King Crimson: Adrian Belew (vocals, guitar, drums); Robert Fripp (guitar); Tony Levin (synthesizers, bass, stick, background vocals); Bill Bruford (drums, percussion).
Recorded live at the Spectrum, Montreal, Canada on July 11, 1984.
King Crimson: Adrian Belew (vocals, guitar, drums); Tony Levin (vocals, synthesizer, bass guitar, unknown instrument); Robert Fripp (guitar); Bill Bruford (drums, electronic drums, percussion).
When Robert Fripp recreated King Crimson in the early '80s, he started with a blank slate. The new order of the day was funky, circular patterns that were equal parts Balinese Gamelan music and Talking Heads' REMAIN IN LIGHT. Reprising his role as post-Hendrix guitar hero on the latter, Adrian Belew was a driving force in the new Crimson, his more poppish, light-hearted sensibilities proving the perfect foil for Fripp. Aside from a couple of videos, this is the only live document of that aggregation, recorded in 1984 at their final performance.
The African-inspired rhythms of the percussive, polyrhythmic "Thela Hun Ginjeet" and "Waiting Man" are contrasted by Belew's David Byrne-ish vocals as well as his and Fripp's guitar fireworks. Belew's arsenal of bizarre sounds blends with Tony Levin's high register Chapman Stick melodies to fine effect on "Elephant Talk." The countryish (!) "Matte Kudasai" is one of the group's loveliest ballads, achingly delivered. KC's venerated free-form fury is showcased well on "Industry," "Dig Me" and "Lark's Tongues In Aspic." ABSENT LOVERS offers a rare live view of one of the '80s most progressive (in the literal sense) bands.