John Wetton Agenda/Amata

Approaching his 40th anniversary in music, John Wetton is no stranger to live records — he’s accrued over 30 live releases, in various incarnations from Asia to Uriah Heep. Reprising 1999’s Nomansland, live from Poland, Wetton returns to Kraków for two concerts, Agenda and the acoustic Amata. The electric Agenda shows Wetton aging gracefully, and though he doesn’t sing with as much clarity as, say, ’94’s Chasing the Dragon, he still belts out originals and covers with pronounced vigour. The intro to the band’s able reading of King Crimson’s "Red” sounds like RPWL covering Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd. Asia’s "Heat of the Moment” and especially "Sole Survivor” stay afloat thanks to back-up vocals from keyboardist Martin Orford and guitarist John Mitchell. Better Crimson times come in "Starless” and "Easy Money,” but the best covers are "In The Dead Of Night” and the magnificent "Rendezvous 6:02,” both from Wetton’s late-’70s stint with U.K. His originals, "Nothing’s Gonna Stand in Our Way” and "Battle Lines,” are brilliant neo-prog with classic accoutrements. His voice starts to crack on Amata’s crucial deuce, however: Asia’s "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes,” "Heat of the Moment,” nor Crimson’s "Book of Saturday” and "The Night Watch” fare well in their acoustic arrangements. Once again, his originals, "You’re Not the Only One” and the instrumental "Mondrago,” eclipse all else. Wetton may be a dinosaur of rock, but at least Agenda proves that he’s still the T-Rex among his contemporaries. Fans should also check out Amorata, the DVD of the entire Agenda set with interviews, photo gallery, discography, and more. (Metal Mind)