King Crimson

Live in Mexico City 1996

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For enthusiasts of the 1990s sextet (aka double-trio) installation of King Crimson, 2001's Live in Mexico City 1996 is a highly recommended and thoroughly solid single-CD compilation that captures the six-man mighty King Crimson during a four-night stay at the Metropolitan Theater in Mexico City in early August of 1996. It should likewise be noted that the same dozen songs can be found as part of 2001's two-disc Vrooom Vrooom along with an additional hour-plus taken from King Crimson's Big Apple shows at the Longacre Theatre on the Great White Way in November of 1995. The Mexico City gigs were held just prior to Robert Fripp (guitar/soundscapes), Adrian Belew (guitar/vocals), Trey Gunn (touch guitar), Tony Levin (basses/Chapman stick), Pat Mastelotto (drums/percussion), and Bill Bruford (drums/percussion) embarking on the final United States leg of their outing with several appearances as main-stage artists on the 1996 edition of the H.O.R.D.E Festival. As the powerhouse updates of "The Talking Drum," "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2," "Red," the sole '80s entry "Neurotica," and the jaw-dropping "21st Century Schizoid Man" prove, the combo wasn't afraid to occasionally revisit the past. However, the primary focus remains on the recent studio creation THRAK (1995). It similarly bore the distinction of being the first to surface under the King Crimson cognomen in well over a decade. Suitably, the opening trifecta -- including the instrumental medley of "VROOOM VROOOM" and "Coda: Marine 475" followed by the edgy, introspective attack of "Dinosaur" -- replicates the exact running order of the THRAK long-player. For those inclined, "Prism" and the criminally short "Improv: Biker Babes of the Rio Grande" -- which is a holdout from one of the nights on Broadway in 1995 -- are two pieces that incorporate Bruford and Mastelotto's percussive precision.