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King's X

Live Love in London DVD

Review by Scott Prinzing

By way of full disclosure, King’s X is my favorite band.  Not counting the Beatles (that wouldn’t be fair to everyone else, would it?), and not counting my all-time favorite band, Kansas (basically a legacy band for the past decade), King’s X have been my favorite band for the past two decades.  One of my favorite possessions is the rare vinyl copy of Sneak Preview, a short-lived name that the Band-Once-Called-The-Edge once recorded as.  King’s X for me have been one of the few bands whose shows have come closest to a religious experience (in good company with Cheap Trick, Pink Floyd, Rush, U2, and Storm Large & the Balls). 

With this concert recorded in January 2009, King’s X has taken over 20 years to release a proper live DVD.  London was the first place to really “get” King’s X.  The first time I saw them in 1988 at Club Overtime in St. Paul, Minnesota, there were only five paying customers in the room.  We five knew every word to every song from their debut, Out of the Silent Planet.  According to the liner notes, so did every punter in the sold-out Marquee in London that same year, but apparently it made a stronger impression on them.  Besides, Live Love in St. Paul, just doesn’t sound as epic.

London’s Electric Ballroom isn’t quite the legendary venue as the Marquee Club, but the show does have an epic feel.  Drawing from every one of their fifteen studio albums would have been nice, but it makes sense that eleven of the nineteen songs come from the first four.  They could have played 1994’s Dogman in its entirety and done right by me, but it’s a good balance.  Five songs come from their latest studio release, XV.

The 60-year-old bassist Dug Pinnick is as cool as ever.  His voice may be just a shy short of its once majestic presence, but like the late, great, Ronnie James Dio (remarkably his peer in both age and talent), it is as warm and genuine as ever.  Ty Tabor’s guitar work is fluid; at times blistering; at times soul stirring.  Jerry Gaskill’s drumming is quirky in a way that falls somewhere between Keith Moon or Terry Bozzio, without every overplaying. 

Highlights include the concert favorite, “We Were Born to Be Loved,” with its syncopated stop/starts, a thirteen-minute version of “Over My Head”(with the crowd singing the chorus acappella for over a minute in the middle), and “Goldilox.”  The latter has been sung primarily with cultish allegiance by the crowd, who know every word – including the harmonies!  One of my concert highs was getting up on stage with about two dozen fans to sing it about fifteen years ago.  It makes one wonder when the last time the guys had to actually sing it was.  In addition to Pinnick’s awesome lead vocals, Tabor sings a few, and Gaskill sings lead on the Beatle-esque, “Julie.”

The DVD I have comes with a two-disc audio version as well.  The “Behind the Scenes” bonus feature is fun, but kind of a short video collage.  The two bonus live tracks from 1990, “Fall On Me” and “Everybody Knows a Little Bit,” are a nice way to reflect on where the band looked and sounded when they seemed poised to overthrow the music world.  A commentary track is also offered for further insight on repeated viewings.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 2 at

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