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King Crimson: Neal And Jack And Me (DVD)

alright, get ahold of yourself
an' don't fight it, it's over your head
it's alright, the rumble in your ears
it's alright to feel a little fear
an' don't fight it, it's over your head
it's alright, you wake up in your bed

Two concert videos of Crimson's '81-'84 lineup of Adrian Belew, Bill Bruford, Robert Fripp, and Tony Levin make for three of a perfect pair on a new DGM DVD that carries a friendly price tag, i.e. less than a double sawbuck. The fifty-minute The Noise – Live In Frejus 1982 and the full-length Three Of A Perfect Pair – Live In Japan 1984 concert — with the band as headliner two years later — both only consist of music that was then new, save "Larks' Tongues In Aspic II." And it doesn't matter: this lineup proved to be a very special one, with new frontman Adrian Belew and new bassman (and Stickist) Tony Levin.

Gone was the Crimson of old, Belew simply in a class all his own, countering master Fripp's golem-like non-presence with his own animated eccentricities, and stark synth and feedback enabled guitar wizardy. Fripp, like always, carves some mean lead lines but is more known as the purveyor of his trademark chordal treatments and arpeggios. Bruford took advantage of new sampling and electronic drum technologies and incorporated those into his acoustic kit, with magical results. Levin's reputation as the consummate sessioner exceeds him; he also has a discography (and fan base) of his own. Into the new songs went funk-metal grooves and Stick-y staccato textures galore.

Of these two performances, I prefer the Frejus set; Crimson "warmed up" — as laughable as that may seem — for Roxy Music that year — or perhaps we can just go ahead and conclude that Brian Ferry and his cohorts were blown off the stage (okay, okay, I'll be nice!). Unlike the '84 document, there is no break in the action, which is how a concert vid should view. Beginning with Bruford's intro on a separate arrangement of Roland Octapads just a few feet from stage center, Belew, Fripp, and finally Levin take their positions and transition into "Matte Kudasai." "The Sheltering Sky" and "Indiscipline" are tasty wholesome treats. Three Of A Perfect Pair is not a straightaway run-through: the songs are interspersed with footage of the band moseying about in Tokyo. Bruf's kit has gotten a touch larger, Adrian still shakes his guitar as though he's exorcising a demon from it, and we get to see Tony play that killer bassline in "Sleepless" (the three G string snaps get their own close-up). What Perfect Pair has that Frejus doesn't is "Elephant Talk," one of the line-up's greatest songs (though the earlier live version can be found elsewhere on the DVD, albeit in audio format, only).

Extras include but are not limited to the promotional video for "Sleepless" (which I'd never seen before) and Tony Levin's not-so-secret passion for photography is represented by on-the-road photos. For Crimson fans, the contents speak for themselves. Complaints have already rung out about the mix (including the "missing" 5.1), but this is far better than not having the material on DVD. For the potential fan who hasn't even experienced the sterling live 2CD Absent Lovers, this is an even more affordable introduction—with visuals!


"Three Of A Perfect Pair – Live In Japan 1984"

1. Three Of A Perfect Pair
2. No Warning
3. Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part III
4. Thela Hun Ginjeet
5. Frame By Frame
6. Matte Kudasai
7. Industry
8. Dig Me
9. Indiscipline
10. Sartori In Tangier
11. Man With An Open Heart
12. Waiting Man
13. Sleepless
14. Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part II
15. Elephant Talk
16. Heartbeat

"The Noise – Live In Frejus 1982"

1. Waiting Man
2. Matte Kudasai
3. The Sheltering Sky
4. Neal And Jack And Me
5. Indiscipline
6. Heartbeat
7. Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part II


—"Sleepless" promotional video
—Tony's Road Photos

Added: January 20th 2005
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Related Link: King Crimson Dot Com
Hits: 4469
Language: english

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