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John Wetton

Live in Osaka 1997

Review by Gary Hill
It's easy to think of John Wetton as a prog artist. His work in bands like UK and King Crimson (and even Asia) lend credence to that argument. In fact, I'd consider him a prog artist. His solo stuff, though, has a tendency at times to work more toward hard rocking AOR stuff. This live performance seems to find the middle ground between those. It's a bit more of a crunchy show than some of his other live performances. It's very strong, though. In fact, I think I like the more rocking more in some ways.
 
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Track by Track Review
Disc: 1

                     
Intro

This instrumental does a nice job of combining prog and classical sounds in its midst.

The Last Thing on My Mind
There are definitely proggy things going on here. Overall, this is more of an AOR rocker. The verses land in the mellower vicinity, while the choruses rock. Actually, they are a bit on the crunchy side. This is an effective piece of music.
Sole Survivor
Here we get some Asia. They bring some crunch to this one, too. The jam near the end is really fired up and nearly metal.
I Can't Lie Anymore
There is a real metal vibe to this number. It's a hard rocker that works quite well. It still has some prog in the mix, but of the AOR variety.
Battlelines
This is a hard rocker. It's a strong tune for sure. It's definitely more on the hard-edged side.
John Young's Solo
Here we get a cool keyboard solo. It starts with piano and then works out at times to more electronic stuff. There are things here that make me think of Keith Emerson. Parts of this are quite classical in nature.
Arkangel
A more balladic piece, this is very much prog rock. It's pretty and quite meaty.
Emma
An acoustic guitar based ballad, this is another beautiful tune.
The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
This Asia song gets a fairly faithful rendition.
The Night Watch
I've always loved this King Crimson song. This guitar and voice performance is strong.
Hold Me Now
Although this is listed as one song, it's a two-fer. The first half is part of the song "Thirty Years" from UK. It's delivered in some great proggy style. The second half turns to more of an AOR rocker. Yes, they fit together well.
Only Time Will Tell
Another Asia cut, this gets a fairly faithful performance. It's a strong tune and works well here.live album.
Disc: 2
               

Rendezvous 6:02

Here we get a revisit of a classic UK song. On the one hand this is pretty faithful. That said, the bass brings some hints of funk, lending something different to the piece.

Thomas Lang's Drum Solo
Here we get just what is advertised. I'm probably not the right person to review this as I'm not a big fan of drum solos. This one doesn't change my mind.
Easy Money
Here comes a King Crimson rocker. This perhaps has some crunchier edges than the original. Beyond that it's fairly faithful. The jamming movement takes it in different directions.
In the Dead of the Night
A UK song that's one of my favorites, they bring this to life in style. I really like the instrumental section on this a lot. In fact, as good as the original is, this comes really close. I think this is best performance in this live album.
After All
This is an AOR based tune. It's more or less a power ballad. It's a strong tune that rocks out pretty well in the powered up sections.
Heat of the Moment
This Asia tune gets a solid live telling. There is sing-along part in the midst of it. That comes right after a cool instrumental break. It's not all that faithful, but it rocks.
Starless
Here they tackle one of my favorites from King Crimson. The song proper part is fairly faithful to the original. They turn out into some seriously screaming jamming later in the piece, though. It's like heavy metal turned prog.
Don't Cry
They do a good job of rocking this Asia classic out in style. It's a satisfying conclusion to this live album.
 
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