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King Crimson - Cirkus - The Young Persons' Guide To King Crimson Live CD (album) cover

CIRKUS - THE YOUNG PERSONS' GUIDE TO KING CRIMSON LIVE

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

3.84 | 92 ratings

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puma
4 stars This is a truly dynamite compilation. I got it as my introduction to live King Crimson (as the title suggests). Before this I had only been familiar with the studio albums. Needless to say I am now completely hooked on live King Crimson because of this recording.

I held off reviewing it until I knew more live Crimson. After the Epitaph and Great Deceiver box sets and countless Collectors' Club releases being added to my library, I can openly say that Cirkus is an A+ compilation.

Disc 1 is the 1981-1996-present incarnation of the band. I'm not going to go into every individual song, but I will say that "Dinosaur", a double trio favorite of mine, really shines in its sped-up version on this album; the "Sleepless" on this CD is without a doubt the best version of it I have heard by any KC release. The "Neurotica" is shorter but packs a lot of punch. Overall it is a perfect spread of the 80s and 90s band's live output, with the sound quality impeccable.

Disc 2 is where the problems start for many. Complaints about bad sound quality mostly. However there are barely any recordings of the earliest band, and if this is the best we can get, take it and be happy. The opener, "Schizoid Man", is incredibly intense, especially the second half. Mel Collins's sax solo isn't as good as his solo on Earthbound, but this sound quality is much better, and his ornamentations during this song are classic. The other songs are well produced, at least better than a lot of their 1969-1972 material.

"Easy Money" is probably my favorite song from this compilation. The performance is incredible, with a great solo and really intense buildup to the end of the song. Also, they get 200 prog points for the Mellotron flute on "Fracture".

I would have given this 5 stars, were it not for one glaring problem. The version of "Larks' Tongues in Aspic pt. II" is by the double trio. Don't get me wrong, the performance is mindblowing, but it's just the wrong lineup for this CD. If Fripp wanted to put "Talking Drum" segueing into "Larks' Tongues" with both songs by the 1996 lineup it would have been great on the first disc, but this has a Talking Drum from 1973 then shooting ahead 23 years in the span of a second. For continuity's sake they should have included a performance by the original Larks' Tongues lineup.

Even if you have all their live material, it's great to have this CD set. Great for in the car, around the house, wherever. Spans all the incarnations of King Crimson (except no songs from "Lizard").

puma | 4/5 |

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