Tonight was the only UK headline Wetton show of the year and it had an international feel with people travelling from Denmark, Norway, Italy and three ladies from the United States.
A couple of minutes before nine thirty the trio appeared onstage, Wetton briefly introducing the band - Martin Orford (IQ & Jadis) on keyboards, backing vocals and flute and new lad John Mitchell (of Arena & the Urbane) on electric guitar - before launching the set with a slow version of the Asia classic, HEAT OF THE MOMENT. Before stepping back in time even further Wetton noted that "there are a few Vikings here tonight" - their horned (plastic) helmets giving the game away. For the first time Mitchell left the stage as Wetton and Orford played BOOK of SATURDAY before the trio moved forward through another Asia song and a keyboard solo to the title tracks of the two latest Wetton solo albums, BATTLELINES and ARKANGEL.
From 1990s it was back to 1983 and a song about jealousy, THE SMILE HAS LEFT YOUR EYES, again without Mitchell. Before EMMA, a lullaby Wetton explained the "Peking duck" at the bottom of his leg - a plaster cast adorned broken foot. Despite this injury Wetton stood for the whole set and his voice sounded strong and sure. Another step back through the years for EASY MONEY (featuring Orford on flute) and 30 YEARS - neither featuring Mitchell. HOLD ME NOW featured raised lighters from the Danish contingent before the "tear jerker" AFTER ALL and "ghost story" RENDEVOUS 6:02 brought the main set to a fitting climax.
A longer than usual wait for the encore followed (to allow Wetton time to get off then back onstage) which featured two King Crimson classics, THE NIGHTWATCH and STARLESS. With that the short set (just over 75 minutes of music which may be understandable under the circumstances - Wettons foot) was over. Quite why Mitchell played on roughly half the tracks I don't understand. It is not that they needed a third player or that they didn't benefit from his presence - ot just seemed odd having him there for so little work. The last Wetton show I saw was supporting Pendragon when he and Orford managed perfectly well on their own. Despite this odd set-up the music was good and the banter flowed freely between audience and band - an enjoyable night out in a nice intimate central London venue.