JOHN WETTON-THE OFFICIAL BOOTLEG-ARCHIVE VOLUME 1.

JOHN WETTON-THE OFFICIAL BOOTLEG ARCHIVE VOLUME 1.

For the best part of fifty years, artists and record companies have been plagued by bootleggers smuggling recording equipment into concerts. This started when bootleggers began smuggling tape into concerts. Often the tape recorders were hidden under coats or in bags. As a result, the sound quality was often poor quality. This forced a rethink by the bootleggers.

Eventually, they realised that they had place their tape recorders in places where they could they could best capture the sound quality. After all, they planned to release recordings on vinyl. This marked the birth of the first rock bootlegs. 

Little did anyone realise that this was the start of an underground record industry, that would do untold damage to the music industry. However, in the early days, there was an element of cloak and dagger to buying bootlegs.

Some of these recordings were sold almost clandestinely in small record shops. Other bootlegs labels sold their releases via mail order. Usually, record buyers sent their money to a Post Office Box. They eventually received their bootleg album. This included some of the biggest recording artists of the day. Everyone from Bob Dylan to Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones to Pink Floyd fell victim to the bootleggers. 

Especially, as bootlegging became an underground industry. The recording equipment used by bootleggers was improving, and some went as far as investing in top of the range professional equipment. This meant recordings were much more professional sounding. It was a worrying time for the music industry. They were caught on the hop, and soon, seemed to be fighting a losing battle. 

The bootleggers had nurtured contacts with pressing plants, concert arenas and even record companies. Some of the contacts within record companies smuggled out recordings of unreleased material. These stolen recordings were then released by the bootleggers. This was just the latest worrying trend.

Another was that some bootleggers seemed to have access to a band’s soundboard at concerts. Some bootleggers were able to setup recording equipment onstage. Questions were asked about the road crew? Had they been involved, and did they facilitate the recording of these bootlegs? They often proved costly.

Especially if these bootlegs were released just before a band planned to release a live album. This could prove costly. Efforts were made find the bootleggers. Sometimes this proved successful. Mostly, though, it was a costly and frustrating cat and mouse game.

This has continued for decades. Often, a few bootleggers are caught, and inroads are made into the supply chain. Still, though, bootleggers continue to prosper. This is no victimless crime. It costs record companies and artists money. However, over the years, some artists have fought back, including John Wetton.

Recently, John Wetton released The Official Bootleg Archive Volume 1, a six CD box set through his own website. It’s a collection of three of John Wetton’s previously released Official Bootlegs, which have been out of print for the best part of ten years. These three concerts were recorded  between 1996 and 1999. The first is Live In Argentina 1996 which features on discs one and two. Live In Osaka 1997 features on discs three and four. On discs five and six, is Live At The Sun Plaza Tokyo 1998. With his tongue firmly in his cheek, John Wetton decided to call this box set The Official Bootleg-Archive Volume 1. It’s the latest addition to John Wetton’s burgeoning back-catalogue.

John Wetton served his musical apprenticeship in Bournemouth, where he grew up. That’s where he first met Richard Palmer-Jones. They were members of The Corvettes, The Palmer-James Group, Tetrad, and Ginger Man. After that, John Wetton joined  Mogul Thrash. That’s where he made his breakthrough.

Mogul Thrash-Mogul Thrash.

Mogul Thrash were a prog rock band, who had evolved out of Brotherhood. They released their debut single Sleeping in the Kitchen in 1970. Then a year later, Mogul Thrash released their eponymous debut album in 1971. It was produced by Steampacket founder Brian Auger. On its release, Mogul Thrash was well received by critics. The future looked bright for Mogul Thrash. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.

As Mogul Thrash was released, the group were locked in a legal battle with their management. It didn’t end well. Mogul Thrash had no option but to disband. So, 1971s Mogul Thrash proved to be group’s only album. For bassist John Wetton, and the rest of Mogul Thrash, this was a huge disappointment. Mogul Thrash looked like they were going places. Luckily, Family were looking for a bassist.

