King Crimson

Live in Berkeley, CA 1982

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Live in Berkeley, CA 1982 is derived from an FM radio broadcast of the final U.S. date on King Crimson's Beat tour. Likewise a majority of the material comes from Beat and their previous studio outing, Discipline. Apart from being more complete than bootlegs of this show, the sound -- while far from perfect -- is infinitely better. The '80s reformation of King Crimson was a flurry of activity. They had released two albums and supported them with multi-continental tours. This incarnation of the band is in essence -- and by definition -- a supergroup as all four members had been key factors in previously successful musical ventures. As King Crimson, however, the quartet had the potential to become sonically superhuman. While not overly variant or distinctive in terms of material, this particular performance at the Greek Theatre bristles with an energy and a vitality that others during this tour seemingly lack. However, vocalist and guitarist Adrian Belew's between-song chatter indicating how "c-c-c-c-cold" it is on this evening might be a more tangible source of the music's drive. Passionate renderings of "The Howler" and "Neurotica" highlight this set. The frenetic and polyrhythmic musical commerce that transpires here is unique. The limits and boundaries tethering the band earthbound are shattered. Reaching beyond a typical reading, the second encore, "Indiscipline," contains a theatrical quality that aptly parallels the dramatic contrasts inherent in the song. Equally impassioned are the delicate "Matte Kudasai," the Beat travelogue "Neil and Jack and Me," and the instrumental throwback to the '70s King Crimson -- "Red." Each contains distinctive arrangements seemingly unique to this incarnation of the band.

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