harrison swinging like pendulums on the sleazy Pictures Of A City and percussive cavalcade Hell Hounds Of Krim.

Tony Levin A-frames the whole thing in his typically cool, earthy fashion as Crimson King Robert Fripp and Jakko Jakszyck’s guitar parts (and Jakszyck’s expressive vocal) on Starless result in three minutes of solid applause. And there’s still In The Court Of The Crimson King and an adrenalised, big-band-style 21st Century Schizoid Man to go. What a set.