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John Wetton fitted the bill. Not only could he play bass, but he was a guitarist and vocalist. So, the multitalented  twenty-two year old joined Family. He played on their next two albums, starting with Fearless

Family-Fearless, 

Family’s fifth album, was released on 29th October 1971. This marked John Wetton’s Family debut. He played bass, guitars, and keyboards. Family were almost getting three musicians for the price of one. He would more than play his part in Fearless’ sound and success.

On its release,  Fearless  was well received by critics. The new lineup of Family seemed to have gelled quickly. Fearless was littered with highlights, including Spanish Tide, Save Some for Thee and Take Your Partners. So, it’s no surprise that Fearless sold well.

After its release, Fearless climbed the British and American charts. Eventually, it reached number fourteen in Britain and number 177 in the US Billboard 200. This was a first for Family. Never before had any of their albums charted in America. John Wetton it seemed, was Family’s good luck charm.

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Bandstand.

After the success of Fearless, Family returned to the studio, and recorded Bandstand at Olympic Studios, London. This was where they had recorded Fearless. Just like Fearless, Bandstand  was produced by George Chkiantz and Family. However, it marked a change in style for Family.

Bandstand was released in September 1972. It marked a stylistic departure for Family. Their music moved towards the mainstream. Partly, this was because Roger Chapman and Charlie Whitney had accepted the standard method of songwriting. It made life a lot easier. However, this move towards the mainstream risked alienating Family’s fans.

Prior to Bandstand’s release, critics had their say. Critics liked Family’s more mainstream sound. The album was released to near critical acclaim. A few contrarian critics disagreed. However, the people that mattered were the record buying public.

As Bandstand hit the shops, the members of Family wondered how their new sound we he received? When the dust settled, Bandstand had reached number fifteen in Britain and number 183 in the US Billboard 200. This was almost the same as Fearless. It seemed their new sound had neither lost, nor gained, Family any new fans. However, before long, Family had lost their bassist.

By 1972, John Wetton had attracted the attention of King Crimson. They were prog rock royalty, and one of the biggest and most innovative bands of the prog rock era. So, when John was asked to join King Crimson, he couldn’t say no. He made his debut on Larks’ Tongues In Aspic.

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King Crimson-Larks’ Tongues In Aspic.

Larks’ Tongues In Aspic was King Crimson’s fifth album. The album marked an almost new lineup of King Crimson. This was the third lineup in the group’s history. Joining Robert Fripp were bassist John Wetton, ex-Yes drummer Bill Bruford, percussionist Jamie Muir and David Cross, who played violin, viola, Mellotron, electric piano and flute. This new lineup saw the band head in a new direction. 

King Crimson incorporated different instruments, including percussion and African mbira. They moved away from their jazz sound, to a fusion of prog rock and experimental music on what became Larks’ Tongues In Aspic. 

It was released in March 1973, to critical acclaim, reaching number twenty in the UK and number sixty-one in the US Billboard 200. With a new lineup and having released their strongest album in recent years, King Crimson looked as if they were about to become one of the biggest bands of the early seventies. 

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Starless and Bible Black.

Just about every prog rock band released a concept album. Starless and Bible Black, which is a quotation from the first two lines of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood, was King Crimson’s concept album. The album is a commentary on the sleaziness and materialism that was blighting society. Richard Palmer-James, a former member of Supertramp, cowrote four of the songs on Starless and Bible, which saw King Crimson take a different approach to recording.

Unlike previous albums, there’s no drums on Starless and Bible. Despite the lack of drums, drummer Bill Bruford played percussion and cowrote three tracks. While he played on Starless and Bible, Jamie Muir didn’t. He’d left the band. Another change was that only the first two tracks on Starless and Bible, The Great Deceiver and Lament recorded in the studio. The rest of the tracks were recorded live, with the applause edited out. This was a very different approach from previous King Crimson albums.

