King Crimson at Kouseinenkin Hall on April 16, 2003 in Tokyo, Japan are featured on this audio-only companion to the Eyes Wide Open (2003) double-DVD package. The quartet of Adrian Belew (guitar/vocals), Robert Fripp (guitar), Trey Gunn (Warr guitar/fretless Warr guitar), and Pat Mastelotto (drum traps/buttons) are a neo-progressive, and practically industrial-sounding force to be reckoned with, emerging from the fractionalization of the double-trio version of the group -- which also included contributions from Bill Bruford (percussion), and Tony Levin (bass/Chapman stick). Now, pared down to their essence, the band are leaner and able to effortlessly maneuver through some of the most challenging material to bear the King Crimson moniker. There is an undeniable -- and virtually palpable -- sense of drama that becomes magnified by the reserved and respectful Japanese audience. This becomes all the more pronounced during Fripp's solo in "Introductory Soundscape," which is an opening prelude to Belew's "Power To Believe I: (A Cappella)" haiku. The arrangement provides several new angles, and narrow aural slipstreams during "ConstruKction Of Light," and "Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With." The quartet also momentarily reach back to the double-trio for a strikingly intimate "One Time." The instrumentals "Level Five," "Dangerous Curves," and the fourth installment of "Larks' Tongues In Aspic," are among the highlights, as they demonstrate the seemingly psychic powers and singular thought processes that unify this aggregate into equalling, if not in some ways besting, previous incarnations, with their imaginative interactive improvisations. Belew is once again impressive as he trades licks with Fripp, and otherwise cajoles some stellar solos and, as always, complements the unit as a solid, versatile vocalist and equally inspired lyricist. Eyes Wide Open (2003) serves both new and well-versed listeners with an accurate portrayal of King Crimson in performance circa 2003, and is recommended for all interested parties.
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer