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King Crimson

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King Crimson USA album cover
4.02 | 340 ratings | 37 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Live, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1975 Original vinyl release:
1. Larks' tongues in aspic part II (6:45)
2. Lament (4:05)
3. Exiles (7:04)
4. Asbury Park (6:50)
5. Easy money (6:32)
6. 21st century schizoid man (7:32)

Total Time: 38:48

2002 30th Anniversary Edition CD:
1. Walk On... No Pussyfooting (0:35)
2. Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part 2 (6:24)
3. Lament (4:21)
4. Exiles (7:23)
5. Asbury Park (6:53)
6. Easy Money (7:11)
7. 21st Century Schizoid Man (8:10)
8. Fracture (11:19)
9. Starless (14:57)

Total Time: 67:16

Lyrics

Search KING CRIMSON USA lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search KING CRIMSON USA tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Bill Bruford / drums, percussion
- David Cross / violin, keyboards
- Robert Fripp / guitar, mellotron
- John Wetton / bass, vocals
- Eddie Jobson / violin on "Larks' Tongues", piano on "Lament"

Releases information

LP Island ILPS9316 (1975)
30th Anniversary Edition CD: CDVKCX12 (2002)
CD DGM 0512 (2006)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to bsurmano for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy KING CRIMSON USA Music


In the Court of the Crimson KingIn the Court of the Crimson King
Remastered
Discipline Us 2004
Audio CD$8.18
$7.98 (used)
Red 30th Anniversary Edition RemasteredRed 30th Anniversary Edition Remastered
Discipline Us 2004
Audio CD$8.20
$8.03 (used)
DisciplineDiscipline
Discipline Us 2004
Audio CD$8.03
$10.91 (used)
Larks Tongues in Aspic - 30th Anniversary Edition RemasteredLarks Tongues in Aspic - 30th Anniversary Edition Remastered
Discipline Us 2004
Audio CD$8.18
$6.65 (used)
Islands: 30th Anniversary EditionIslands: 30th Anniversary Edition
Discipline Us 2004
Audio CD$8.20
$7.98 (used)
In the Wake of Poseidon: 30th Anniversary EditionIn the Wake of Poseidon: 30th Anniversary Edition
Discipline Us 2004
Audio CD$8.12
$7.12 (used)
Starless (Deluxe box set)Starless (Deluxe box set)
Box set · Limited Edition
Discipline Global Mobile 2014
Audio CD$225.98
Starless and Bible Black: 40th Anniversary SeriesStarless and Bible Black: 40th Anniversary Series
CD+DVD
Discipline Us 2011
DVD Audio$15.23
$22.78 (used)
Three of a Perfect PairThree of a Perfect Pair
Extra tracks
Discipline Us 2006
Audio CD$8.71
$9.88 (used)
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KING CRIMSON USA ratings distribution


4.02
(340 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
28%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(54%)
54%
Good, but non-essential (15%)
15%
Collectors/fans only (4%)
4%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

KING CRIMSON USA reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars 3,5 stars really!!!! but with the added bonus tracks, upped to 4... Undefined State of Amnesia

For over twenty years, this was the only live testimony of the second KC era (and it was a posthumous release), and although much better than Earthbound, the sound was hardly great on this album too. Finally for the 30th anniversary (and along with the Japanese mini-Lp), this album got its first official Cd release (some 25 years after its release) and I could not resist because it is the only Crimson album to have received bonus tracks and this alone made a solid better value.

Although there was a nowhere-else available track, the Asbury Park improv, I had not kept the vinyl since I was not pleased with the muddy sound. Then came out The Nightwatch double-set, which had a very good sound and I had almost forgotten this album, when I had a great opportunity and did not hesitate much since it was re-mastered. However, even remastered (and well improved over the vinyl), the sound is still not excellent (there is only so much you can do to average recordings), but at least, I got them three bonus tracks.

Knowing that the sound is still not up to par with The Nightwatch, this is really a toss-up as to which you should own first, but this one has Asbury Park, Starless (with Cross on violin) but the other has the eponymous, Talking Drum and three other improvs. Since I could not make-out a clear winner I now have both. This one has got Starless as a finale now and this is certainly a great asset.

With this remastered edition, this album has now gained a full place next to their historical studio albums and it now proudly sits next to Red and before The Nightwatch.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#15261) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Review by Bryan
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Very good KC live album. The sound quality is fantastic, and the band at their best is on display. The improv work on "Asbury Park" is stunning, and hardly sounds improvised. "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part II" is crushingly heavy and very well performed as per usual. Plus there's a very beautiful performance of "Exiles", and the re-release features a fine effort on "Starless". "21st Century Schizoid Man" has sounded much better though, but that's the only major weakness. Worth checking out for any major King Crimson fans, especially those from the 1973-1975 period.

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Send comments to Bryan (BETA) | Report this review (#15262) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 02, 2004

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This line-up of King Crimson was one of the heaviest bands in progressive rock. Those were the days when King Cimson really played very good (in comparison to the Belew line-ups). Another good thing of this album is that it is an "honest live album": in the cover they say that Eddie Jobson did some studio overdubs. "Exiles" is a great version. It seems that "Asbury Park" was an improvisation, and it is very powerful. "Schizoid Man" is the heaviest of all the songs in this album. A very good album. Bill Bruford finally found his right place in a band. His skills as drummer shine in this album.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#15267) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, September 06, 2004

Review by el böthy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars An excellent live album by an excellent band. "Lark´s tougues in Aspic", "Lament" and "Fracture" are over the top songs, really outstanding. And of course theres all time clasic ( here I´m speaking about King Crimson, so when I say clasic I don´t mean a kind of "Baby, I love your way" by Peter Frampton, this is KC, doný forget that) "21st century schizoid man". I actually like it more with sax and Greg Lakes voice, but it still an incredible song. Here in Argentina it´s not very easy to get KC albums, specially "Larks tou..." and "Starless and ...", but I did get this one, and I´m very pleaced to have it.

