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John Wetton - Sub Rosa: Live In Milan 1998 CD (album) cover


John Wetton


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3.79 | 5 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars 30 years

This one is the second acoustic live album by John Wetton to reach my ears and this is clearly the better of the two (the other one being called Amata). Featuring an acoustic performance by John Wetton on vocals and guitar, David Kilminster on guitars and backing vocals and Martin Orford from IQ on keyboards, flute and backing vocals, Sub Rosa is a great acoustic album (though, the keyboards are plugged in). Recorded in Italy in the late 90's, the performance is very impressive with great lead and backing vocals, guitars, mellow flutes, piano and symphonic keyboards.

The set list consists of classic songs from John Wetton's by then 30 year career with selections by King Crimson, UK and Asia as well as some of the best songs from his solo albums. Fans of progressive rock will be most delighted to hear the seven minute acoustic version of King Crimson's Easy Money as well as the superb Book Of Saturday and UK's 30 Years and Rendez-Vous 6:02. Another favourite of mine here is the terrific version of Asia's Sole Survivor; originally on Asia's self titled debut, the song is here delivered in a very different version. Unlike many 'unplugged' performances this one is not all soft and mellow, the guitars are not timid and some more intense instrumental moments are allowed, making the concert varied and interesting throughout. Quilmes is a piano solo by Martin Orford.

The version of Asia's Heat Of The Moment performed here, a song I don't normally like, is much better than the original version in my opinion. Battle Lines is in my view the best song to come off a John Wetton solo album and it works nicely here. Arkangel from the album of the same name is also nice, but Emma from that same album is even better. I usually hate songs with girl's names as titles, but Emma is beautiful and another Wetton classic.

Wetton's distinctive voice is strong and this is an excellent acoustic performance. The songs are all ones that will forever be associated with John and Sub Rosa is a highly recommended place (together with one of his electric live recordings) for Prog fans to get acquainted with Wetton's solo career.

Excellent addition to any Prog collection!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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