King Crimson – Berkeley 1973 (Siréne – 053)

Berkeley 1973 (Siréne – 053)

Doctor Diamond, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part 1, Bob chats, Easy Money, Exiles, Talking Drum, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part 2, 21st Century Schizoid Man

This Berkeley tape has been released many times before as The Mince (Silver Rarities), Astral Navigation (SIAE), and Falling Angel (Ayanami).  Siréne utilize the original master cassette for Berkeley 1973 and I have to say that is sounds very good and a definite upgrade from previous releases.  The major concern about the tape was the high-end distortion surrounding Bruford’s cymbal.  Siréne have dealt with this issue and there is virtually no distortion to speak of.  Taped very close to the stage, it captures every subtle nuance, the highs, lows, and dynamics of the performance.  For once Cross’ violin isn’t drowned out by the loud rhythm section as is the problem with many audience tapes.

They were opening for The Eagles this night and had to keep their set to under and hour.  This is a very strange performance for Crimson.  After opening with their latest single “Doctor Diamond” they play it very safe and stick to numbers from the Lark’s Tongues LP with little improvisation.  David Cross begins one right after “Easy Money”, a delicate violin motif played over slight mechanical maniacal laughter (maybe an audience member had with him one of those laugh bags from the 70’s that were available at toy stores?)  Before anything can get going Fripp plays the somber mellotron intro to “Exiles”.

It is a similar situation after “Exiles”.  The band play some atonal Ligeti soundscapes before cutting right into “Talking Drum”.  The set ends with “21st Century Schizoid Man” which never really sounded convincing with this line-up (the song needs the angry sax from previous incarnations of the band).  These anomalies aside the set is excellent with great versions of “Dr. D” and especially “Exiles”.  Wetton brings deep passion and loneliness to this tune on this night.  Siréne have produced another excellent King Crimson release that is limited to only 300 copies and is worth having.  (GS) 

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