King Crimson – Live In Detroit, MI (Club 18)

Live In Detroit, MI (Club 18)

East Town Theater, Detroit, MI – November 13th, 1971

Disc 1 (59:08):  Pictures Of A City, Formentara Lady, Sailor’s Tale, Cirkus, Ladies Of The Road, Groon

Disc 2 (32:39):  21st Century Schizoid Man, Mars, In The Court Of The Crimson King, Lady Of The Dancing Water

King Crimson began their second ever US tour on November 10th in Delaware and played two nights in Detroit.  Live In Detroit documents the second of the two shows utilizing a previously unknown soundboard.  Since  no audience tape exists, it remained unheard and unbooted until the KCCC issued this title.  It’s a very clear and enjoyable recording with the emphasis upon the music.  The audience and other atmosphere is buried deeply into the mix.

The opening songs are delivered at a furious pace with the furious “Pictures Of A City.”  A beautiful rendition of “Formentara Lady” segues directly into a strange version of “Sailor’s Tale.”  Robert Fripp describes “Groon” as a cross between a “groove” and a “groan” like much muzak that is heard in motels.

What makes this show stand out, besides its rarity and excellent sound, is the blues arrangement of “In The Court Of The Crimson King” which Fripp dedicates to David Enthoven, King Crimson’s manager.  It is wild, sloppy, irreverent and one of the most bizarre three and a half minutes in any King Crimson concert.

Already on this tour there was a major fissure between Fripp and the rest of the band.  Fripp felt the others, while very good musicians, weren’t Crimson enough for their love of American forms of music.  He would dissolve the band when they returned to England and was tricked into doing another tour in 1972 with the same line up.

“In The Court Of The Crimson King” is one of the signature tunes from the first album.  Menacing, dark, drenched in mellotrons and of the milestones of British progressive rock, one can only imagine the motivation behind it.  It has Fripp’s full cooperation and he proves himself to be a competent blues guitarist. 

Detroit is puzzled too afterwards.  “Are you satisfied?”  Boz asks.  To a chorus of “NOOOOOs”  he replies:  “Are you baffled?”  The tape ends with a two and a half fragment of “Lady Of The Dancing Water” from Lizard.  It’s a pretty song which unfortunately is incomplete. 

Live In Detroitis one of the best releases in the Collector’s Club catalogue and sets a high standard for the others.  These kinds of archive releases work best when the band issue rare shows in soundboard quality with interesting curiosities.  This title is worth having for Crimson collectors even if they’re not particularly fond of the Islands lineup.     

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