Despite this, Starless and Bible Black was well received. Some critics hailed Starless and Bible Black as King Crimson’s best album since their debut. With its fusion of prog rock and experimental music, it was an ambitious and groundbreaking album. On its release in March 1974, it reached number twenty-eight in the UK and number sixty-six in the US Billboard 200. With King Crimson having released two consecutive critically acclaimed albums, it looked as if they were about to join the royalty that included Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. However, that wasn’t to be.

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Red.

Having just released to consecutive critically acclaimed albums,  Larks’ Tongues In Aspic and then Starless and Bible Black, critics and fans wondered what direction King Crimson seventh album Red would take? Being King Crimson, fans and critics had learnt to expect the unexpected. The first change was in the lineup. After their 1974 summer tour, David Cross left King Crimson. This meant the band was now a trio consisting of Robert Fripp, bassist John Wetton and drummer Bill Bruford. They cowrote much of Red.

Red featured just five tracks. Recording of Red began on 30th June 1974 at Olympic Studios, London and finished in August 1974. Four of the songs on Red were recorded live. The exception was One More Red Nightmare, which was recorded live. In the studio, Robert Fripp played guitar and mellotron. He was joined by bassist John Wetton and drummer Bill Bruford. They were augmented by a variety of musicians who often, played on just one track. These musicians played their part in not only what’s a landmark album, but an album that marked the end of an era.

On its release in October 1974, Red reached just number forty-five in the UK and number sixty-six in the US Billboard 200. Critics hailed Red as an innovative album. There are obvious similarities with Larks’ Tongues In Aspic and Starless and Bible Black in sound and quality. One change was the lack of the acoustic guitars that featured on previous albums. With its fusion of prog rock and classic music, Red proved to be a hugely influential and innovative album. Sadly, it was the last King Crimson studio album to feature John Wetton.

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Uriah Heep-Return To Fantasy.

Having left King Crimson, John joined Uriah Heep. They had already realised seven albums since their 1970 debut …Very ‘Eavy …Very ‘Umble. John was brought in to replace Gary Thain. He joined just in time to play on their eighth album Return To Fantasy. John it seemed had the Midas touch.

Return To Fantasy was recorded at Lansdowne Studios and Morgan Studios, London. Just like previous albums, Gerry Bron took charge of production. Initially, Mick Box thought found that the chemistry he had with Gary Thain was missing. However, soon, John was making his presence felt, playing bass, mellotron and adding backing vocals. He played an important part in Return To Fantasy’s success.

When critics heard Return To Fantasy, they hailed it a vast improvement on 1974s Wonderworld. Return To Fantasy was the album critics knew Uriah Heep were capable of recording. Critical acclaim accompanied Return To Fantasy’s release.

It wasn’t just critics who loved Return To Fantasy. So did the recording buying public. On its release on 30th June 1975,  Return To Fantasy reached number seven in Britain and was certified silver.  Return To Fantasy reached number thirty-eight in the US Billboard 200 charts, selling 450,000 copies. The new lineup of  Uriah Heep had just released their biggest selling album,  Return To Fantasy. The problem was following it up.

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High and Mighty.

Nearly a year later, Uriah Heep released High and Mighty on 8th June 1976. It was the last Uriah Heep album to feature vocalist David Byron. He had been battling with alcohol. Sadly, his drinking was beginning to affect the band. So, he was sacked after the release of High and Mighty.

What didn’t help, was that High and Mighty wasn’t well received by critics. Some critics slated the album. They weren’t impressed by the move towards the mainstream. Nor did the lack of lengthy tracks please critics. The longest song on High and Mighty was just under six minutes. This was quite unlike Uriah Heep. So was the chart placing.

High and Mighty stalled at number fifty-five in Britain. This was their lowest chart placing since their sophomore album, Salisbury. Across the Atlantic, American record buyers turned their back on Uriah Heep, with High and Mighty reaching number 161 in the US Billboard 200. For Uriah Heep, something had to give. 

