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Progressive Rock Concert Reviews

Adrian Belew

The Adrian Belew Power Trio Live in Buffalo, New York, October 2011

Review by Grant Hill

The “Two of a Perfect Trio” tour was a well-publicized series of concerts by the Adrian Belew power Trio and Tony Levin’s Stick Men. This should be noted as one of the more successful progressive rock tours in recent history. For those well heeled in the prog community, promotion and attendance have been really key to the very survival of the genre, so when these veteran King Crimson masters elected to combine their bands for this tour, sold out clubs across the country were treated to the excellence of these legendary performers.

The Tralf is known for its excellent sound production and the ability for one to hear well from anywhere in the club. The Adrian Belew Power Trio were up to superior standards. Belew never ceases to amaze, and clearly still reigns as one of the world’s best guitarists. Julie Slick’s playing has matured since her freshman Power Trio days following her graduation from Philly’s School of Rock. She is aggressive and plays with greater command and confidence, very creative at her craft. Tobias Ralph is a multiple styled master, exceptionally crisp and tight in every possible nuance. This edition of the Power Trio is exceptional, indeed.

Belew and company roared through the classic “Young Lions.”  I immediately noticed that the trio shaped the song differently from what I had heard before, with basic structures. The critically acclaimed “Beat Box Guitar,” admittedly one of my Belew favorites, was next. The entire audience grooved and loved it!  The dynamic and stylistic range of the band is expansive and spews advanced technique and sound. The King Crimson classic, “Neurotica,” then took center stage like organized chaos behind the spoken track. Of note were the punchy walking guitar line and the rhythmic, groovy complexity. The band continued through several more Belew standards, “A Little Madness,” “Of Bow and Drum” with a solid opening bass solo by Julie, and the unique “e” from the album of the same title.

All selections were well prepared and the band sounded awesome. The key word that came to mind during the final set of the combined trios was energy. The fullness of sound and complexity of both melodic and harmonic relationships were truly extraordinary. Tight, tight, tight!

This was one of the best concerts I’ve attended in the past decade. I believe this particular tour will stand as one of important historical note, and represents a triumph for Belew and Levin, King Crimson, and the entire progressive rock community.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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