“This next song is aptly titled Circkus” says Boz with a slight edge in his voice. Here’s the band at the half way point of what they know is their last tour together. [endtease] Certainly there’s a lot of clowning around that masks some of the unresolved tensions and resentments that were part of the Crimso chemistry at the time.

“I feel lost, I feel out of control, I feel I’m going MAD!” declaims Fripp as he fails to quell a call to party from the rest of the troops on stage. A case of many a truth said in jest perhaps? Alongside such psycho-drama there’s some good music; Formentera Lady is a rootsy, gutsy affair, with Boz’s crooning especially good over Mel’s thorny soloing. For fans of the vintage sustained laser-beam tone that Fripp made all his own, The Sailor’s Tale will not disappoint.

Ladies Of The Road features some laugh-out-loud banter between Boz and Fripp’s blues guitar pastiche. Perhaps because of all the fun and games throughout the gig, Groon lacks the bite of other versions that are available, and whilst Schizoid Man rescues things with a revved up guitar solo, the encore improv is probably Fripp’s most uncommitted performance of the era. Cadence and Cascade is robbed of a proper conclusion when the tape runs out. It could almost be a metaphor.

AUDIO SOURCE: Board Recording

DGM AUDIO QUALITY

AVERAGE CUSTOMER RATING

TRACK
TIME
01
Pictures Of A City
09:52
02
Formentera Lady
08:43
03
The Sailors Tale
09:40
04
Cirkus
11:01
01
Ladies Of The Road
08:22
02
Groon
17:00
03
21st Century Schizoid Man
11:58
04
Improv I
06:43
05
Cadence And Cascade*
04:17
Written by Christopher King
Pittsburgh March 6, 1972 Improv
I could listen to Crimso improvs alone all night! The single group improv here at the 1972 Pittsburgh gig was a one chord vamp in F that includes Mel's sax riff that more famously was the theme to the song/improvisation "Earthbound" on the Earthbound album. As noted in other reviews here for this gig, the band was at low energy. (Odd Pittsburgh audience where someone shouts out, "Who Killed the Kennedys?" and Boz says something like, "If you hum a few bars and we'll fake it." Ha!) Weirdly I think it's worth the download to hear Crimso at low ebb, just so you can understand the heights they soared at other times. Anyway, the improv could have been far more interesting as Ian Wallace starts out with a quirky, foot-tapping challenge 9/8 beat, but Boz comes in and his bass line completely ignores that interesting rhythm, and rather than crash the band, Ian matches him and switches back to a far less interesting 4/4 thump. Mel never moves his sax much beyond a simple blues scale. Fripp wisely segues the band to "Cadence and Cascade" to close the show.
Written by Barry Briscoe
Surreal
Some dates on this tour make for odd listening experiences but I think this show is possibly the strangest Crimson gig I've listened to so far, a bizarre snapshot of why Robert had become unhappy with this line up as on many levels it's possibly their most unprofessional show. It’s almost like a parody of what King Crimson were as they were renowned for their tight exciting dramatic live shows but this is anything but. Given how regimented and disciplined Robert is, one can't begin to imagine the despair he may had been feeling as this show unfolded so his outburst does sound like a scream of frustrated rage as the music he had been playing for all this time is in danger of being deconstructed. The recording quality is pretty good for this era and source which enables us to hear the mayhem that was going on in fine detail. As always, Mel Collins gives a solid dependable performance playing for all it's worth with style. I've never heard Mel play badly and this is typical Mel for the time though I sometimes wonder if he was trying to make up for Fripp's lack of engagement as Fripp isn't having a good time. Boz and Ian are out of control with their antics as if they were punishing Fripp as neither were pleased that the band were on borrowed time so I sense their resentment coming to the surface. The show does have its amusing moments and is an intriguing listen but definitely not this Crimson at their best nor an ideal starting point for anyone yet to sample these Earthbound shows. Summit Studios also has its fair share of merriment but it felt relaxed and good natured, whereas here it sounds disruptive and tense. When they play the numbers straight, the performances are fine but none are definitive and there are far better shows that show how good this line up could be. Fortunately it was a blip compared to other recordings surrounding it but one shudders to think how many other unrecorded performances were similar to this.
Written by Alessandro Pizzin
what's essential?
Imho, i think that maybe every single musical excerpt of the entire KC body of work is essential for every KC fan and appreciator ... i remember that I thought exactly the same way back in late 1972 when EARTHBOUND was released. Sometimes awful sound and performance are able to tell stories and details that the perfection often hides.
Written by Tom Brantseg
Intriguing Show
This show is completely unintelligible unless one is aware of the turmoil in the band at this point. Of course, anyone visiting here almost surely knows their Crim history, so it’s a bit of a moot point, but a show this schizophrenic requires the listener to approach with some knowledge. A predictable highlight is the superlative soloing from Mel on, well, pretty much every piece, but Formentera Lady in particular. Pity he doesn’t solo on 21st Century Schizoid Man, which does, however, feature one of those wonderfully dissonant, angular RF solos that he seemed able to conjure up out of nowhere in 1972. Sailor’s Tale is also excellent, with powerful rhythm section work and another inspired RF solo. Pictures, Cirkus, and Cadence are all played very well, although nothing really stands out about the performances. This performance is far from perfect, though. Ladies of the Road is awful, falling completely apart on the second chorus, and Groon never really gets off the ground, with an uninspired and rather perfunctory group improvisation before the twelve-minute drum solo - quite a contrast from the powerful Summit Studios version only six days later. I’m not quite sure what to think of the improv. Despite RF obviously being bored, the other three work up a stomping little groove, and Mel even breaks out the flute to complement Boz’s scat. To sum up, this is an intriguing show, but probably not essential except for students of this period.
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