‘Meltdown: Live In Mexico’ Is Mindblowingly Prime King Crimson

Three drummers! What does a band need with three drummers?

Well, if you’re King Crimson, three drummers gives the music of rock’s defining progressive rock band a serious dose of percussion, controlled chaos, and ultimately unparalleled musicality.

It’s all here on the outstanding recently released three CD/one Blu-ray set, Meltdown: Live In Mexico, which showcases the eight-headed beast that this iteration of King Crimson has been playing as for the last few years. This line-up consists of founding member/guitarist Robert Fripp, singer/guitarist Jakko Jakszyk, saxophonist/flautist Mel Collins, bassist Tony Levin, keyboardist Bill Rieflin…oh, and those masterful drummers – Jeremy Stacey, Pat Mastellotto, and Gavin Harrison.

Throughout its 50-year career, King Crimson has had no shortage of incredible musicians and iterations, all of them interesting, and more than willing to push boundaries. Funk, metal, prog, jazz – KC has played it all, in its own inimitable way. The version of the band on Meltdown, though, there’s something about it that arguably makes it thee defining King Crimson line-up. The band plays music from every era of its existence, something that had never been done until Fripp and these players gathered in the early 2010s to reassert Crimson’s live dominance. Along with playing music from 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, King Crimson was looking back in time, to 1969’s genre-defining In The Court Of The Crimson King, along with songs from subsequent 70s albums like Islands and Lizard.

As witnessed on Meltdown, this isn’t a band performing simple note-for-note versions of songs like Starless or Epitaph (not that there’s anything wrong with note-for-note; a band like Yes prides itself on stunning in-concert recreations). Here, all of the musicians are pushing themselves and the music forward, searching for grooves and places to expand a given song. I don’t know if this is a band that jams, per se; they’re certainly not the Grateful Dead or the Allman Brothers, but there’s nothing on this set that finds King Crimson playing it safe either. Multiple times throughout the show, the three drummers pick up where each other leaves off, completing fills and thoughts. It’s incredible to watch and, though I’ve seen this version of King Crimson a few times now, I still can’t help but wonder, “how do they do this?”

Just watch the interplay between Mastellotto, Stacey, and Harrison. It’s mind-blowing.

This summer King Crimson embarks on a 50 date world tour in celebration of their 50th anniversary. As demonstrated on Meltdown: Live In Mexico, the band is at the peak of its powers. If you have the chance to experience King Crimson live, don’t miss out.

You can order Meltdown: Live In Mexico here.

King Crimson 2019 Tour Dates:

06/10 – Leipzig, DE @ Haus Auensee
06/12 – Frankfurt, DE @ Jahrhunderthalle
06/13 – Frankfurt, DE @ Jahrhunderthalle
06/15 – Stuttgart, DE @ Liederhalle
06/16 – Stuttgart, DE @ Liederhalle
06/18 – London, UK @ Royal Albert Hall
06/19 – London, UK @ Royal Albert Hall
06/20 – London, UK @ Royal Albert Hall
06/22 – Nijmegen, NL @ De Vereeniging
06/23 – Nijmegen, NL @ De Vereeniging
06/26 – Warsaw, PL @ Teatr Roma
06/27 – Warsaw, PL @ Teatr Roma
06/29 – Berlin, DE @ Zitadelle
07/04 – Basel, CH @ Romisches Theater Augusta Ruarica
07/08 – Verona, IT @ Arena Di Verona
07/10 – Torino, IT @ Stupinigi Sonic Park
07/12 – Cataluna, ES @ Doctor Music Festival
07/13 – Cataluna, ES @ Doctor Music Festival
07/14 – Cataluna, ES @ Doctor Music Festival
07/18 – Perugia, IT @ Arena Santa Giuliana
08/23 – Mexico City, MX @ Teatro Metropolitan
08/24 – Mexico City, MX @ Teatro Metropolitan
08/27 – Guadalajara, MX @ Teatro Diana
08/29 – Mexico City, MX @ Teatro Metropolitan
09/03 – Los Angeles, CA @ Greek Theatre
09/05 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
09/06 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
09/08 – Denver, CO @ Paramount Theatre
09/10 – Chicago, IL @ Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
09/12 – Washington, DC @ Warner Theatre
09/14 – Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage
09/17 – Montreal, QC @ St Denis Theatre
09/19 – Boston, MA @ Wang Theater
09/21 – New York, NY @ Radio City Music Hall
09/23 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Met
09/25 – Cleveland, OH @ Hard Rock Rocksino
09/27 – Nashville, TN @ The Ryman
09/29 – Atlanta, GA @ The Cobb Center
10/06 – Rio de Janeiro, BR @ Rock in Rio

 

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