King Crimson – Fascist (Siréne-165)

Fascist (Siréne-165)

Palazzo Dello Sport, Rome, Italy – November 13th, 1973

Disc 1: No Pussyfooting, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part 1, Peace-A Theme, Cat Food, tuning, The Night Watch, Fracture, Book Of Saturday, Lament

Disc 2: Easy Money, improvisation, Exiles, The Mincer, The Talking Drum, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part 2, 21st Century Schizoid Man, Cat Food

Third Reich (Siréne-165 bonus), ASTV Hall, Saarbruegen, Germany – November 8th, 1973: No Pussyfooting, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part 1, Peace-A Theme, Cat Food, The Night Watch, Fracture, Book Of Saturday, Lament, Easy Money, improvisation, Exiles, The Talking Drum, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part 2

The Siréne label have been releasing excellent King Crimson shows on silver disc of late and Fascist is one of the most interesting. The November 13th show at the Sports Arena in Rome was their second concert in that city that year (Jumble Of Lies, released several months ago by Siréne, documents the first) and is an important show in their history. The tape first surfaced in 1990 and was released on Mirrors (WBR CD 9015) and Solve Et Coagula on Teddy Bear Records (TB 72) in 1995. Neither of these releases contains the full show with “No Pussyfooting”, “Easy Money”, “improvisation”, “Exiles” and the second encore “Cat Food” missing. Siréne utilize the same tape source that was posted online and now contains the full show. There are still several cuts in the tape after “Lament” and before “Exiles” and during the final verse of “21st Century Schizoid Man”. The tape is very good and clear with slight distortion and muddiness in the lower frequencies.

Robert Fripp cited the experience at this show to be one of the reasons for ending King Crimson. The mood was sour with the unscrupulous behavior of the promoters who under-reported the gate receipts. The band threatened to not play until the promoters admitted it was a sell-out and received their proper share. Beginning late, the mood is negative at the beginning with the audience booing and hissing loudly during “Peace-A Theme” and the soft beginning of “The Night Watch”. The performance itself is good but stiff and has only one long improvisation. Occurring after “Easy Money”, it has a strange, catchy little ditty played on the guitar accompanied by David Cross on a cocktail lounge electric piano. It eventually dissolves into the expected atonal explorations. “The Mincer” was a new number and this is the show before the definitive version of the piece that was recorded on November 15th in Zurich and released on Starless And Bible Black.

At some point the Roman police beat up a “hippy looking guy” who wandered into a restricted area causing some vexation with the crowd. It isn’t clear when this happens. After the cut in the tape during “21st Century Schizoid Man” the audience are shouting very loud. Security were worried a riot would break out if they didn’t play a second encore, something which they rarely if ever did. They come out and play “Cat Food” for the second time in the show probably since it is one of their few singles and can be played as such. It would have been interesting if they made a real oddball choice like “Cadence & Cascade” or “Cirkus”. With the KCCC placing emphasis upon downloads now instead of proper releases of these tapes (KCCC was losing money for DGM), Siréne are filling a big void for Crimson collectors. It comes with the glossy paper inserts with some interesting photos and is limited to three hundred copies worldwide. Fascist is a great release and definitely worth having.

Third Reich is a single cdr bonus that comes with Fascist. This is the complete extant tape for the Saarbruegen show on November 8th, 1973 and is the source for the old vinyl title Germany ’73 (K.C. 421 057 006 released in 1975. The vinyl was copied on cd as The Poison Door (KC-006) and is incomplete, missing the first two numbers “No Pussyfooting” and “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part 1”. The sound quality is very good although it is some distance from the stage with distortion in louder parts with noticeable hiss present. The concert is noneventful compared to Rome and is notable for the equipment breakdown at the beginning of “Book Of Saturday”. The improvisation after “Easy Money” starts off with the closest Crimson ever got to funk with Bruford adorning the riff with maracas and chimes. It builds in intensity until it segues into the mellotron introduction to “Exiles”. Third Reich has the complete show and comes from the actual tape source and is a good bonus. (GS)

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