Sunday, December 4, 2016

CD Review: John Wetton Releases First Volume Of His "Official Bootleg Archive"

English singer/songwriter/bassist John Wetton has had a very successful solo career, as well as careers in the bands King Crimson and Asia. His latest is a live set released through Cherry Red Records of three shows titled "The Official Bootleg Archive, Vol. 1." The new six-disc set features three separate shows from John Wetton's late-nineties solo tours.

The first show is taken live from Argentina in 1996 during the final months of his tour supporting his album "Voice Mail." The new 17-song set spans Wetton's entire career up to that point. He delivers Asia classics like "Only Time Will Tell" and "Sole Survivor," mixed with songs from his first two solo albums. The sound on this first concert is exceptional as it seems professionally recorded. John Wetton's vocals are clear and up front, especially during the acoustic "Book Of Saturday." The audience is barely audible, but it does not take away from the overall experience of the show. Wetton includes only two songs off his latest solo studio album, "Battle Lines" and "Hold Me Now," and does not shy away from his King Crimson days with the performances of "Easy Money" and "Starless" to the delight of the audience. He closes the show with the chart topping Asia single "Don't Stop."

The second show in this set is from his 1997 appearance in Osaka, Japan. The tour was in support of his third solo album, "Arkangel" as Wetton begins the show with "The Last Thing On My Mind." Again, his vocals and the music sound great and very professional. He performs five new songs during this show, while also keeping his famous hits from Asia in the line-up. Some of the subtle differences in this show is the inclusion of new keyboardist John Young's classical solo and the addition of "In The Dead Of Night" from his supergroup, U.K. A different live album was released from John Wetton's performance in Tokyo, Japan three days later, but this is the first official release of this show and the other two in this set.

The third show included in this set is from Tokyo, Japan in 1999. John Wetton returned to Japan only two years later, but with a brand new band to support him. The set list was very similar with some minor adjustments, moving songs around and bringing back the King Crimson classic "Book Of Saturday" along with Asia's "Time Again." The sound of this show is the worst of the three, but it is still very good and very much deserves this official release. Wetton's band is full of energy as the addition of guitarist David Kilminster gives Wetton's music a harder, more electrifying sound. This show finishes with back-to-back Asia hits "Heat Of The Moment" and "Don't Cry," which has become the recipe for closing Wetton's shows for the next decade or so. With over six hours of music, this set is a must have for fans and should keep them busy, until volume two gets released. To find out more about John Wetton's new live release "The Official Bootleg Archive, Vol. 1," please visit cherryred.co.uk.

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