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Send comments to el böthy (BETA) | Report this review (#15268) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars It was only Easy Money that stimulated me to purchase the LP of this album sometime in 1979. Yes, I loved the studio version of this track and was curious about what it would be like if it is performed live? But, what a great surprise for me when I found that all tracks delivered live by the band in this album were top notch! Because I love live albums, I kept playing this LP on and on. For practical purpose, I recorded the LP to a cassette and I always brought it and my walkman with me wherever I went at that time. What a great satisfaction! I even much more like this version compared to any studio version of the tracks contained in this album.

"Larks' Tongues in Aspic part II " is much more dynamic performed live in here. Oh Mr. Bruford, how wonderful and powerful your drumming is! I also like Wetton's stormy bass line when he plays altogether with dynamic drum during transition with high energy! I always repeat this track because of this transition. Great! Jobson's violin is also amazing! "Lament" is also performed better in here. "Exiles"? Oh man .. I love when Mr. Fripp's guitar effect enters the song at the beginning. What a rocking style he delivers! Violin work is also great. This track has a very strong melody (tasteful and catchy) and through this performance the gentlemen have done so perfect!

The second side of the LP features other wonderfully composed tracks - performed excellently here. "Asbury Park" opening drum solo accompanied with guitar effects and keyboard are really amazing. Fripp's long sustain, free form open passage, sometimes in the context of unusual signatures guitar style in this track has satisfied my illusion of what the great guitar player should play. Bruford's unsynchronized beats (yet they produce wonderful harmony sounds) are really fascinating! Well, quite honest, I'm so speechless whenever I enjoy this album especially when I observe the nitty-gritty details. Marvelous! It flows seamlessly to my all time favorite Crimson track "Easy Money ". What a great track this one is. Tight structure, wide variety of melody in terms of high and low register notes, great improvisation of drums and bluesy guitar touch with wonderful mellotron at the back.

This live album concludes with a classic and masterpiece "21st Century Schizoid Man"; and this time is performed not by Greg Lake as it appears in studio version. Wetton still maintain the distorted vocal similar to studio version. Considering that this live has no saxophone but the complex part of this live performance is as wonderful as studio version.

I'm sure that I'm NOT naïve this time because I give this album a full five stars rating. I disregard recording quality (as compared to studio ones) even though as far as live recording concerned this is good quality. You should not miss this album. Thumbs up! Rating 5/5. GW, Indonesia.

Notes:

I will NOT recommend you to purchase this CD if you have not listened to the studio version of "all" tracks contained in this album. If you have been familiar with the studio version, I bet you will agree with my view described above. Please do not give your words about this album if you are not familiar with the studio version; because, I think, it's not fair at all. Keep on progging!

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#15271) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Review by Philo
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars While the sound quality may be very good and clear, and sonically powerful-especially Wetton's growling bass, USA is still not the finished product when it comes to King Crimson live with the line up that comprised Fripp/Bruford/Wetton/Cross. And now with the vast amount of archive releases through the King Crimson Collectors Club this is even more so redundant. The main overriding factor which knocks this album back is the fact that for many of the performances there is a fade out which brings this album a sense of live collection rather than the feel of a live show. This, the feeling of a live show, should be intrinsically central with a live album, at least as far as I'm concerned. Having the live tracks fade out, a pause, then fade back in to a new song was a major pain in the arse and it killed the essence of King Crimson live for me, on this album at least. And with the three albums that preceded USA I was certainly expecting a massive experience. Once we get over the intro, "Larks Tongues In Aspic" sounds towering. "Lamant too sounds equally impressive but by the time I got to the "Asbury Park" improv it was beginning to come across as slightly regimental, especially when considering the Live At Central Park or Live In Mainz recordings released by the KCCC in recent years, and they put USA in perspective, and rather than sound like a King Crimson album it has the tone of an (contractual obligatory) album put together by the record label. The band had exploded by the time of this albums release and Fripp himself has stated his displeasure with USA. Far from being a poor album USA does not cut the muster when at the time King Crimson were coming down from arguably their most successful period. USA is not the document of the band King Crimson from 1972-1974, but it is still a good live album. despite the reservations and criticisms.

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Send comments to Philo (BETA) | Report this review (#41094) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 31, 2005

Review by erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars A few years ago Robert Fripp his Discipline Global Mobile label re-released early King Crimson CD's in a wonderful package with a hardboard cover, a 12-page booklet and bonustracks (the 30th Anniversary Editions). The live LP USA always has been my favorite King Crimson album because it contains many of my favorite songs and very few tracks that can be described as 'organised chaos' or 'cacasymphonic' (the experimental and complex part of KC I disgust) like Fractured, one of the 3 bonustracks on this re-issue. The booklet features lots of articles (including the shocking announcement from Fripp that "King Crimson have ceased"), reviews ("Play it loud") and pictures (like from the 'Schaefer Music Festival'). The music delivers King Crimson at their pinnacle: propulsive, inventive and dynamic drumming from Bill Bruford, agressive and powerful bass work and wonderful, very distinctive vocals from John Wetton, 'chainsaw-like' guitar runs and compelling Melllotron waves from Robert Fripp and beautiful violin play (along keyboards) from David Cross. The one moment the music is mellow with soaring Mellotron, the other moment very agressive or complex featuring amazing interplay and virtuosic soli. One of the highlights is the bonustrack Starless, an absolute All Time Top 10 Progrock Composition. First a dreamy start delivering wailing violin, moving Mellotron, warm and melancholic vocals. Then gradually swelling and ominous with slow but powerful bass runs and twanging electric guitar, shivers down my spine! Halfway the music erupts heavingly and turns into agressive with howling, often very biting Fripperian guitar (also replacing Mel Collins his saxophone on the studio LP), this is King Crimson at their best!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#64561) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, January 13, 2006

