kruekutt’s 2018 Favorites: Live Recordings

Note: my favorite new albums of 2018 are here.  My favorite reissues of 2018 are here.

One idea afoot in the online prog world I’ve only encountered since I began writing here is the thesis that live recordings shouldn’t be on reviewers’ “best of the year” lists. As I understand it, the basic idea is that live albums are: a) a different breed of cat than studio albums, and; b) not usually recorded in the year they’re released, so they’re not really from the year in question.  (Commenters can certainly enlighten me if I’m misreading the idea, or have other reasons the thesis is valid.)

Two arguments I’d have against this idea are: 1) my Top Favorite album of 2017, King Crimson’s Live in Chicagowas released the same year it was recorded (and, since it was the best rock gig I’ve ever seen, deserved a “best of” listing), and;  2) given record companies’ release cycles, most studio albums from the first half of a given year were probably recorded during the year before anyway.

But it’s true that live albums are usually meant to be different than a studio album: a momento or snapshot of a band performing repertoire from their studio output, caught on a given night, nights or tour — Robert Fripp’s “hot date” as opposed to a more considered “love letter”.  And live albums from an archive (be it a band’s or a corporation’s) are definitely more akin to a reissue than to new music.

Anyhow, without necessarily conceding the point, my favorite live recordings released in 2018 (separated out in their own post) follow the jump.  But first, a graphic tease:

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kruekutt’s 2018 Favorites: Reissues

Following the jump, the reissues and compilations from this past year that:

  • For one reason or another, I absolutely had to buy (whether I previously had a copy or not), and
  • That grabbed me on first listen and haven’t let go through repeated plays.  Except for my Top Favorite at the end of the post, I haven’t ranked them — in my opinion, they’re all worth your time.  But first, a graphic tease …

 

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kruekutt’s 2018 Favorites: New Albums

Here are the albums of new music from 2018 that grabbed me on first or second listen, then compelled repeated plays. I’m not gonna rank them except for those that achieved Top Favorite status, which I’ll save for the very end. The others are listed alphabetically by artist. (Old school style, that is — last names first where necessary!) Links to the ones I’ve previously reviewed are embedded in the album titles.  But first, a graphic tease …

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King Crimson: 50th Anniversary Tour Is On!

King Crimson have announced three live dates in the USA for the fall of 2019:

  • Tuesday, September 3: The Greek Theatre, Los Angeles CA
  • Tuesday, September 10: Roosevelt University Auditorium, Chicago IL
  • Friday, September 21: Radio City Music Hall, New York NY

VIP Celebration Packages (60 people per show) for Los Angeles are available at Discipline Global Mobile; Chicago & New York packages are already sold out.  General ticket sales will begin soon.

Following up on this announcement (along with previous announcements of shows in London and Germany), Robert Fripp commented:

the countries being visited (although not extensively) are: Germany, UK, (likely) Holland, Poland, France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Mexico, US, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Chile. This assumes the world doesn’t get much crazier than it is already, noting that it will.

And DGM head honcho David Singleton reveals a bit more:

The exact timing of announcements for shows has to be agreed with the different promoters in different territories. We are also playing festivals, which have their own schedule. Some show-dates and contracts are still being finalized. This means that we cannot announce a full list. We do however insist that the first announcement comes from the DGMLive website, and that we have at least a week in advance to sell Celebration packages where they exist (it is not normally possible at festivals).

More tour date announcements are coming in 2019.

And yes, I ponied up for a Celebration Package in Chicago.  Lord willing, I’m ready and raring to hear the Mighty Crim for the 9th time next September!

 

— Rick Krueger

 

If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley’s Golden Comeback

Fifty years ago today — December 3, 1968 — NBC aired Singer Presents … Elvis.  

At that point, Elvis Presley was generally considered a joke, a has-been.  His pioneering rock and roll days were long behind him, his singing and acting career and earning potential shriveled by a stultifying run of half-baked movies (Girl Happy, Harum Scarum, Clambake) and equally awful soundtracks (featuring horrid novelty songs like “There’s No Room to Rhumba in a Sports Car” and “He’s Your Uncle, Not Your Dad”).  Presley’s manager “Colonel” Tom Parker was pushing for a holiday special where Elvis would cavort with nominally famous guest stars and sing … wait for it … twenty Christmas carols.

But Singer’s execs had something else in mind: a show centered entirely on Presley, reminding the audience of his initial, explosive impact on pop music and propelling him forward, into a fresh phase of his career.  Elvis bought in, the Colonel signed off, and Steve Binder (director of the spectacular 1964 concert movie The T.A.M.I Show, featuring The Supremes, The Beach Boys, James Brown and The Rolling Stones in thrilling live performances) signed on.   Which is why, on that night fifty years ago, as 42 percent of the US television audience tuned in, they locked eyes with a man on a mission:

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The State of Prog 2018: Lightning Round Reviews, November 20-30

Based on these four new albums, progressive rock is doing just fine, thank you!  I’m not feeling the need for a Personal Progginess Perception scale this time around, so capsule reviews and ratings of this quartet follow the jump.

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