Adding to the already dizzying array of King Crimson live material is this second volume of the Collectable King Crimson, which hosts two gigs from 1981 in a double-disc set. The two discs vary in sound quality, but in terms of performance they are both fiery, exuberant and frequently stunning. Disc 1 has been retrieved from a cassette bootleg recording and has been restored as well as possible. The back cover notes that the quality is "fair". Disc 2 is a different story in that its sound quality is absolutely excellent.
With two live shows from 1974, The Collectable King Crimson, Voi. 1 features arguably the most talked about and beloved incarnation of the group. Robert Fripp, Bill Bruford, John Wetton and David Cross certainly a formidable line-up, and Crimson's most ferocious, especially in a live environment. With album tracks as well as mind-blowing improvisations, the two shows here are packed with uncanny playing from the band, all showing their talents at creating progressive rock that borders on jazz-fusion as well as hard rock. The sound quality are great, the booklet features some nice commentary from Wetton and KC historian Sid Smith, giving some insight into the band at the time of these recordings.
The Massey Hall King Crimson show is one of the most well known and well documented. Live In Toronto is the latest Club silver pressed release which has the complete soundboard recording from that night for the first time. Live In Toronto is truly an important archive release by King Crimson. They’ve mostly been going down the download route, posting their tapes online and not bothering with silver releases. But this one, despite the sub par show, certainly is interesting enough for a Collector’s Club release. This is available from the DGM website for a reasonable price, definitely worth having.
"In the Court of the Crimson King" is the 1969 debut album by the British progressive rock group King Crimson. The album reached #5 on the British charts, and is certified gold in the United States.
The album is generally viewed as one of the strongest of the progressive rock genre, where King Crimson largely stripped away the blues-based foundations of rock music and mixed together jazz and Classical symphonic elements. In his 1997 book "Rocking the Classics", critic and musicologist Edward Macan notes that "In the Court of the Crimson King" "may be the most influential progressive rock album ever released".
This gig appears to be a testimony to the recuperative powers of John Wetton’s constitution. Having been out partying in the company of David Enthoven and Richard Palmer-James the night before in Munich, he still manages an impressive performance on Doctor Diamond and indeed throughout the rest of the gig. Though the good Doctor would forever elude them in the studio it seems that the band really beginning to find the soul of this song in concert. Fracture has a risky quality tonight; Bruford is in an adventurous mood whilst David’s tron is a touch out of tune.
Talk about chalk and cheese or to put it another way: what a difference a day makes. After their uneven performance at in Pittsburgh, Boz and the boys spent a day travel up to Milwaukee and washed up at the Riverside theatre. 24 hours spent away from the stage has made them hungry again, giving this gig a distinctive edge to the set. Arguably the best live rendering of Formentera Lady is to be found here; Fripp’s chords and timing are tight and consequently Boz’s vocals are focussed and sharp. Collins moves from supportive flute to bracing salvos of alto sax fired over the rhythm section inquisitive wanderings which range from sparse funk, R&B shuffle, and Elvin Jones workout. As it migrates to become The Sailors Tale, Collins’ frenetic soloing demonstrates why there was no other band quite like Crim doing the rounds back then; it’s jazz rock but not as we know it, Jim.
Compiled from the Porcupine Tree support slot in October 2006, this is a snapshot of the duo grappling with the task of combining the harmonic ambiguity of Soundscapes with some straight ahead rock grooves. With so much of Robert’s public work being taken up with ‘scaping in recent times, it’s almost a novelty to hear him rocking it up like he does on Time Groove from Boston and Queer Jazz NYC. Despite all the technology involved this is a pared-back sound compared to previous projeKcts, and there's a tentative, exploratory quality about much of the music; two players in search of that often elusive moment, an intriguing aspect which provides much of the tension and appeal.