This is the second of two performances in Detroit on this particular incarnation of Crimson’s first foray into the USA. Writing in the liner notes for KCCC 18 in 2001, Ian Wallace observes “Of all the live concerts of this band that I’ve heard so far, I think this has by far the best sound. Also it’s a sonic representation of the band at the peak of its powers, before the rot set in and the music changed.”

David Singleton notes “The audience link after Pictures has been repaired. A few obvious faults remain. The introduction to Ladies of the Road is missing, and there is a break in the middle of Groon, where the original tapes were changed. Lady of the Dancing Water remains an incomplete fragment.”

Of the bluesy rendition of In The Court Of The Crimson King Wallace explains its origins. “Backstage during the applause for an encore we plotted. Sick of having to listen to people shout out Epitaph and In The Court we retaliated. ‘So you want In the Court of the Crimson King do you? Well take this, you bastards!’ What you hear next is a hilarious and unique version of a familiar song that could be titled In The Court of the BB King. Did they get it? I doubt it. My reference [on the tape] to being an All American Boy was no doubt some sarcastic allusion but I can’t remember was it was now. Still we had fun.”

Superficially a good snapshot of the band just a couple of days into their first American tour since Crimso ’69s ill-fated outing, closer inspection reveals an unfocused quality to the gig,though this might be down to the crowd as much as the band. “If you’re clapping, clap in time – don’t muck us about” Boz tells the audience as he mangles the first verse lyric of Ladies’. Even the normally stellar Mel Collins sounds crestfallen here. Though reviving after Fripp’s comedy-routine intro to Groon he neglects to offer a solo on a truncated Schizoid Man. The band’s frustration at remaining in the shadow of ‘69 is evident during Fripp’s initially diplomatic attempt at crowd control. Boz on the other hand just tells those baying for Court and Epitaph to “shut up for fuck’s sake off.” A sarcastic Ian Wallace asks “are you satisfied?” after a particularly belligerent blues-based demolition derby of Court. If ever there was a case of band versus audience then this is it. You decide who won.

AUDIO SOURCE: Cassette Soundboard



Pictures Of A City
Formentera Lady
The Sailors Tale
Ladies Of The Road
21st Century Schizoid Man
RF Announcement
The Devils Triangle
In The Court Of The Crimson King
Lady Of The Dancing Water*
Written by Samuel Langer
Great show, great sound quality
What a good show. I absolutely love the Mars rendition with all the cool sound effects. And Court of BB King is great. Nice Groon as well!
Written by Brennan
Amazing islands show
The court of the BB king is just perfect.
Written by Randall Hammill
A dynamic show with more than one surprise...
First off, I love this "middle period" of this lineup where they've really gotten the music down, but it's quite open and loose. Pictures in particular has that lovely loping jazzy feel and an almost comical "I can play quieter and extend the structure more than you" approach until you get to the build up into the blistering instrumental section. Boz's bass playing is exceptional in this piece, although his vocals sound oddly tired at points. Then to the always dynamic improv in the middle of the song. A completely different approach than the current lineup, and was definitely a piece that this band clearly made their own. The show as a whole is strong, really working the dynamics - listen to the segue between Formentera Lade and Sailor's Tale, which has some classic soloing from Fripp - and an almost inaudible start to Cirkus. Fripp's also dropping those signposts for future Crims. The larks' theme shows up at the end of Formentera Lady, and in the context sounds much more at home than most of the times it crops up with this line-up. You'll hear it again in Groon, again differently than how I've usually heard this band perform it. Aside from the surprise showing of Court, what I haven't heard before (or seen noted), is the appearance of The Night Watch progression at the very end of Groon.
Written by Bogdan Patrascu
The Dylan-Fripp connection
A few random thoughts on this show: 1) the whole crowd banter and especially RF’s explanation of the band’s not wishing to engage in the same old songs that the audience insistently demanded instantly made me think of Bob Dylan’s similar “audience issues” on his 1966 world tour; 2) a show full of surprises (e.g. “Groon”), which I think is quite becoming of the band’s “jazzy” period. Some hilarious surprises, too, with the “Court” R&B encore. Perhaps a little loose and out-of-focus at times, but usually challenging the listener (in a good way); 3) the vocal is rather high in the mix, which sometimes distracts from everything else going on (although this emphasis is used to great effect - and with added distortion, too - on “Schizoid Man”, as it conveys the appropriate level of schizoid-ness); 4) “Devils Triangle” sounds positively frightening and hell-ish - a real sonic trip through hell, if there ever was one (more effective than the studio version on “Poseidon”). This, plus 1) above are worth the five stars, alone, in my opinion. Highly recommended!