Mother Of Deceit (Virtuoso 003)
Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA – April 12th, 1974
No Pussyfooting, The Great Deceiver, Lament, Exiles, Easy Money, Starless, The Talking Drum, Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part II, 21st Century Schizoid Man
Bonus CDR, Sindelfingen 1973
Austelungushalle, Sindelfingen, Germany – April 2nd, 1973
Improvisation I, Improvisation II, Exiles, Book of Saturday, Improvisation III, The Talking Drum, Lark’s Tongues in Aspic Part II, 21st Century Schizoid Man
Mother Of Deceit is the second release on the new Virtuoso label and contains the complete audience recording for King Crimson’s April 12, 1974 concert at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. This show is the second on what would be their final tour for this line in of King Crimson and would end in July in New York. Virtuoso use the same tape source that was used for an older release called Crimson Murder Case (CMC47274), but has “No Pussyfooting” which was missing before. The tape is a very good mono audience recording located a fair distance from the stage. There is a tape flip between “Starless” and “The Talking Drum” but otherwise the tape is musically complete. Musically, it is clear enough and the audience, except for several firecrackers later on in the show, is quiet and attentive and do not distract from the performance in any way. In fact this is one of the most polite Philly audiences on tape.
Starless And Bible Black was released about two weeks before this gig and after the introduction the first two songs from the album, “The Great Deceiver” and “Lament” are played in sequence. It is curious that on an album comprised of many live performances cleaned up in the studio, the only two songs created entirely in the studio are the opening two and they are played perfectly in the live arena. A characteristic of this tour is the abandonment of the long, spontaneous improvisations they band would play between the songs in favor of tighter arrangements. After “Lament” there is a two-minute ambient interlude before the familiar morose strains of the mellotron theme of “Exiles” can be heard.
Without a break the song segues into another Larks’ Tongues In Aspic track “Easy Money,” one of their more accessible numbers. The centerpiece of their live show is “Starless.” This number, which wouldn’t be released until November of that year on Red, is one of the most perfect creations in the Crimson canon. David Cross’ violin more than compensates for the missing saxophone in its studio counterpart and is thankfully not drowned out by the loud rhythm section on this recording. It is a shame there is a cut after the song missing the transition to “The Talking Drum.” The long, gradual segue between the two numbers is one of the more exciting parts of the show. Bruford’s galloping drums are the highlight of the penultimate number which runs into the final song of the set, a seven minute long version of “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part II.” This song is a curious finale to the set since it ends not so much with a bang but with a whimper and makes the band sound as if they are running out of steam. After a brief interlude and some conversations by audience members the band come back to play the only encore “21 Century Schizoid Man.”
Mother Of Deceit comes with a special limited edition bonus cdr called Sindelfingen 1973 with a show more than a year earlier. This tape was released before on Incredible Scenes (Peace Frog 098S) several years ago. The tape begins in medias res during the first long improvisation. Judging by the set lists of other shows on this tour “Doctor Diamond,” “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part 1,” and “Easy Money” are missing from this tape. The sound quality begins very rough but clears up fast and is a bit better than the Philly tape. It has a small venue timbre and has some instances of static scattered throughout the show. The first improvisation is a nine minute long, funk driven improvisation with Fripp screeching out his atonal harmonics in a dual first with Cross on violin and then Wetton on bass. This segues directly with the second improvisation which is tracked together on the earlier release.
The second improvisation is a two and a half minute, fasted paced Bruford lead piece that recalls “The Talking Drum.” After “Book Of Saturdays,” a number which they dropped too soon, the third and final exploration occurs. A languid, twelve minute piece begun by Cross on violin seems to test the patience of the audience and chattering in German is clearly audible over the music. The piece picks up to mid-tempo before “The Talking Drum” takes over, leading to the “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part II” finale. This release by Virtuoso is a case where the free bonus disc is more interesting than the catalogue issue and if the Sindelfingen tape were complete it would be a phenomenal release. Mother Of Deceit is limited to three hundred un-numbered copies. The inserts are printed on thin, dull paper and is a good release. (GS)If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)