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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

4 stars I swallowed hard before taking the plunge and buying this 4 CD box set of King Crimson live during 1973-74 but I think it was worth the not inconsiderable expense. All tracks feature the same foursome of that period - Fripp, Wetton, Bruford and Cross - and the numbers played centre mostly around Lark's Tongues and Starless and Bible Black, with some of Red (then in development), and the ocassional forays into earlier material. I think they sounded better live than in the studio, but I admit you'd have to be fairly keen on Crimson to want to pay a lot of money to hear for example, three live versions of Easy Money or The Night Watch. But if you like Crimson of this period, it is highly recommended. Fascinating to hear Starless, presumably before the band recorded it as a 3-peice, with David Cross' violin playing parts taken later by Fripp.

The most interesting tracks are the improvisations, which sometimes work, and sometimes don't; for example "Voyage to the Centre of the Cosmos" manages to do both, starting well but then running out of ideas. Some of the improv titles are more interesting than the music - "Sharks Lungs in Lemsip" for instance! The best improv is probably "Providence", played in the town of the same name, and it is this which presuambly ended up on Red; it seems to be note for note the same here with the exception of Cross being higher in the mix, and maybe some Mellotron was added for "Red".

Slight carping - there isn't the feel of listening to a complete concert, rather you move in and out of perfomances. In that respect, I would recommend the 2CD set "The Night Watch" over this, as it captures (most of) one great performance in Amsterdam that pre-dates these recordings, and which includes several tracks that were then overdubbed/re-mixed for the album "Starless & Bible Black".

Still, for Crimsonites this is worth tracking down - I ended up going through Bill Bruford's on-line store which entailed a $ purchase and import duty from US into the UK! But if you love this band such dedication is worth it....

Phil | 4/5 |


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