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

ABSENT LOVERS - LIVE IN MONTREAL, 1984

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.43 | 298 ratings

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Harry Hood
4 stars Most people only mildly interested in King Crimson will probably only hear Discipline from the 80's era. The other two albums are ignored or forgotten. While latter two albums may not be masterpieces on the same level as Discipline, there are plenty of hidden gems on those albums to enjoy. The setlist on this live release, which was KC's last show before yet another breakup, provides an excellent summary of the 80's era.

The show opens with the eerie improv, "Entry Of The Crims". This is very different from anything heard by any of the KC lineups, and in some ways is a preview of the kinds of things we could expect from Thrak, which would come ten years later. This improv smoothly transitions into LTIA Part III, which is very surprising to hear. Part III is like Part II's fabulous cousin, who doesn't rock as hard, but is an excellent and precisely played jam that is also great to dance to. This song then smoothly transitions into Thela Hun Ginjeet, which is played with a lot of energy. Belew's lyrics are omitted, which makes it easier to focus on the music. Levin is on fire for this song, playing the familiar bass groove and also showing off quite a bit. The other members play with just as much energy and each of them gets a chance to show off as well.

As other reviewers have said, the first set contains most of the "weird stuff" as Belew calls it, though the audience does get a break with "Matte Kudasai". The second set focuses on the more conventional pop songs. But even if these are pop songs, they are still far more interesting and challenging than what Yes, Rush, and Asia were releasing at the same time. It proves how King Crimson was able to make challenging and progressive rock while still adapting to the new wave sound.

For anyone interested in hearing what 80's Crimson was all about, this album is the perfect introduction. In some ways, this album makes the studio albums, including the brilliant Discipline, almost unnecessary.

Harry Hood | 4/5 |

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