- Vrooom Vrooom
- Coda: Marine 475
- The Talking Drum
- Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. II
- Improv: Biker Babes of the Rio Grande
- 21st Century Schizoid Man
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This is a two-CD collection capturing King Crimson during a pair of multi-night stands at The Longacre Theater in New York City (November 20-25, 1995) and The Metropolitan Theater in Mexico City (August 2-6, 1996). This double-trio lineup includes the talents of: Robert Fripp (guitar, soundscapes), Adrian Belew (guitar, vocals), Trey Gunn (touch guitar), Tony Levin (basses, stick), Bill Bruford (percussion of all sorts), and Pat Mastelotto (percussion of all sorts). Vrooom Vrooom includes much of the same frenetic energy and immaculate sonics that awaited attendees of these performances. Happily much of the repertoire focuses on materials from the 1995 studio release, Thrak, King Crimson's first in over a decade. Likewise, both the Mexico City and New York City sets are laden with the profound and otherwise solicitous vibes that present themselves whenever this band is running at full capacity on all six cylinders. The Mexico City disc opens with a quintet of instrumentals and improvisations circa the Thrak album: "Vroom Vroom," "Coda: Marine 475," "B'Boom," and the title track, "Thrak," as well as more structured compositions such as "Dinosaur." Likewise, the N.Y.C. disc includes "People" and "Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream," as well as profound renderings of "One Time." Of special note is the Belew-led impromptu cover of the Beatles' "Free as a Bird" and the King Crimson original "Walking on Air," the latter of which is a one-off bonus track from a Wiltern Theater performance in Los Angeles on June 30, 1995. Additionally, there are quite a few tracks that hark back to previous incarnations of the mighty King Crimson, especially the '80s quartet of Fripp, Belew, Bruford, and Levin. "Three of a Perfect Pair," "Elephant Talk," "Indiscipline," "Neurotica," and "Thela Hun Ginjeet" are among the tracks given the intensity of a sonic triple espresso. Longer and more complete recordings from these specific runs have likewise been made available.
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The 90s double trio version of King Crimson featured the 80s lineup of Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Tony Levin, and Bill Bruford plus two extra musicians. Since the original quartet was so great, what was the point of the additions? The first disc, recorded in Mexico City in 1996, has a lot of instrumental passages but somehow doesn't catch fire. The second CD, recorded in NYC the previous year, draws much of its material from the 191-84 period and is much better. There is nothing wrong with the reprises of the earlier songs but I can't tell that the added firepower made much difference. I still think Absent Lovers: Live in Montreal 1984 is still the place to sample the Fripp-Belew-Levin-Bruford lineup.