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.
Groon is cut into two sections here thanks to the tape running out and being reinserted into the cassette machine,and whilst some of the internal tensions are referenced by Boz and Ian (particularly when a member of the crowd yells for Schizoid Man), it’s relatively minor stuff compared to the previous gig.
Instead, there’s a truce that enables some remarkable music to sweep everyone onwards and upwards to greater heights.
Not even Robert’s guitar breaking down at the start of Schizoid Man seems to dint the confident air at the Riverside theatre that night. Ever wanted to hear what Crimson without Fripp would sound like? Well here’s your chance. When they start up again with Fripp in tow they deliver a version which comes pretty damn close to the jaw-dropper rendition of 21CSM at Willmington (as heard on the Earthbound album) the previous month.