Review by Raff
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Bearing witness to the power and the glory of KC's last '70s incarnation, USA is an exercise in proto-prog-metal that many celebrated, modern-day bands (which, out of political correctness, I will refrain from mentioning) would die for. With some notable exceptions, in this album melody and delicacy of touch are largely replaced by sheer strength, aggression and stunning technical proficiency. The sound is at times harsh and metallic, with John Wetton's powerful yet intricate bass lines providing a solid background for Fripp's angular guitar excursions. Bruford's drumming, stellar as always, is unfortunately somewhat swamped by the bass in a mix which, while miles better than its predecessor "Earthbound", does not enhance all the instruments in the same way. Even David Cross's violin sounds harsher and less lyrical than on the studio albums. By the way, on the opening "Larks' Tongues in Aspic pt. 2", Cross is replaced by the legendary Eddie Jobson, later to join Bruford and Wetton in the sadly short-lived U.K.

The weakest point of the album, in my opinion, are (as usual) Wetton's vocals. On "Red" he showed how vastly he had improved as a vocalist: but live, I am sorry to say, it is another matter. His baritone voice strains mightily on both "Lament" and "Exiles", and his vocoded performance on "21st Century Schizoid Man" shows quite clearly that the song was tailor-made for Lake's vastly superior pipes. Wetton is not a bad vocalist by any means, but I think he is more suited to hard rock than to the complexities of prog.

Apart from the vocals, "21st Century Schizoid Man" offers an interesting twist in that Ian MacDonald's hysterical sax solo is replaced by violin (this time played by Cross). I'm not sure if this is completely successful but, in a way, it makes the track even heavier than it originally was. The previously unreleased "Asbury Park" was probably an improvisation and sounds accordingly rather experimental and free-form; while "Larks'.." intro is crushingly heavy, before giving way to Cross's violin weaving intricate patterns on the dynamic background provided by the rythm section. On the dark, brooding "Fracture", Wetton's bass really comes into its own, proving what a great player he is. I may not be that keen on his singing, but his four-string skills are nothing short of amazing.

The album closer really needs no introduction... One of prog's defining moments, the mighty "Starless" is introduced by wistful Mellotron waves heralding Wetton's deep, melancholy vocals (undoubtedly his best on the whole record). This live version is absolutely stunning, in turns soothingly melodic and starkly aggressive, a pure explosion of sound - what better swan song for such an influential band?

Since USA's release, at least two more live albums from the same lineup have been made available, with a larger selectionof tracks and much better sound quality. However, I think any serious KC fan should own this one as well, as it offers the opportunity to hear the band at the top of their game - without breaking the bank!

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Posted Sunday, April 30, 2006

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The "final" King Crimson release (of the 70s that is) as it was intended was a live album that came out after the group was defunct but was recorded at the height of their final tour in that lineup consisting of Robert Fripp, David Cross, John Wetton, and Bill Bruford, with Eddie Jobson as a special guest on two tracks. I'll be reviewing the new version of the album that features 3 extra tracks, and the three added on couldn't be much better as both Fracture and Starless are added on. Although the audio is a bit underwhelming the fantastic musicianship and the stellar setlist make up for it and then some.

Opening with a flourish of sound from the Walk On... No Pussyfooting segment that would open up their shows, they immediately go into Larks' Tongue in Aspic Part II. The crushingly heavy riffing is great here and the dynamic performances from all across the board. It may not be the best live version of the song that I've heard, but it's arguably my favorite King Crimson song so any version of it in my opinion is a great one. Lament is one of the more out there pieces created by the group, as the melodic introduction is met by a zany middle section with kooky riffing from Wetton, but none the less it's a good rendition. I'll also mention that Eddie Jobson performed the violin and keyboards on both of those tracks and the rest are by David Cross. Exiles is another great track, but I think this may be my least favorite version of the track, still it's pretty damn good for what it is. Asbury Park is the improvisational piece added to the album, and it may be one of the best improvisational pieces King Crimson ever commited to record. It's so well played by all fronts that it actually sounds like a tightly rehearsed piece and there's no hint of improvisation at all in the musicianship. And you'll only find it here as well.

Easy Money may be the most overrated song from this era of King Crimson, as every live album King Crimson released from this era had this song (albeit with slightly skewed and more humorous lyrics) on it and I can't say that this version is better than any other one. The original album ended with a rollicking version of 21st Century Schizoid Man, the only problem with it is that Wetton's voice doesn't really sound that good when distorted. There are better versions of this song from the same era as well. Fracture may as well be one of the most technically challenging pieces ever written, and Robert Fripp extends that sentiment even when they play it live. I have to say that the version on The Night Watch was better (as it would end up on the Starless and Bible Black album without the live track in it). Sonically this song is an assault on your ears in the later sections, and every time you hear it it's more and more worth the listen. The remastered version ends with a ripping version of Starless, with Cross's violin replacing Fripp's lead guitar in the pre-verses. The unfinished lyrics also sound a bit awkward in these early live versions of it. My only problem with it is that there is around 3 minutes worth of closing fanfare to close it, so those who are under the impression that the song if 15 minutes long will be upset to learn that it's only around 12 with 3 minutes of crowd cheering.

In the end, USA would be the only live reference of this era of King Crimson until the early 90s when The Great Deceiver was released and then later with The Night Watch. While the Great Deceiver was a more comprehensive live set that included many different shows, this one is more concise with the stronger pieces and doesn't have nearly as many improvs on it. I do believe The Great Deceiver was a better collection in the end, though. If you want the cheapest live album of this incarnation of King Crimson, look no further. If you're willing to spend a bit more, go with The Night Watch, and if you're willing to shell out a large sum of money (around 60 dollars American) you can get The Great Deceiver. Highly recommended. 4/5.

