Greg Lake

Greg Lake [MVD]

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This eponymous live audio CD culls its ten tracks from Greg Lake Live, a more extensive DVD which has even more familiar material from the Greg Lake history/repertoire than this spin-off disc. In that respect, this presentation in its truncated form is rather redundant. When other artists from the time period (though not necessarily from the same genre) like Leslie West have their own "Official Bootleg Series" of CDs including fancy titles to keep the fans on notice, one has to ask why Lake isn't getting the same kind of treatment. He certainly deserves it. Yes, there are credits galore in the four-page booklet and the music is as precise and powerful as one expects it to be, but the question remains -- do rabid fans of prog rock want a less than full-length concert when the DVD offers so much more? Also keep in mind that many of Lake's solo recordings are live, including a 1981 CD which reflects the DVD title to this concert, Greg Lake Live. Confusion reigns, even for the die-hard fans. Now on to the music. It's as good as you would imagine, the singer/guitarist in fine form spinning a magical "In the Court of the Crimson King" as well as a dirge-like "21st Century Schizoid Man," both from the brilliant 1969 King Crimson debut. Sure, the fans will appreciate those classics getting the glossy progressive treatment, the eerie cutting edge of the original versions now polished by time and not as provocative, but the difference between them is stark and the bombast present here doesn't add to the legend, it merely gives another perspective. Which means, as much as fans love having many different versions of their favorite songs, a little reinvention would make the faithful sit up and pay attention. Note how a folk/jazz/rock artist like Joni Mitchell will let her style and her renditions of past glories evolve. There's nothing bad about yet another Lake performance of some of his greatest-hits live, it's just a fact that it's another edition of Lake performing some of his greatest hits. Bootlegs are fun for a very specific reason, they offer something unavailable on mainstream releases. Hopefully Lake's future projects will add some oddities, guest appearances, or mad solos that break the mold. Current musicians emulating Lake's past, no matter how well, might make for a limited engagement to the classic rock audience that seeks something new.

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