Album Reviews

John Wetton

The Official Bootleg, Archive Vol. 1

Artist:     John Wetton

Album:     The Official Bootleg, Archive Vol. 1

Label:     Cherry Red

Release Date:     11/11/2016


John Wetton has one of the most identifiable husky voices in all of prog rock, having fronted three of the genre’s most notable groups – King Crimson, U.K. and Asia. Yet when he performs behind his name alone, the results seem a bit more strained. This 6-CD set, encompassing bootleg recordings from a trio of 1990s concerts in Argentina (the best of the three) and Japan, comes with a lot of “hits,” but a combination of poor sound quality and Wetton pushing himself almost too hard to connect further with his audiences leads to a muddled offering overall. While there are tracks that never disappoint, even after being played/heard three times (“Easy Money,” “Starless,” “In the Dead of Night”), the heat of the moment is always – and sadly – on the verge of burning out.

-Ira Kantor

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