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Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I have the 30th anniversary edition which includes the whole concert (extra tracks) as well as David Cross' actual violin parts. They were originally so low in the mix that Fripp brought Eddie Jobson in to re-do the parts and they were added later.This is from their concert at Asbury Park, New Jersey on June 28th 1974. Right off the top I have to say that i'm blown away by the sheer power of this band here.The rhythm section of Wetton and Bruford is like a ton of bricks. I kept thinking of ANEKDOTEN especially with the storm of mellotron throughout this live concert played by both Fripp and Cross. Bands like TOOL and GUAPO and many more owe so much to this band.

The opener "Walk On...No Pussyfooting" is a 35 second pastoral intro. It's absolute choas when the next song "Larks' Tongues In Aspic:Part II" opens. The first minute is heavy duty until the violin comes in.They're wreaking havoc again and the drums are fantastic ! This contrast of violence and calm continues throughout the song. "Lament" has some nice vocals from Wetton and things are quite mellow as the mellotron rolls in.This changes 2 minutes in as it kicks into gear. Here we go ! Everything is so presice. "Exiles" builds with violin. Love when the angular guitar comes in after 3 minutes with mellotron. Vocals join in. Deep bass before 6 minutes then Fripp is soaring after 6 minutes as it all sounds so beautiful. "Asbury Park" is a monster. And it's an improv ! It has such a great heavy sound to it and Wetton's bass stands out. Fripp leads the way and the guy is truly a genius. His guitar sounds like dark electricity.The waves of mellotron are so majestic. Things change 5 minutes in and it becomes the Fripp and Bruford show. It starts to build late.

"Easy Money" reminds me of ANEKDOTEN during the intro.The mellotron is amazing 2 1/2 minutes in. Some angular guitar 3 minutes in. Nice deep bass after 4 1/2 minutes. Fripp 6 1/2 minutes in ! The intensity is building. "Fracture" opens with Fripp's angular sounds. It kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes as contrasts continue. Bruford 2 1/2 minutes in followed by violin 3 minutes in. Killer sound 7 1/2 minutes in. "Starless" opens with percussion and mellotron as the violin then bass join in. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. Huge bass before 7 minutes as the sound builds. Check out Fripp who unleashes fury after 8 minutes. Bruford is so good here.The tempo picks up before 9 1/2 minutes. Amazing ! The bass is massive as Fripp solos and Bruford does his thing while the mellotron comes in waves. Not worthy ! "21st Century Schizoid Man" is the encore. This is the most powerful version of this song i've heard. Fripp is on fire 3 minutes in. It's so powerful around 5 minutes.

This is pretty much the perfect live album for me.

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Posted Monday, April 16, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars When I saw the track list of this live album, I was a bit disappointed because only one song out of their very good album "Red" was featured. Since this record was released in 1975, I would have expected more of it ... There are also no tracks (except "Schizoid") from their first four albums (but those will be covered with the release of earlier live material, much much later).

This live release has a very sound quality (at least on the anniversary edition). It opens with the great "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part II" which was my preferred track from the album. "Lament" was a more difficult one for me, since I prefer their symphonic side, but I have to say that this live rendition is quite good and sounds better to my ears than the studio one.

"Exiles" is a brilliant and symphonic piece of music. Unlike the studio version which opened on a weird two minutes intro, on this live effort we are almost brought straight to the peaceful and melodic part. How brilliant it is ! How I love such numbers ! We are very close to the "Epitaph" atmosphere. Again, I prefer this live version than the original (mostly because of the intro I guess).

Next number is unknown to me (but I am not really a KC die-hard fan). It is more on the edge of their improvisation-jazz-rock numbers. Still, it does not irritates me as much as some of their studio equivalent. Probably because one can tolerate more these type of tracks on a live effort than on a studio album.

"Easy Money" is a typical KC song which leads me from trouble to joy : difficult in its initial phase and melodious in the second half. All in all, again a good number.

No need to say that with the addition of two tracks, the anniversary edition really adds value to the original album. You'll get an additional twenty-six minutes of music including one of their best ever song : "Starless". But "Fracture" comes first. In an extended format. Stronger than in the studio this version is great. The incredible and hypnotic beat works extremely well. A highlight with no doubt.

Another highlight of course, is the closing number of this special edition. How could we not love "Starless" ? Although it looks like we'll get an extended version for it, it stops at 12'30" (almost like the original studio album) and finishes with over two minutes of applauses). A great moment indeed.

Four stars for this very good live album.

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Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I have the original 1975 vinyl version of this album, and I have really mixed-up feelings towards it . The music on it is surely wonderful, but what disturbs me really is the fact the there are overdubs done to it by a non-member of a band! The best version on the record is the really dynamic "21st Century Schizoid Man", being the best version of this song I have heard. Still, I would recommend the original album onnöy for vinyl collectors, I'm sure that the DGM remaster with bonus tracks is much more interesting copy, and hopefully it doesn't have any criminal overdubbings on it (I don't know this). For a better live get "The Great Deceiver" box or "The Night Watch" doubleCD.

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Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
5 stars THE BEST OF KING CRIMSON-LIVE.

I am reviewing the 30th anniversary edition which came out with 3 extra tracks. This album came originally in 1975 well after the demise of King Crimson. this was a good album with good songs and a average sound. For the 30th anniversary,' USA 'has become a great album with great songs and an excellent sound. So actually, we cannot have the same perception of both versions.

After some frippertronics at the beginning , we open with a monster version of LTIA part 2, a vibrant, mightyl one.Everytime i am listening to this version, i am always taken aback bythe sheer power of this tune and i know why i love King Crimson so much, why this band is head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd.

All the classics are here; Wetton is singing better and better (listen to this version of EXILES). The schizoid man is present as well. LAMENT is even better than on SATBB. Raw pure energy, yet that subtle and refined. David Cross has a lot of room to get noticed, even if some of his parts have been replaced in the studio mix later by EDDIE JOBSON.

