Exposé Online banner

John Wetton — Live via Satellite
(Primary Purpose PP005CD, 2002/2015, 2CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2017-04-02

Live via Satellite Cover art

With his untimely passing in 2017 there’s been renewed interest in all facets of English musician John Wetton’s career, including his work as a solo artist. From his first solo album (1981’s Caught in the Crossfire), Wetton showed an ever-growing affinity for the life of a singer songwriter. His songs took on a more personal and introspective point of view, so it’s no wonder that he sounds comfortable performing before small audiences on the two dates captured on this two-disk set. Disc one was a 1998 performance at Sweden’s Grona Lund amusement park while disc two was recorded in XM Radio’s Washington DC studios in 2002. The set lists for both shows is similar, spanning Wetton’s time in King Crimson, UK, Asia, and his solo releases. Almost every song is performed as a solo vocal with accompaniment provided by Wetton’s “trusty” Yairi acoustic guitar. On a few songs — “30 Years” most notably — he is also backed by recorded synths, and “Rendezvous 6:02” is delivered sans guitar against a taped piano backing. The recordings are pristine and Wetton sounds good throughout, but don’t expect Pete Townshend-like acoustic fireworks. He’s a competent player, but I can guarantee most of you have heard better. The rock and roll lifestyle and subsequent health challenges had already taken their toll on his distinctive voice before these recordings, although here too he acquits himself well. The more difficult moments in songs like “Starless” are delivered with confidence and control, if not finesse. Because of the redundancies in the set lists — plus some rough edges in the performances — I’d place this in the “for fans and completists only” category. Still, Wetton deserves to be remembered and it’s good to see the more recent aspects of his legacy being made available to the public.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases, 2002 recordings

Related artist(s): John Wetton

Latest news

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Lubimov, Trostianki, Rybakov - Misterioso – As part of ECM's continuing new music series, enter a semi-classical trio who embrace the quietudes of modern compositional expression with a keen sense of space and beauty by focusing on modern...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues