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King Crimson - The Collectable King Crimson - Vol. 2 (Live in Bath, 1981 + Live in Philadelphia, 1982) CD (album) cover


King Crimson

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4 stars With clever packaging, reasonable price and a rare chance to hear King Crimson perform " The Howler " from Beat in a live environment you can`t go wrong with this double disc DGM offering. It also offers a glimpse into the improvements and developments which took place within the band after it`s first resurrection between March 1981 and July 1982.

First, King Crimson as you`ve never heard them before : In a seedy downstairs pub atmosphere ( literally ) which is so intimate that vocalist/guitarist Adrian Belew actually petitions the audience, who seem to be packed in like sardines, to refrain from smoking " if they can manage it ". Sometimes the drunken chatter from the pub even drowns out some of the quieter sections of this seemingly impromptu appearance. Can this really be King Crimson? Sort of. It`s a band called Discipline which the apparition King Crimson left behind in 1974 would assimulate after roughly a half a dozen performances in similar settings. Discipline hardly sounds like a likely name for a pub band but when one hears their powerful renditions of " Red " and " Lark`s Tongues In Aspic Part II " we know that this band with Bob Fripp, Adrian Belew, Bill Bruford and Tony Levin is worthy of the appellation King Crimson. First consideration here though is to bear in mind that besides being the first live test drive of the new formation, it also does take place in a somewhat very tiny drunken pub in Bath, England in March 1981and was initially captured live on cassette tape which has been restored as much as possible by Fripp and his team of geniuses at DGMs remastering laboratories. In fact, in this setting it shows that the band can also have a warmer character to it rather than the clinical perfection we have come to know since this first re-incarnation in 1981. There are too many imperfections to point out but a couple worth mentioning are Bruford sounding like he`s playing on a set of drums he got for his 12th birthday often almost being completely drowned out by drunken audience chatter and Fripp being completely overpowered by the intensity of the new guitarist Adrian Belew who really lets her rip with some really raw sounding guitar effects! One thing which hits the listener in the face straight away is the volumous sound of Tony Levin`s bass which is right out in front for the entire gig. The audience also gets drunker and louder as the gig progresses adding to the overall atmosphere. Definitely a jolly good time down at the pub that night!

Disc two fast forwards to July `82 in Philadelphia, USA and all the tracks which were heard in their raw form on the previous disc are repeated here along with 4 compositions from their then recently released " Beat " album. Arguably one of the finest recordings of the band from this era it demonstrates how far the band progressed as a live unit since it`s first performance. Belew really takes the spotlight on this particular gig with the band being as tight as ever. Besides being one of the best 81-84 King Crimson performances it measures a band`s coming of age from a point of re-birth. One of the best bets from the vast King Crimson Collector`s Club offerings which comes with the usual commentary and photos. Essential King Crimson.

Report this review (#152809)
Posted Monday, November 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars I have a few problems with this recording.

First, this incarnation of King Crimson is the worst of all groupings. It isn't completely without merit, but Bill Bruford, who has stated that he occasionally rejoins King Crimson and Yes to pay for his solo projects, seems to be going through the motions, and the guitar parts mostly sound like practise exersizes layered over each other. Only Tony Levin consistantly plays interesting licks from song to song.

The two recordings, their first in this grouping, and the second, played during the Beat tour, shows one of the shortcomings of the band. They seems to play all of the songs almost exactly the same way from tour to tour.

And third, whoever judged the sound quality on the recordings was listening through rose colored headphones. The Live In Bath is listed as "fair", but sounds quite muffled throughout, and the Live in Philadelphie disk is listed as Excellent, but with the distortion, clipping, and other flaws, should not be rated thus.

There are better recordings of this band out there, making this, except for the historical importance of their first gig, superfluous.

Report this review (#282506)
Posted Tuesday, May 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
2 stars This Collectable package consists of two early concerts of the Crimson 81-84 line-up. The early 81 concert has a very poor recording quality and isn't much more then a collectors item. The 82 concert is perfectly enjoyable but it is overshadowed by the more lavish 2CD Absent Lovers, a concert release from 84 with a more complete setlist.

I find the first CD to be entirely unlistenable. It's an audience recording that doesn't come off better then any random bootleg. The only reason this concert was released at all is because it was the first gig ever by this line-up. Frankly I could perfectly do without it and I'm very happy our public library employs a dedicated Crimson fan who collects all these releases! 1star

CD2 is from the Beat tour and sounds just perfect. Only, since Three of a Perfect Pair wasn't released yet, the setlist isn't the strongest imaginable, and everything is played very truthful to the original studio versions. Only two tracks are slightly extended, namely The Sheltering Sky and Indiscipline. That last one got an extra drum solo at the start, more talking from Belew in the middle and a really explosive finale. Lark's Tongues II is an obvious highlight but can't rival with the 74 USA version. Good concert overall. 3stars

When it comes to the 81-84 period, there's only one King Crimson live album you really need and that's Absent Lovers. This line-up didn't improvise much and unless you're a collector, you won't need this Collectible Vol2.

Report this review (#284344)
Posted Monday, May 31, 2010 | Review Permalink

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