What makes this album the ultimate testament of this line up is of course the addition of the 2 extra tracks , but not any tracks: the 2 best recorded by this Crimson version: 'FRACTURE' and 'STARLESS'. What a way to close a CD, what a way to close this chapter of the band. These versions are astounding and you just wish this band would have kept going.

This is prog in all its splendor; 3.5 stars for the old version 5 stars for the new one.

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Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007

Review by fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It's amazing that, when this album first appeared, many rock critics demolished it, or so I gather from the reviews Robert Fripp included in the FRAME BY FRAME box set. The "Folkestone Herald" is typical, calling the album 'the last, loudest and possibly heaviest record from Crimson who seem to have degenerated from a prima rock band to producing sheet after sheet of noise and towering barriers of sound'.

'Sheet after sheet of noise and towering barriers of sound' may be true, at least about SOME of the pieces included, but 'degenerated'??? The music's glorious! It seems to me that, back in 1975, Robert Fripp was doing us all a huge favour by releasing this. You must remember that no other official live documents from this Crimso incarnation would become available until the 1990s, with the release of the GREAT DECEIVER box set. And believe you me, USA is as good as anything to be found in that. It contains some truly splendid moments, not the least of which are "Asbury Park" (which vies with "Trio" for the loveliest KC improvisation on record) and the last few minutes of "Easy Money", where Fripp comes up with a heart-rending, mellotron-accompanied solo.

The main problem with USA is its fragmentary nature. The album consists of a number of disjointed pieces which have been jumbled together. It lacks the grand climactic effect of predecessors such as GET YER YA-YAS OUT or GENESIS LIVE. It was also my first introduction to King Crimson. I bought it soon after it came out. I had read an extensive history of the band in OOR, the leading Dutch rock music mag, and I thought: 'Well THIS is an ensemble I need to know! Bill Bruford can't have run off with them for nothing!' People, did I ever get a shock... "Larks Tongues (Pt. 2)" scared the hell out of me. I must have been expecting something JOLLY in the vein of "Perpetual Change" or "Dance with the Moonlight Knight", and I'd never come across rock music so dark. It took me a lot of spins before I started liking this stuff. After a while I discovered that "Exiles" and "Lament" had beautiful, romantic melodies. And even when I was introduced to IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING, I kept enjoying USA's live version of "21st Century Schizoid Man". John Wetton's aggressive bass and BB's drumming make for a listening experience which is totally different from the studio original. During the fast instrumental bit in the middle Fripp even introduces the 'hysterical strumming' he would repeat to great effect in Bowie's "Up the Hill Backwards".

Nowadays you can even buy USA with two very generous bonus tracks! Well folks, what are you waiting for???

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Posted Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Review by jammun
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars USA was released following the demise of KC. As such, having been burned by Earthbound, I avoided this at the time, assuming it was probably a live album of the "fulfill contractual obligations" sort. However, with the release of the 30th Anniversary edition, I decided it was time to finally hear this.

While a step or two above Earthbound in terms of the quality of the recording, this is still not great in terms of sound and is disappointing in that respect.

The songs themselves are performed well enough, but I don't hear anything that extends what's already available on the studio cuts. Maybe I expect too much from live albums. I expect to hear (in this case, given the track listings) familiar songs in new settings, with the best of them providing moments that transcend the studio versions. I would especially expect this particular band to catch fire during some of the great songs, and I just don't hear on USA. Perhaps the letdown is simply due to the fact that the trio of studio albums from this incarnation of KC were, in my estimation, amongst the best recorded by any band, at any time. To put it another way, I recall Bruford saying something to the effect that he left Yes because he wanted to play some "wrong" notes and KC would give him an opportunity to do that. Unfortunately, there aren't too many "wrong" notes on USA. The band sticks to the script, and the results are merely average, though still a good listen for any KC fan.

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Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album is important in many senses. First, it is FIRST KC live album (still from 70-th) with good recording quality.It's rare live document of KC of that era.

Second, album is strong record by itself.Starting from "Larks' tongues in aspic part II", KC live shows golden peak for the years to come, through perfect classic "Lament", incl. "Easy Money", and finished with "21-st Century ..."- what else you need in such short concert?

Yes only one weak point - record is really very short as for prog-concert album!

It was best live KC album for the years, only "The Great Deceiver" pushed it from the absolute top.

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Posted Friday, September 04, 2009

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars Until the release of The Great Deceiver box in 1992, this was the only available live document from what is widely considered to be King Crimson's most exciting period. As a live band they easily surpassed their studio output and that's why I don't hesitate to call this essential. Even in its original vinyl form with just 6 tracks it was the crucial King Crimson album from the 72-74 period for me, together with Red obviously.

King Crimson never really toured the Red album, only Starless featured during a number of concerts and Providence was taken from a 1974 live improvisation. So, the setlist of USA concentrates on Lark's Tongues material. With 3 tracks that album is well presented and, more importantly, the performances here easily blow the originals to dust. Lark's Tongues pt ii is very powerful and dynamic, the heavy bass and neurotic violins are nothing short of breathtaking. Also Exiles marks a huge improvement over the original, Wetton's singing is superb, the result of 2 years of intensive touring has transformed his voice from insecure and grating to the emotive croon that is heard during this concert.

Every 73-74 King Crimson concert featured 1 or 2 improvisations, Asbury Park is the improvisation that was chosen for the album and it's easy to see why. It is a very tight jazz rock piece with Wetton's insanely distorted bass in the most prominent role, excellent drums from Bruford and some mellotron and guitars to fill it out. It's no wonder Fripp didn't feel entirely at easy with Wetton's dominating presence during the 1974 tour. You can hardly hear him, this is a bass guitar fest.

