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King Crimson - The Great Deceiver: Live 1973 - 1974 CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.56 | 356 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Man With Hat
4 stars The live album of live albums.

THIS is the set to own for live King Crimson, especially the 70s lineup. The Great Deceiver contains four disks of unbridled, explosive, expertly played, powerful, progressive music. This set weaves and twists through almost every corner of the Kings 70's repertoire and then some. The track lists are varied, and instead of getting Five versions of Lark's Tongues In Aspic Part II, you get Cat Food, Larks' Tongues In Aspic: Part 1, Doctor Diamond, and a boatload of improvs (although Walk On...No Pussyfooting does start almost all disks, it's usually over and done with before you relized it started, and Easy Money seems to come up alot as well, but there are variations thrown in, an aspect that makes any King Crimson live experience that more exciting). The improvs really steal the show here. They are pretty diverse and really show the Crims in their prime. Standouts include A Voyage To The Center Of The Cosmos, The Golden Walnut, and The Laws Of Maximum Distress. (It is also nice to hear Fripp talk and joke about with the crowd.) Aside from the improvs, there are some killer verisons of the composed songs. Larks' Tongues Part One, The Talking Drum, The Great Deceiver, and 21st the list.

But the difficulty comes in trying to assign a rating. If this was based purely on the music, ability, or progressiveness, this would be a five star set hands down. However, for the purposes of this site the matter of essentialness must be taken into account. This set is not for everyone. First of all, non-King Crimson fans or even (to an extent) casual King Crimson fans have little reason to purchase it. Not to mention it is a lot of music. One thing that really helps The Great Deceiver is that it was recently released, and is now available at more conventional prices and in groups of two. But still, for me a dilemma exists.

All in all, this is essentially essential. King Crimson fans have no excuse not to have this. Of all the King Crimson live albums, this one is at the top of the heap for me. Many people will argue that the seventies Crimson King was the best and/or most progressive lineup, and this album is surely an argument for that. There are really few, if any, flaws here. The playing is masterful, the interplay is top notch, and, perhaps above all, the music is exciting and relentless, constantly flowing with great ideas and moments that really speak the wonders of progressive rock. For all intents and purposes, consider this a five star rating without the actual five star rating. Extremely recommended.

Man With Hat | 4/5 |


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