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John Wetton

Raised in Captivity

Review by Gary Hill

The latest solo release from John Wetton finds him with a lot of great guest appearances. Many of them are flashes from the past, meaning people with whom Wetton used to play. Among those are Robert Fripp (from his time in King Crimson), Mick Box (Uriah Heep), Geoff Downes (Asia) and Eddie Jobson (UK). Others are proggers like Steve Morse, Tony Kaye and Steve Hackett. Overall, the album is more along the lines of AOR rock than pure progressive rock, but it has its proggier moments. I’ve included it in progressive rock, though, more on the strength of the prog musicians featured than the music itself.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Lost For Words

A hard rocker, this one feels a lot like Jethro Tull in some ways. It’s a real killer, but perhaps not the proggiest thing on show here. It’s a good way to start things off with some real energy, though. Steve Morse is featured on guitar here.

Raised In Captivity
Robert Fripp appears on this number. Starting with keys, this one still rocks out pretty hard, but is more decidedly progressive rock oriented. Keyboards also end the piece.
Goodbye Elsinore
Starting mellow, this almost feels like something from Pink Floyd. It’s got a fairly stripped down arrangement. The arrangement gets fuller later. Overall it feels like a power ballad. Steve Hackett lends his guitar talents to this number.
The Last Night Of My Life
Here’s a great progressive rock tune that seems to combine the sounds of Asia and Yes in a cool way. There are a number of different sections and mini-movements within this track, including a cool instrumental segment later. Alex Machacek guests on this number.
We Stay Together (Bonus Track)
In a lot of ways this feels more like Asia than anything else here. In fact, it wouldn’t be a huge stretch of the imagination to think of this as some left over number from the early Asia sessions. It’s a really strong tune, making me wonder why it’s a bonus track.  I really like the vocal arrangement on this.
The Human Condition
Tony Kaye provides the keyboards on this piece. It’s a hard rocker that’s got a distinctly progressive rock oriented chorus with a more stripped down verse.
Steffi's Ring
This is completely different, and very cool. It’s sort of reminds me of a cross between a dramatic Celtic ballad and something with a bit of a Southern rock edge. It’s an awesome tune, but perhaps not the most purely prog thing here. There’s a lot of emotion built in and a flute solo. Geoff Downes provides the keyboards on this piece.
The Devil And The Opera House
More of a rocking power ballad, this again feels a lot like something from Asia. Eddie Jobson guests on this tune.
New Star Rising
Mick Box guests on this number and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that it’s one of the more of the straightforward rockers of the set.
Don't Misunderstand Me
More of a power ballad approach pervades this. Tony Kaye is featured on this cut again. It’s a good piece, but not one of my favorites of the set.
Mighty Rivers
Featuring Anneke Van Giersbergen in a duet with Wetton, this is one of the most purely progressive rock pieces on show. It’s a killer track that is powerful and evocative. It also features a symphonic arrangement and a lot of variety and changes. It’s arguably the strongest cut on show, but also one of the least “rock oriented.”
 
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