Easy Money gives further proof of Wetton's improved vocals. This song featured in about every King Crimson concert during those years but there are few versions that are as commanding as the one here. The original album ended with the astounding 21st Century Schizoid Man. The definite version for me, with Bruford, Wetton and Cross making the neurotic middle section into pure sonic insanity.

The 30th anniversary version is the one to get of course. It adds two of Crimson's best pieces to the setlist. Both Fracture and Starless don't differ that much from the album originals but they are great bonuses.

The Great Deceiver boxset contains other concerts with a similar setlist, which makes USA probably unnecessary for King Crimson fans, but for everyone else that boxset is probably too excessive, making this album the one to get. It's my most played King Crimson album together with Red.

Edit 04/20/2010 : I just got the Collectible Vol2 2CD edition, restoring this concert in its original form and adding another 1974 concert next to it! So I'll have to knock off a star here.

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Posted Sunday, December 20, 2009

Review by friso
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars King Crimson - USA (1975) (original vinyl, without bonus-tracks)

The brutal power of the Crimsons..

Sometimes I trade some vinyls with my brother, who's also a big King Crimson fan. USA is the first live album I've listened to of this favorite of mine. I must admit I prefer the first four albums over the metal-Crimson period, but this live album was a good opportunity for a second opinion.

On this live album KC has a very rough sound, most songs sound heavier then on the albums. Especially 21th Century Schizoid Man is almost Garage like heavy. The vocals of John Wetton seemed to have grown a lot over the years on stage. I can enjoy the vocals much more on the live versions of the songs, such as Lament, Exiles and Easy Money. Fripp's guitar playing is also way more extrovert on this album. I've never heard him playing such fast and fierce solo's as on Asbury Park. An amazing, professional yet rockin' jam dominated by Wetton's distorted bass and Fripp's great solo-guitar-style. The Man is one in a million. Bill Bruford's drums are good, though he has never been a favorite drummer of mine. The sound of the drums is also better then on most studio albums. The use of mellotron is good, though I can hear the troubles this instrument must have given on stage. It's slightly out of pitch at time, but warm as ever. The violins of Cross good, but not exceptional in subtlety.

The track-listing of this record is very good. Expecting songs like I talk to the Wind and In the Wake of Poseidon is useless, since the band has changed a lot over the years. The material presented is from Larks and Starless, with the exception of 21th Century Schizoid Man. The choice of material is good, simply because the songs fit together.

Conclusion. If you're a fan of the metal-Crimson period you might be very interested in buying this live album. It shows an exceptional band playing exceptional compositions and some improvisations along the way. There's only one problem here. New cd packages and editions with bonus tracks might make the original album, which I own on vinyl, an in-logical choice. The Collectible KC vol 2 is mentioned as a better alternative for people who buy cd's. For vinyl junkies like me this is still an excellent addition. Four stars.

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Posted Friday, July 23, 2010

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars It's a bit hard to fathom that, despite having a reputation as an outstanding live band, during it's original string of incarnations there was only the sparsely distributed, and not very good by the band's standards, "Earthbound" as a live representation. This album was released after the Wetton-era band broke up.

Although I have the original LP, this review is for the expanded 2002 CD edition.

Despite most, if not all, of these tracks being released in other collections and concerts, this being the first live release (in the short form) of the greatest King Crimson lineup, it holds a special place in my heart. This, and a cassette tape of a live radio broadcast, were once all I knew of just how good this band was.

And the music is amazing, even though the recording quality is not perfect, and there are a few off notes here and there (particularly in the two bonus tracks), the listener gets an indication of the improvisational prowess misters Bruford, Wetton and Fripp possessed. I'd like to add Cross to that list, but he is mixed way down on both the record and CD, and some of the violin was overdubbed by Eddie Jobson.

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Posted Monday, November 01, 2010

Review by Slartibartfast
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars USA is one of those albums I really wasn't particularly impressed with when I got a copy of the LP (vinyl). The Asbury Park jam just wasn't worth the price of admission, as it were. Then they went and put out a remaster with Fracture and Starless added at the end and now you have a well rounded live set.

I don't know if it's just the remaster speaking to me, but the whole set seems a lot fresher than it used to be. Many of these live songs can also be found on The Great Deceiver box set but this is an excellent snap shot of a band that was really peaking and yet about to die.

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Posted Thursday, November 25, 2010

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Oh, old times, good times! When I was 15 or 16 I didn´t have enough money to buy all the records I wanted, but I remember I could always rely on a friend that was a DJ from a local radio station to hear some new sounds. And I remeber that he received USA around the time it was released. I duly recorded this album on a cassette and played it all the time in 1975 and 76. But it´s been more than 30 years since I last heard of it and I was more than glad to buy the new, remastered edition of this live album, especially when I found out there were two extra tracks included. I also loved the booklet, made of newspapers clippings of the band at the time and some real nice photos.

The new CD version is a real gem since the muddy sound of the original vinyl record was evident even for a 16 year old in an old cassette player! The playing is superb, which is not surprising since it was King Crimson´s best remembered line up (bar their first album, of course): Robert Fripp on guitar, mellotron and devices, John Wetton on bass and vocals, Bill Bruford on drums and various percussions and David Cross on violin and keyboards. I agree with most reviewers that say those live versions are better than their studio counterparts. The band was at their peak around the time and deliver thier performance with such tightness and precision you have to hear to believe it. Even if not a totally ´live´ (Eddie Jobson did some overdubbing on a couple of tracks),.it is still amazing how they played such difficult stuff on stage with so much ease.

Side A of the old vinyl was always my favorite: terrific playing of such killer songs like Lark´s Tongues In Aspic Part II, Lament and Exiles. Side two has its merits too, with excellent renditions of Easy Money and 21st Century Schizoid Man (it was amazing to hear Fripp playing the original saxophone parts on his guitar in a note perfect fashion!). The two new tracks are a nice addition: Freacture was not one of my fave songs, but it is awesome to hear how they play this rather abstrct piece so good in a live enviroment. Starless is another classic that I always wanted to hear live and now I see why King Crinson was so great. Those guys really had a special chemistry among them.

