John Wetton

Live in New York

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There comes a point in nearly every artist's career when he or she is simply preaching to the choir, giving up the effort to woo new fans in favor of pleasing those fans already won. That's about the time that the live albums start coming out. Recorded at a 1997 solo acoustic gig at New York's intimate Bottom Line nightclub, John Wetton's Live in New York is a career-spanning overview that covers tracks from all his major bands (King Crimson, UK, and Asia) as well as selected solo material. This sounds like it could work as a treat, but unfortunately, the quality of this recording is simply terrible, approaching sub-bootleg at times. (The microphone was clearly in the audience; at times, the chatting audience members are louder than Wetton himself!) Even worse, Wetton is not in particularly fine voice, and some songs that rely on his upper register (like King Crimson's "Book of Saturdays") are beyond hope as a result. To put the icing on the incompetence cake, the liner notes are incorrect, pointlessly scrambling the song order.

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