King Crimson

On Broadway: Live in NYC 1995

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On Broadway 1995 is a two-disc distillation of five shows by the double-trio version of King Crimson at the decidedly off-Broadway Longacre Theatre in New York City. For those who missed that remarkable outing, this set accurately recounts many musical highlights circa the Thrak tour. There is a whole lot to like about this two-plus hour performance compilation. Without a doubt, the flawless sound gets top honors. Guitarist and vocalist Adrian Belew mixed this set from the digital multi-track tapes with great attention to detail. Of particular note is the accurate sound stage that Belew re-creates -- placing listeners in the dead center of the Longacre's sonic sweet spot. High marks are also given to content. As the Thrak tour progressed, King Crimson's performance list was refined on a continual basis. While these perpetual changes acted to keep the performances fresh, inevitably songs were added, moved, or dropped from the rotation. For this composite release, however, many of the alternate tunes are also included -- revealing a more complete performance than any single show would offer. While a majority of On Broadway 1995 defers to the Thrak album, there are also strong representations of material from the '80s. "Thela Hun Ginjeet," "Three of a Perfect Pair," "Indiscipline," and "Elephant Talk" are all brilliantly executed. The personnel additions of Chapman stick player and bassist Trey Gunn and percussionist Pat Mastelotto give these classic tracks new muscle and further inspiration. The instrumentals "Red" and "Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part II)" embody the '70s incarnation of King Crimson, adding the sonic scowl that this double-trio became noted for. In addition to well over two hours of music, On Broadway 1995 comes replete with a 24-page liner notes booklet, a "Notes from the Guitar Stool" essay from guitarist Robert Fripp, and other appropriate eye candy.

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