As live albums go, there are several songs I´d like to have here instead of one or two (the new track, Asbury Park, is more a jam than a real song and therefore is one of them), but they could not satisfy everyone.

I heard there were more live albums of this line up released over the years, but I still think that this the ONE every fan must have. A document of an era. And what a band! The way they balanced the complex and the simple, the old and new, the high technique and the passionate expression is so unique, it is no surprise that they influenced so many bands that came after them.

Final rating: 4,5 stars. Highly recommended!

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#402168) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review by tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It's ... it's a live album released after Red (and reissued in 2002). It's hard to know what exactly to say other than that, because it's a good live album, but that's more of a function of the tracklisting than of any particular performance. The original boasted but six tracks, while the remastered version added bonus performances of "Fracture" and "Starless" to the mix. "Larks' 2," which opens the album, is done with higher volume and greater distortion than the original version, so that's something notable. But otherwise it's ... a good performance of "Lament" (which actually means something, as I never really liked it before), a good performance of "Exiles" (with some more noise than before, but not improving much on the already great original), an average moody improv in "Asbury Park," and a good "Easy Money" that unfortunately fades out during the middle jam. "Fracture" is also done decently, but I'd be very hardpressed to figure out how it's any better or worse than before.

In the end, then, there's only two tracks that I can find much to say about. First of all, the rendition of "Schizoid Man" on here is danged marvelous, far exceeding the tepid version on The Night Watch. Wetton gets a boost to his vocals through distortion, Bruford's drumming is fabulous, and Fripp's solo is miles above that on, again, The Night Watch. It's also interesting to here the violin mixed fairly high during the verses, something not previously found in renditions of the track.

"Starless" also holds some points of interest. This version shows it as a work still in progress, with some differences from the studio version, yet with the raw parts already in place. Most notable is that the opening guitar solos of the studio version are handled by Cross' violin here (which makes sense, since Fripp was handling the mellotron), and that there's no Ian McDonald around on saxophone, so the ending instrumental jam is more guitar heavy and 'grungey' than on the original. Some of the lyrics are also different - I'm so used to the ones on Red that I find myself missing them here, but it's still interesting nevertheless to see what Wetton had to work with at this point. Let's not dabble in semantics, though - the melody is still there, and the brilliant instrumental passages are there, so I'm not about to complain.

In the end, it's a solid live album, but with just these two exceptions, it's nothing we haven't heard before. It's actually my opinion that this album says Crimson's live abilities at the time are overrated - the performances are good, but too often I get the feeling the band is tired and kinda going through the motions, albeit really solid motions. Get it as a gap-filler, if at all.

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Send comments to tarkus1980 (BETA) | Report this review (#424047) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 28, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Purists might sniff at the overdubs provided by Eddie Jobson - who was never even in any of the King Crimson lineups of the 1970s - to some tracks on this live album, but it's still an exciting document of the Larks'-to-Red-era version of the band. More or less all the tracks come from Larks' Tongues In Aspic or Starless and Bible Black, with an early version of Starless at the end if you have the expanded remaster. Of the major live releases of this iteration of the band, it obviously isn't as expansive as The Great Deceiver; nor does the show here seem to be quite as energetic or interesting as the one captured on The Night Watch, which features more improvisations than this one and has a more frenzied rendition of 21st Century Schizoid Man (this time around the band just do a fairly close cover of the original rather than zooming off on their own unique tangent as in Night Watch).

Still, if you already have those two and like them, it comes heartily recommended - there's a teensy bit of overlap between this set and the shows collected on The Great Deceiver, but not so much as to render the album irrelevant. And when it came out in the mid-1970s it must have been a godsend for Crimson fans to finally have a decent-quality live album as opposed to the miserable Earthbound.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#521576) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, September 12, 2011

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars USA is an archive live document of the early King Crimson live set and as such has become quite legendary. Far superior to the quality of Earthbound, the only other live document of the Crims, it still lacks the quality of subsequnt releases. The first time I heard most of this was on the box set compilation 21st Century Guide: Volume One (1969-1974) and I liked what I heard so sought this out. The lineup is one of the best for the ever changing band; Bill Bruford on percussion, David Cross on violin, keyboards, Robert Fripp on guitar, mellotron, John Wetton on bass, vocals and Eddie Jobson plays violin on Larks' Tongues in Aspic.

There are a huge plethora of live albums thanks to the band releasing a back log of live CDs. However USA is certainly chock full of great classics beginning with Larks' Tongues in Aspic part II which has become as mandatory as a certain song that ends this album. Lament follows as a transition to the next classic, Exiles. Asbury Park is a rather pedestrian version, not too different than others I have heard. Easy money is always welcome and we end with a staggering manic version of quintessential Crimson with 21st century schizoid man. The version is as good as I have heard at 7:32 in length.

Overall this live album is a taster of the great live sound. There is precious little improvisation which is a key feature of the band in the live arena. The extra tracks for Cd are lengthy, Fracture and Starless, and certainly worth a listen. Overall I recommend this album but there are greater live albums such as The Great Deceiver and the incredible Epitath volumes 1 to 4.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#544620) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, October 07, 2011

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A great early Crimson live CD!

This "USA" live album has actually become a legend between King Crimson fans, because it offers the best face of the band with Wetton on vocals, along with Fripp, Cross and Bruford, a total delight. So it was released back in 1975 as a 6-song CD which was actually pretty short, however, its almost 40-minute length pleased all their fans thanks to the great performances and the chosen songs. But wait, 30 years later an anniversary re-issue CD saw the light with the inclusion of two long songs, and this is the album I am reviewing now.

