King Crimson – Live at the Pier, New York August 2, 1982 (Club 37)


Live at the Pier, NYC – August 2, 1982 (Club 37)

The Pier, New York, NY – August 2nd, 1982

Waiting Man, The Howler, Frame By Frame, The Sheltering Sky, Neal And Jack And Me, Neurotica, Elephant Talk, Indiscipline, Sartori In Tangier, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic:  Part II

The Discipline King Crimson line up, so called since that was what the band were going to call themselves before the record company stepped in, were the one which was unique from all of the others.  While the seventies were firmly rooted (whether Fripp wants to admit it or not) in progressive rock, this incarnation had nothing to do with that ethos but were more closely aligned with contemporary new wave and avant garde.  And instrumentation using flute, saxophone, violin or mellotron were a defining characteristic of the early sound, none can be found in the new material.  Instead a more basic rock line up is employed with drums, bass and two guitars.  But the true Crimson muse can be found within this talent.   

The latest release in King Crimson’s continuing  series of archive releases is an excellent sounding soundboard recording from the Discipline lineup’s New York show at The Pier.  This is the second of two nights in this venue on their third visit to the US in less than a year and the tape captures the complete show.  An attendee of this show named Larry Snead is quoted as saying, “At the end of the summer day, the boisterous young NYC area rockers lined up to file onto Pier 84, jutting out hundreds of feet into the Hudson River. As we faced the stage, and Hell’s Kitchen and midtown Manhattan, the sun was setting behind our backs over the New Jersey Palisades.” 

The set list is comprised of songs from Disciplineand the just released second disc Beat with only one, “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part II” dating from the seventies.  This recording is remarkable for presenting such a stunning contrast between the instruments.  Listening to this one can follow every instrument through its complex tapestry of sound and at times it becomes hypnotic.  Adrian Belew solos with reckless abandon on “Waiting Man.”  But one of the highlights is “The Sheltering Sky” which as a prolonged solo by Fripp over Bruford’s percussion.  The piece is named after and inspired by the beat writer Paul Bowles’ novel of the same name, but the music has a more Rudyard Kipling view of the jungle.  “Thank you very much” Belew says afterwards.  “Side one.  Cut one.  ‘Neal And Jack And Me.'”  And they follow with a definitive version of the travelogue.

“Indiscipline” begins with a brief Bruford drum solo and during the song’s course Belew sings a snatch of “New York New York” to celebrate their playing in mid-town Manhattan.  Levin’s piece “Sartori In Tangier” segues into “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part II” which is expanded with improvisation by the band.  Live at the Pier, NYC – August 2, 1982 is a great release that reveals that, even though Crimson were playing with more of a groove and is even danceable, still presented a challenging mix of complex compositions.  There is a thick booklet with this release with a long essay by the King Crimson expert Sid Smith discussing the show’s place within the history of the band’s career.  There are many photos from the gig and taken backstage which really brings the listener into the event.   

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