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King Crimson - Neal and Jack and Me CD (album) cover

NEAL AND JACK AND ME

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

3.88 | 62 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars King Crimson's 2004 video release of Neal and Jack and Me is a combination package of two previously released videos from the band that are now very hard to find on their original sources. Both are from the often underrated 80s era of the group, where the sound was a concise and often dense form of new wave pop with many progressive tendencies. Both videos have decent video quality, but keep in mind it was the 80s and our views of great video quality now are drastically different than back in the 80s. The sound is also lush and every member gets a proper mix and no one is left out of the mix. What you get here is two shows (both with similar sets, with Live at Frejus having 2/3 of its set the same as the Three of a Perfect Pair video) with great differences in overall mood and some wild improvisation as well.

The first show that you can watch on this set is Three of a Perfect Pair Live in Japan, which is the bulk of the set. It begins out of sequence with Three of a Perfect Pair being the first song played (even though it doesn't open the show). I get a bit annoyed with the video effects on this song, which feel very cliched and they throw the mood of the song off. After an introduction in which all the members are presented (you even hear Fripp's voice!), No Warning opens the set with a nice varience of mixed effects and improvisational lines that break loose once Fripp introduces Larks Tongue in Aspic Pt. III with the wild guitar intro. The next three songs, Thela Hun Ginjeet, Frame By Frame (which would happen in the set after Red, but it was mysteriously absent), and Matte Kudasai are all well played and well sung by Belew.

Industry is quite a sight to watch, because at one point Bruford is what appears to be sniffing his drum sticks as he brings one down and one up. Belew also gets a chance on this dvd to show off his drum skills, playing the drum intro to Indiscipline to keep a beat while Bruford goes on a tangent as he continues his drum solo. And on Sartori in Tangier Belew offers a nice unison performance with Bruford to create the necessary percussive sound. And on Waiting Man, Belew plays harmonically and very well alongside Bruford on the percussion. The show on the whole is very good and makes up for the bulk of the set.

Live at Frejus is a 50 minute video comprised of seven songs. The opener, Waiting Man, is one of the most emotional pieces I've seen, especially since it's drawn out to 8 minutes where the percussion really gets a good workout. Belew's vocal performance here is also very emotive and could bring a man to tears. After a ripping Matte Kudasai, The Sheltering Sky is played with Bruford opening it up with a precise african slit board performance. This piece also gets drawn out a few extra minutes, with nice extended passages from both Belew and Fripp and great interplay between the two. Neal and Jack and Me follows with some more slightly out of sync guitars and some fun vocals from Belew and some great leads from Fripp (which sound rather dissonant over the non-dissonant song). The rest of the set is also represented on the first show, so you can expect much of the same (except Bruford's drum solo is mildly different right before Indiscipline, in which Belew draws out the song to around 10 minutes with his vocals).

But that's not all, there's a nice collage of Tony Levin's photos with music from the shows on the disc in the background as well as the video for Sleepless. Nice additions, but they aren't terribly spectacular.

In the end, Neal and Jack and Me is the ultimate dvd for the 80s King Crimson aficionado, Beat and Three of a Perfect Pair get well represented as well as the classic Discipline material. Even if you aren't a huge fan of 80s Crimson, I'd recommend this video because they are a great band to watch live. All fans of the group or progressive rock should also get this because of the same sentiments. 4.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |

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