Honestly I got this album from a friend last week, I never bought it and I am not sure if I had already listened to it, anyway, since the first spin on my CD player I was very satisfied and knew I had in my hands (and ears) something I would really dig, because King Crimson is one of my favorite bands, and because I love their era with John Wetton, not only for his vocals, but because the sound they created at that time was very challenging, complex, melancholic and dreamy, desolated and bright, ahead of its time. Anything a KC fan could ask is here, in this now 9-track album that makes a total time of 67 minutes.

It opens with a brief introduction that was entitled "Walk on? No Pussyfooting" which is the prelude to the mighty "Larks Tongues in Aspic (Part II)". In this track, we can feel the power that line-up implemented back then, it was pure progressive rock, intelligently written and masterfully executed live; the sound of violin was great, adding a special flavor. With this Crimson we can listen from peaceful passages, to somber and tense moments, from soft and delicate tunes, to nervous and stinging nuances that made our imagination and emotions vibrate.

The next bunch of songs has classic tracks that are featured in several live albums (mostly bootlegs) that are well appreciated by its fans, it is normal to see those tracks together, like a puzzle need its jigsaws, so it is always nice to listen to "Exiles", "Lament" or "Easy Money", all of them are great tracks, though this time I terribly missed the disarming "Book of Saturday". A thing I should mention is that in some moments of these live records, the voice of Wetton sounds too loud or even jammed, but that's due to the recording sound I think, not really due to some performance fails.

Pure bliss comes next, the final part of the album is easily the best, with three long songs that shows KC's intrepid and top-notch music. First the classic "21st Century Schizoid Man" whose time/tempo changes are simply sublime, then "Fracture" whose name might represent in a metaphoric way the music this band makes, endless fractures condemned but restored and ready to be built and offer endless new stories. Finally, "USA" finishes with the almighty "Starless", one of the best songs ever composed by any band in any musical genre. The performance here is also outstanding.

If you are familiar with this band, you may probably skip this review, but if you are new into them, do not hesitate and get this classic live album, you won't regret. My final grade, 4 stars.

Enjoy it!

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#1076018) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Latest members reviews

5 stars If I had to choose a King Crimson record this will be my pick. I had to live with that when young. In 1975, in Mexico these were the "famous" imports, they were not sold in the every corner store, and if so; you had to pay (still do) big money to get one. But lucky me!; found this one in one mexi ... (read more)

Report this review (#936534) | Posted by admireArt | Thursday, March 28, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "USA" is for sure the best live record by King Crimson, as far as it concerns the Wetton-era lineup second only to "The Great Deceiver" box set. The performance here is really powerful and improv. tracks, well only one ("Asbury Park") sound very very inspired; the tracklist is a collection of Cri ... (read more)

Report this review (#260252) | Posted by Malve87 | Sunday, January 10, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I have at best had an ambivalent relationship with King Crimson. Some of their stuff is superb. Some of it is not that good. This live album is superb, though. The opener Larks' Tongues In Aspic part II is really down my alley with a very captivating riff. It is followed by Lament which has so ... (read more)

Report this review (#187907) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Tuesday, November 04, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After years listening to different styles of music, I bought the "USA 30th Anniversary Edition" in 2006, when I was rebuilding my collection of prog music. I must admit that some of the tracks were "new" for me, but all of them were so familiar!!!! The songs are from the last period of the band, ... (read more)

Report this review (#128100) | Posted by Gabriel.V | Wednesday, July 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The majority of this CD was recorded at the Casino in Asbury Park, NJ on June 28, 1974. I bought this one for the improv "Asbury Park," as I have The Great Deceiver; Mainz, Germany; and the final show from Central Park also. Word on the street was that "Asbury Park" was worth having. The 30 ... (read more)

Report this review (#105621) | Posted by Fretlessbass | Thursday, January 04, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars It's bizarre that King Crimson hold a place as one of my favourite progressive rock bands, as the constant shifting of band members and musical styles between every album signify more than a little instability. Guitarist Robert Fripp became the only original member of the line-up a mere one ye ... (read more)

Report this review (#88928) | Posted by Frankingsteins | Monday, September 04, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars My father was never a huge fan of prog, but he saw King Crimson lvie in the 80's, and said it was one of the best concerts he had been to. Everything I'd read about King Crimson told me they were a band that couldn't be appreciated until you heard them live. This is my first experience with ... (read more)

Report this review (#55425) | Posted by Harry Hood | Tuesday, November 08, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I was never convinced by live albums of King Crimson. Let us not speak about the disastrous Earthbound. One of the forces of the albums of KC is their coherence and their homogeneity. Several musical periods overlap through this album. I adhere much less than albums studio. The sound is very g ... (read more)

Report this review (#45738) | Posted by miedj | Tuesday, September 06, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Superb! Maybe the best era of Crimson and so much better than the recent editions of Crimson's 70's live recordings. Fripp gives a lot of incredible performances specially on "Larks" and "21th Century". All the songs sounds really great with the classic prog sound of Crimson in the mid 70's bu ... (read more)

Report this review (#40661) | Posted by progadicto | Wednesday, July 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Have many excellent versions of the best Crimson-material from 1973 to 1974. The sound quality and performances are great and shows that Crimson also can play excellent live! The version of "21st Century Schizoid Man" was actually very good and impressive! Nice job guys!!! Keep Going!!! Highly ... (read more)

Report this review (#15272) | Posted by | Tuesday, January 18, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The first real definitive King Crimson live album. The prevoius Earthbound under a different lineup was recorded from the back of a volkswagen bus when the band was poor and starving. Although this reveiwer would hav to say that that this album was musically sound, it suffered from technical d ... (read more)

Report this review (#15270) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Thursday, November 25, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This live album is so great! I would say that every song on here is amazing and that I wished I could have been at that god damn concert! I own only the lp because I can't find it on cd besides the internet. But if I were you, I would seriously think about buying every live album that you can ... (read more)

Report this review (#15266) | Posted by | Friday, June 25, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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