David Byron was sacked by Uriah Heep. John Wetton decided that this also was the time to part company with Uriah Heep. He had plenty of session work and collaboration to keep him busy.

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For the next couple of years, John was kept busy. John played on Roxy Music’s 1976 album Viva! He also accompanied Bryan Ferry on 1976s Let’s Stick Together, 1977s In Your Mind and 1978s The Bride Stripped Bare.  This wasn’t John’s only collaboration with members of Roxy Music. 

Previously, John had played on Andy McKay’s 1977 album, Score. Then in 1978, Phil Manzanera  asked John to play on his 1978 album K-Scope. The pair had worked together on Phil’s 1975 debut Diamond Head. So, this was no surprise. Neither was John joining a new band UK.

UK-UK.

UK were another prog rock supergroup. Their lineup included John, Yes drummer Bill Bruford, keyboardist Eddie Jobson and guitarist Allan Holdsworth. This was the lineup that recorded two critically acclaimed albums. The first was UK.

Recording of UK took place between December 1977 and January 1978.  It was released in March 1978. Although critics gave UK glowing reviews, referring to the music as innovative and progressive, UK passed record buyers by. The four members of UK were going to give up.

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Danger Money.

Nearly a year to the day, UK returned with their sophomore album, Danger Money. It featured a new lineup of UK. Bill Bruford and Allan Holdsworth had left the group. Replacing them was Terry Bozzio. So, with UK reduced to a trio, they returned to the studio.

The new lineup were set record six songs at Air Studios, London. These songs were penned by John and Eddie. They were recorded between November 1978 and January 1979. Once Danger Money was recorded, it was ready for release in March 1979.

History repeated itself, when Danger Money was well received by critics, but failed to chart.  At least Nothing to Lose reached number sixty-seven in the British charts. Despite this modicum of success, it was a frustrating time for groups like UK. They certainly weren’t lacking in talent. Far from it. UK were a hugely talented group. Part of the problem was the changing musical landscape. 

The nihilist sound of punk and post punk was polluting the airwaves. Many critics were little more than cheerleaders for the talentless punks. It truly was the great rock ’n’ roll swindle. Its victims were talented prog rock groups who punks referred to as dinosaurs. However, little did they realise that in three years time, John Wetton would have the last laugh. Before that, UK released their swan-song.

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Night After Night. 

Danger Money was John Wetton’s final studio album with UK. He featured on their live album Night After Night. It was recorded during UK’s tour of Japan, in early June 1979. The album was recorded at Nakano Sun Plaza and Seiken Kan, in Tokyo. It was released in September 1979.

This was perfect timing. UK were about to head out on tour, supporting Jethro Tull on their American tour. So, the release of Night After Night was timed to coincide with the American tour. Sadly, Night After Night wasn’t a commercial success. This resulted in John leaving UK.

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John Wetton-The Solo Years

Caught In The Crossfire.

Following his departure from UK, John decided that now was the time to embark upon a solo career. So he began work on what became Caught In The Crossfire. 

Given John Wetton is a talented multi-instrumentalist, he was able to record much of Caught In The Crossfire himself. He played bass, guitars, keyboards and added vocals. To play the drum and percussion parts, John drafted in Simon Kirke of Bad Company. Another guest artist, was saxophonist Malcolm Duncan. They played their part on Caught In The Crossfire, John Wetton’s long-awaited debut album.

On its release in 1980, Caught In The Crossfire was well received by critics. Although quite different from his work with Family, King Crimson and Uriah Heep, it showed John’s versatility and ability to create ambitious and innovative music. Although the album sold well, it wasn’t a huge success. Despite that, ecord buyers awaited John’s sophomore album. It would be a long time coming.

There was a reason for this. John was a busy man. He worked with Roger Chapman on  their 1980 album Mail Order Magic and 1981s Hyenas Only Laugh for Fun. The former Family frontman had reinvented himself as a solo artist. However, later in 1981 John joined Wishbone Ash, where he replaced Martin Turner.

