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

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Black Noodle Project - Play Again – Thick and chunky spacerock mannerisms assault unsuspecting onlookers before settling into the interactive stylistic conflagrations that expansive progressive rock is known for. This is classic...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues