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King Crimson - Absent Lovers - Live in Montreal, 1984  CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.43 | 298 ratings

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4 stars When it comes to live albums I'm a particularly difficult person. The way I see it, there are simply too many things that can go totally wrong with it. Or should I say that most bands just don't seem to live up to what I would call reasonable Live album standards. Of course, King Crimson is a known exception and also Absent Lovers defies all possible live album issues.

Production/sound. It often happens live albums suffer from inferior sound, but Absent Lovers won't disappoint you. This album sound every bit as detailed as the studio albums from this period. Everything is in perfect balance and each instrument can be followed all the way. As a bonus we get a more lively and rocking sound, which will please most Crimson fans.

Track list. This is very personal of course but so many live albums always seem to miss that one track that would have made them indispensable. With 1 hour 44 minutes, this album has about every track you want from the 81-84 Crimson incarnation. On top there's the two older tracks Red and Lark's Tongues II which are irresistible goodies that blend in well with the 80's Crimson sound. I could have lived without Dig Me though.

Relevance. Most bands are content with rendering perfect copies of the studio originals and don't add anything to the studio versions. In contrast with the 72-74 incarnation, this version of Crimson didn't improvise much around the material. Except for the scary intro soundscape Entry Of The Crims there's not much here that deviates from the known album material. The short guitar solo in Three of A Perfect Pair is a rare example.

Performance. An alternative reason to buy a live album is to hear your known favourites with an extra live adrenaline boost, a point where this album will surely not disappoint. Belew sings perfectly in tune and adds that extra bit of bite in his live vocals. Tony Levin adds good backing vocals and his powerful bass slapping is astounding. Bill Bruford then? Well, after 25 years I still have to find anything I could criticize in his drumming, and I certainly won't where it concerns his performance here. Same goes for Fripp obviously.

An excellent live document. Probably the only one Crimson fans should will need from this period.

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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