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Wishbone Ash-No Smoke Without Fire.

With Martin Turner leaving Wishbone Ash, the English rock group found themselves with a problem. They had an album to record, but had no bassist. This was where John Wetton came in. He joined in time to record No Smoke Without Fire. 

No Smoke Without Fire was a stylistic departure for Wishbone Ash. Previously, their music had taken on an American influence. Some fans didn’t take to this. What they wanted was Wishbone Ash to return to the prog rock of their past. Other fans wanted Wishbone Ash to return to their hard rocking best. With Derek Lawrence returning as producer, for the first time since 1972s Argus, they did both.

When No Smoke Without Fire was released later in 1978, the album has hailed Wishbone Ash’s heaviest album to date. Critics welcomed the inclusion of prog rock epic The Way Of The World. Wishbone Ash many thought were back.

Sadly, The Way Of The World stalled at number forty-three in Britain, and failed to chart in America. For John Wetton and the rest of Wishbone Ash, this was a huge disappointment. Especially considering The Way Of The World was John’s only album with Wishbone Ash. He left the group to join Asia.

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Asia-Asia.

Asia were another British prog rock supergroup. Its lineup featured John, guitarist Steve Howe and keyboardist Geoff Downes. They were both members of Yes. The final piece of the jigsaw was Carl Palmer, or E.L.P.  With Asia’s lineup complete, they began working on their eponymous debut album.

Recording of Asia took place at the Townhouse Studios, London. For the five months between June and November 1981, the four members of Asia recorded nine tracks. Eventually, the album was finished and ready for release on 18th March 1982.

After their five months of hard work, reviews of Asia were mixed. This some critics felt, didn’t bode well for the release of Asia. They were wrong.

On its release, Asia’s 1982 eponymous debut album sold eight million copies worldwide, and reached number one in the US Billboard 200 charts. This lead to Asia being certified platinum four times over. John Wetton it seemed had the Midas touch.

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Alpha.

Following the commercial success of Asia, the four members of the band started work on their sophomore album Alpha. John and Geoff penned nine of the ten tracks. The other track, The Smile Has Left Your Eyes, was a John Wetton composition. These tracks were recorded between February and May 1983.

It was never going to be easy following up Asia. The album had sold eight million copies. Unsurprisingly, Alpha wasn’t as popular. Again, reviews of Alpha were mixed. Critics pointed towards the change in sound. Asia, just like Family had done a decade earlier, had moved towards the mainstream. Part of Asia’s appeal, was their progressive sound. While it was less prominent, Alpha was still a commercial success.

On its release on 26th July 1983, Alpha reached number six in the US Billboard 200 and number five in Britain. This resulted in Alpha selling two million copies worldwide. Alpha was certified platinum in America and gold in Britain. Sadly, after Alpha, Asia never reached the same heights

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Astra.

There was a gap of two years between Alpha, and Asia’s third album Astra. It marked the end of an era. Astra was the last album to feature founding member John Wetton. He didn’t return until 2008s Phoenix. No wonder. All wasn’t well within Asia.

Astra had been two years in the making. Recording started in 1983. However, John left in September 1983, and was replaced temporarily by Greg Lake. He featured during some of Asia’s live shows. When John returned, Steve Howe departed. This was blamed on the tension between Steve and John. Replacing Steve, was Mandy Meyer, who brought a harder edge to Asia’s sound. 

Asia’s new lineup spent much of 1984 and 1985 recording Astra. The band moved between studios. Eventually, Astra was finished, and ready for release in November 1985.

When critics heard Astra, reviews were mixed. While some critics weren’t impressed, other called Astra a solid album. The jury were well and truly out. As usual, the record buying public had the deciding vote.

On its release, Astra stalled at number sixty-seven in the US Billboard 200 and number sixty-eight in Britain. This was a far cry from Asia and Alpha. 

