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King Crimson - Park West, Chicago, Illinois (August 7, 2008) CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.17 | 14 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Having attended this show I am a bit biased, but it is one of the best concerts I've ever seen and is captured wonderfully on this web-only release. The 2008 King Crimson was an "all- stars" lineup, having lost Trey Gunn but adding Tony Levin back into the fold and welcoming Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison into an exclusive club. KC stalwarts Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew and Pat Mastellatto rounded out the group. If that weren't enticing enough, the set list reads like a King Crimson Greatest Hits, featuring classics like "Frame By Frame" and "Larks' Tongues in Aspic Pt. II" alongside the modern genius of "Level Five" and "The ConstruKction of Light." For the most part, KC is incredibly tight and play with consummate professionalism. Though there are some warts here and there, this is currently the only show available from this era and belongs in the King Crimson fan's digital library.

After Fripp's brief "Introductory Soundscape," Mastelotto and Harrison battle for supremacy on "Drum Duet." Harrison usually comes out ahead in these confrontations, which isn't really a fair fight since Gavin plays the more traditional drum kit and Pat adds electronic flourishes and polyrhythm. The two play confidently and seem well rehearsed. I can't say the same of Levin, who struggles with some of the newer material (particularly "TCOL"). His somewhat sloppy performance was improved over the Nashville show I saw a few weeks prior, and is still impressive considering the difficulty of the material. Legend has it that Levin had to learn the songs by ear with limited email guidance courtesy of Dunn, which makes the feat all the more remarkable. After the band warms up on "The ConstruKction of Light," a rendition of the 1974 classic "Red" explodes with heavy fervor. "Frame by Frame" sees Belew and Fripp do what only they can do, and they do it well. "Neurotica" was a real surprise and one I was not expecting, but this deep cut had me grinning from ear to ear. This is followed by a rare ensemble performance of "Three of a Perfect Pair," a song usually reserved for Belew to play solo.

You could cut the tension with a knife as "Talking Drum" continued to build, and everyone knew what was coming - the monstrous "Larks' Tongues in Aspic Pt. II." By far the highlight of the evening, Fripp himself describes the moment best: "During the first long climbing section in Larks II I felt the presence of King Crimson entering into the music, and almost wept." A Thrak trilogy of songs begins with "One Time," followed by "BBoom" and a fiery rendition of "Dinosaur." The band feels right at home with this material, having covered it thoroughly over the years. "Level Five" is given a more loose interpretation, allowing the drum duo ample room to showcase some dramatic skill. An electronic flavor wafts over "Sleepless," while the heavy "Vroom/Coda Marine 475" needs no such embellishment. Another "Drum Duet" moves right into the concert staple "Thela Hun Ginjeet." The encore consisted of fan favorites "Elephant Talk" and "Indiscipline" from the Discipline album, and these final performances did not disappoint. The Park West gig couldn't possibly achieve the same stature as Asbury Park and Providence, but it came pretty close. It was an experience I will never forget.

coasterzombie | 4/5 |


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