Executive Action (Siréne-189)
Majestic Theater, Dallas, TX – June 9th, 1973 (early & late show)
Disc 1 (1st show): Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part I, Fripp speaks, Easy Money, improvisation, Exiles, The Talking Drum, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part II, 21st Century Schizoid Man
Disc 2 (2nd show): Dr. Diamond, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part , Fripp speaks, Easy Money, improvisation, Exiles, The Talking Drum, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part II, 21st Century Schizoid Man
Executive Action collects the two complete shows deep in the heart of Texas. These two were released together before on Day And Night (920304/920405) on Moonchild Records many years ago. Crimson played three dates in Texas on this tour but the other two, June 8th in Houston and June 10th in San Antonio, have never surfaced. The afternoon show on disc one is a very good audience recording that is slightly muffled and has some strange fluctuations in volume like during the first verse of “Easy Money” and at the beginning of the improvisation. There is a tape flip between “Exiles” and “The Talking Drum” with no music lost and it is enjoyable and better than many other of the tapes circulating from this tour. After opening with “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part I” Fripp greets the audience by saying, “great to be in Texas. The first piece of the evening was the title track called ‘Larks’ Tongues In Aspic’…May I recommend you rush out to your local record store take the owner by the neck and tell him to stock his store with this album.” He continues by called “Easy Money” as an “epic of culture”. The following improvisation is based upon a melodic bass line by Wetton over which Cross plays a violin melody with Fripp accompanying on the mellotron with Bruford being strangely subdued.
It lasts just over four minutes before the audience recognizes the mellotron introduction to “Exiles”. The band almost lose their way in the middle of “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part II”. Afterwards there are some inaudible audience comments before the band play “21st Century Schizoid Man” as the final number. It is the only non-album track played and the middle solo section is taken at double time and becomes very chaotic at certain points. The tape for the evening show is much louder than the first with hints of distortion in the upper frequencies and similar volume fluctuations throughout. It was produced by a different taper in a location closer to the stage. Some of his comments are audible but the dynamics are captured better and it is a more enjoyable show than the first. It cuts in right at the very beginning of “Dr. Diamond” which was Crimson’s first new song since the sessions that produced the Larks’ Tongues LP. The intro to “Larks’ Tongues” is more discordant than the afternoon show and the tape captures the depth of the performance. Fripp speaks to the audience by saying, “ ladies and gentlemen, may I thank you on behalf of the band for that very generous reception…buy the record. Help! Please! We need the money.” Somebody asks the taper if the drummer is the same one for Procol Harum.
After “Easy Money” they play their improv which is shorter than the afternoon show. It is again lead by Cross but with heavier drums from Bruford and Fripp silent. Just like on the first disc there is a tape flip between “Exiles” and “The Talking Drum”. “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part II” really chugs along to a dramatic climax followed by the obligatory “21st Century Schizoid Man” as a finale. The rest of the concert is the same set list as the earlier show but much tighter. The only real difference in the two concerts is the opening number. Siréne claim to have corrected the speed on these tapes over against the Moonchild release. Whatever mastering they have done to the tapes makes the sound quality very listenable although far from perfect. Since these have not been released Executive Action is packaged with appropriate period photographs and is limited to three hundred copies. This label has been pumping out a lot of King Crimson titles of late and this is among the very good ones that are definitely worth having. There aren’t any rarities contained in the sets but it is a very good document of the band right in the middle of the Larks’ Tongues period before then began to push the boundaries forward into Starless. (GS)If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)