Following Astra, John Wetton left Asia. While they enjoyed a degree of commercial success, Asia never reached the same heights. The lineup of Asia with John, Steve Howe, Geoff Downes and Carl Palmer proved to be the classic lineup of Asia. We wouldn’t see their likes again until 2008s Phoenix. By then, John Wetton was enjoying a successful solo career. Before that, John and members of rock royalty collaborated on an album.

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John Wetton and Phil Manzanera decided to collaborate on an album where rock met pop. The resultant album, Wetton Manzanera was released on 1987. It was well received by critics. However, there was still no sign of John releasing his sophomore album. Eventually, it would be released in 1994.

Battle Lines.

Fourteen years after John Wetton released his debut solo album Caught In The Crossfire, he returned with his sophomore album Battle Lines in 1994. It marked the return of a musical innovator.

Throughout his career, John was also an early adopter of technology. That was the case on Battle Lines. He made good use of the new technology that had become available. Keyboard parts were programmed and samples were used to create orchestral arrangements. With its mixture of technology and traditional instruments, Battle Lines was a captivating album.

Critics agreed. Battle Lines veered between beautiful and elegiac, to dramatic and innovative. Genres melted into one, as with elements of folk, folk rock, progressive  rock and rock  shine through. John and his small, talented band made a welcome return on Battle Lines.

Battle Lines, John Wetton’s long awaited sophomore album found him evolving musically and as a musician. This ensured his music continued to stay relevant in an ever-changing musical landscape. John’s fans welcomed the release of Battle Lines, but the album failed to find a wider audience. Despite this, John returned with a live album in 1995.

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Chasing The Dragon.

This was Chasing The Dragon, Johhn Wetton’s first live album. It was recorded during John’s 1994 Japanese tour. During the tour, John played songs from Caught In The Crossfire and Battle Lines. When the tour arrived in Osaka and Tokyo, John ensured that the tapes were running. These shows were recorded, and later, became Chasing The Dragon.

It features fifteen tracks from the  Osaka and Tokyo shows. This included Heat Of The Moment, Caught In The Crossfire, In The Dead Of Night, Only Time Will Tell, Hold Me Now and Battle Lines. John revisited the King Crimson back-catalogue on Starless and Book Of Saturday. This also made Chasing The Dragon an attractive proposition for King Crimson fans upon its release in 1995.

Upon its release, Chasing The Dragon proved popular. Alas, not enough for the album to chart. It was a similar story to John’s previous albums. Despite this, John continued to record and release live albums. This includes The Official Bootleg-Archive Volume 1.

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Live In Argentina 1996.

The first of the three concerts that features on The Official Bootleg-Archive Volume 1, in Live In Argentina 1996. It was recorded on 19th of October 1996, at Broadway Theatre, Buenos Aries, during John’s South American tour.

That night, John Wetton was accompanied by a small band. John plays bass, acoustic guitar and takes charge of lead vocals. He’s joined by drummer Thomas Lang, guitarist Billy Liesegang and keyboardist and vocalist Martin Orford. With his band, John works his way through seventeen tracks. 

The show opens with In The Dead Of Night, and includes Sole Survivor, Only Time Will Tell, The Smile Has Left Your Eyes, Hold Me Now, Caught In The Crossfire, Battle Lines and closes with Don’t Cry. Disc two opens with Thomas Lang’s Drum Solo. It’s a six minute drumming masterclass that’s a reminder of rock’s over-indulgent glory days. Thomas is important member of this small, but tight and talented band. Their performance was recorded for posterity.

Alas, seven years passed before the release of Live In Argentina. It was released in 2003, complete with a number of spelling mistakes on the sleeve notes. These have been rectified on the remastered version of Live In Argentina on  The Official Bootleg-Archive Volume 1. However, it’s not alone.

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Live In Osaka 1997.

