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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

King Crimson - Meltdown: Live in Mexico

This 3-CD/1 Blu-Ray box set consists of King Crimson’s exuberant performance in Mexico City over five nights at the Teatro Metropolitan in July of last year and they also performed at the same location in August of 1996 during the THRAK-era. And not to mention Steven Wilson, who performed and recorded at the same venue on April 13, 2012 during his Grace for Drowning tour entitled, Get All You Deserve.

Now when you either watch or listen to the concert both on CD and Blu-Ray, you are now to embark on something more than just your average typical rock-and-roll show at a big gigantic massive stadium. And this time, King Crimson have got more unexpected ideas that they’ve unleashed to the audience. Believe me, this here is quite the journey that they and the fans themselves will never, ever forget.

If you think that both of the live albums from Chicago and Vienna were the real starters, Meltdown is the final cherry on top of the Red Velvet Cake. From the moment that the band enters onstage with thunderous applause, they are going to deliver more than just the goods for that evening performance at the Metropolitan.

From the three-headed drumming improvisations of the Devil Dogs of Tessellation Row and The Hell Hounds of Krim, to the lukewarm beauty of the Interlude between Mel and Jakko’s flute improvisation followed by Levin’s electric string bass, and the reigning of the battlefields of the most brutal yet bloodiest wars on Last Skirmish to the dooming aftermath of hell that laid waste on Prince Rupert’s Lament as Fripp’s textures fill the halls inside the venue for the Lizard suite.

You can see on the Blu-Ray where Pat Mastelotto is doing some of the textures as he pays a little nod to Crimson alumni Jamie Muir while Jeremy Stacey plays the keyboard along with Bill Rieflin follow suit. And for me, I would always say this, “Mellotron's galore!” as the music in Easy Money goes into a deeper, darker scenario by sending you into those ominous areas that are filled with greed, corruption, and betrayal.

Listening to the title-track, it’s quite peculiar for Robert to revisit perhaps one of my favorite era’s which is the Lizard period from 1970. While he has reconciled to the third release thanks to Wilson’s remix back in 2009, Robert himself is like a magician and kind of like an expertise on where he wants the tricks to be located at. He and Jakko along with the three-headed drum beasts and Mel take you into those crystalized areas inside the caves before the snarling monsters come out of the blue for Radical Action II.

But this where the mysteries and clues keep adding up more and more by Levin’s Chapman stick and the three-headed drum beasts keep up the search on Indiscipline. Jakko sings like a beat poet while the playing the melody on his guitar as the climax reaches more and more before to an abrupt halt as Jakko shouts “Me Gusta!

Now we have come to Starless from the Blu-ray. It is a must-watch sequence when they performed the song from the Red album. You can feel the band’s mellowing wonders to the heart of the city with a smoky vision that once was, is now gone. The band suddenly go into overdrive after the lights suddenly change from bright yellow, to darker orange-red coloring to increase the tension even more.

It becomes this dangerous high-wiring escape for the aerialist dancer to embark not just the 90-feet ground and never knowing when the wires are going to be cut unexpectedly, but it becomes alarming that knowing he has to make it before time runs out. From the blaring guitars between Jakko and Robert, to the clashing of the titan drumming, and Mel’s blaring sax solo, it becomes a free-for-all climax.

The bonus tracks on Disc 3, is where it gets even more interesting. They revisit another classic from the debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King entitled, Moonchild. The live version from the official bootleg bonus tracks, is very much like an extended version of the song that makes it more beautiful and surreal. You have these Cadenza’s between Tony Levin’s string bass to Jeremy playing his piano creating this finale of giving some sort of a mournful end.

Then everything suddenly changes into some sort of an attack mode as King Crimson goes into the archive of revisiting Robert Fripp’s debut solo album (Exposure) released 40 years ago tackling the track, Breathless. It has sorts of the Red-era with a brutal twist as Robert delivers more clues to add the pieces inside the Rubik’s cube with even more challenges.

Meltdown as I’ve mentioned earlier in my introduction, is the final cherry on top of the Red Velvet Cake. But this gives King Crimson more real adventures that are mysterious, nightmarish, surreal, and visionary. And what I hope for when they start their Winter tour in Japan in late November to the end of December, I hope we can expect more from them if they get a chance to record the shows in the Land of the Rising Sun.

And this here, is only just the beginning for them.

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