Live In Osaka 1997 features on discs three and four of The Official Bootleg-Archive Volume 1. It was recorded on the 2nd of October 1997, at the Club Quattro, Osaka, Japan during John’s Japanese tour. That night, he and his band worked their way through eighteen tracks.

For the Japanese tour, there was a new member of John Wetton’s band. Keyboardist and vocalist John Young replaced Martin Orford. Apart from that,drummer Thomas Lang and guitarist Billy Liesegan joined John who switched between bass and acoustic guitar, whilst adding vocals during the eighteen song set.

This time around, The Last Thing On My Mind opens the set. After this, Sole Survivor, I Can’t Lie Anymore and Battlelines follow. They give way to John Young’s Solo. The keyboardist enjoys in moment in the spotlight, before John delivers some of his finest songs, including like The Smile Has Left Your Eyes, The Night Watch and Hold Me Now. Later, the Osaka audience are privileged to hear another Thomas Lang’s Drum Solo. John then follows this with Easy Money and In The Dead Of The Night. Closing the show are Starless and Don’t Cry, which like so many of the sings, prove the perfect showcase for John’s considerable talents. However, despite recording the show in 1997, it was six years before it was eventually released.

Live In Osaka was released in 2003, the same year as Live In Argentina. Since then, Live In Osaka has never been released..until now. It’s been remastered and is the perfect companion to Live In Argentina. However, John Wetton has kept a rerecording of one of his favourite concerts until last, Live At The Sun Plaza Tokyo 1999.

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Live At The Sun Plaza Tokyo 1999.

Discs five and six of of  The Official Bootleg-Archive Volume 1 feature Live At The Sun Plaza Tokyo 1999. The concert was recorded during a concert that took place on 5th August 1999. That night, a different lineup of John Wetton’s band accompanied him.

For the 1999 Japanese tour, John’s band featured a new drummer Steve Christey. He was joined by guitarist Billy Liesegan and keyboardist Martin Orford who had returned to the fold. They accompanied John who took charge of lead vocal and switched between acoustic guitar as he worked his way nineteen tracks.

Opening the concert was The Circle Of St. Giles, which featured on his 1997 album Arkangel. It gave way to The Last Thing On My Mind, Sole Survivor and Battle Lines. John like during the  two previous concerts was playing some of his best, and best loved tracks. After Book Of Saturday came Martin Orford’s Solo. The keyboardist gives a dazzling display before the baton passes to John.

More old favourites, including The Smile Has Left Your Eyes, Hold Me Now and Only Time Will Tell follow. So do In The Dead Of The Night and Easy Money. However, for the final three songs of show, John’s kept back Starless, Heat Of The Moment and Don’t Cry. He then takes his bow, on what he remembers as one of his favourite concerts.

I Live At The Sun Plaza was released a year later, in 2000. John Wetton’s fans welcomed the release of this latest live album. However,  before long, it was out of print. It was a similar story with Live In Argentina and Live In Osaka 1997.

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So it made sense to reissue this trio of live albums. After all, these three Official Bootlegs have been out of print for over ten years. This meant newcomers to John Wetton’s music were unable to discover Live In Argentina, Live In Osaka 1997 and Live At The Sun Plaza Tokyo 1999. John decided that the time had come to rectify this. Each of the three concerts were remastered and are reissued as part of The Official Bootleg-Archive Volume 1. It’s a six CD box set that has recently been released by the Primary Purpose label. 

The Official Bootleg-Archive Volume 1 box set is a reissue that will appeal to many music fans. This includes fans of Mogul Thrash, Family, King Crimson, Uriah Heep, UK and Asia. Then there’s John Wetton’s loyal fans, who have followed his solo career closely over the past four decades. Especially during the nineties, when the three concerts on The Official Bootleg-Archive Volume 1 were recorded. They’re sure to bring back memories of John Wetton live, in the late nineties, which was one of the most fruitful periods of his solo career.

JOHN WETTON-THE OFFICIAL BOOTLEG-ARCHIVE VOLUME 1.

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