Live In Heidelberg (Club29)
Konzerthaus Elzerhof, Heidelberg, West Germany – March 29th, 1974
(58:07): Improv: Heidelberg I, Doctor Diamond, Exiles, Improv: Heidelberg II, Starless, The Night Watch, Lament, Easy Money, Fracture
King Crimson were on tour in Europe when Starless And Bible Black, one of the definitive statements of the mid-seventies line up, was released. It came out on March 29th, the day they played in Heidelberg, Germany.
Live In Heidelberg was released by the King Crimson Collector’s Club in 2004 containing a pristine, previously uncirculated soundboard recording.
The Centre Of The Cosmos (Aspic007) was released in 1996 from Japan with an audience recording of the entire concert on two discs.
Club 29, while sounding obviously much better, is unfortunately incomplete. It runs from the start of the show and cuts out three minutes into “Fracture” cutting out the rest of that number and the final song of the night “21st Century Schizoid Man.”
The liner notes mention the coincidence in the date between the release of the album and their tour of Europe at the time. Sid Smith writes: “The concert in Heidelberg was part of a journey that was slowly but surely taking them further away from concert halls and venues of their native country, effectively transforming them into a collection of self-imposed castaways.”
These shows in Germany, and the visit to America in the summer, would be the final for the Aspic line up of the band.
Heidelberg reaches a comfortable level of competency but doesn’t go beyond that. The two improvisations, here titled “Heidelberg I” and “Heidelberg II” for obvious reasons, are good but short and not very inspired. The first is a common Crimson atonal exploration, and the second one hits a nice funky groove.
Much of the materal played in Heidelberg comes from the new album. Only two songs, “Exiles” and “Easy Money,” come from the popular Larks’ Tongues In Aspic released the previous year. Everythign else is from the new album (plus “Starless” from Red and the missing “21st Century Schizoid Man” from the first album).
“Doctor Diamond” starts off the show. David Cross dominates the introduction to “Exiles” unlike any time before. Robert Fripp, in his introductory remarks, mentions Elmer Gantry.
The rest of the show with “The Night Watch,” “Lament” and “Easy Money” are very good, but the tape unfortunately cuts out in “Starless” as the song begins to hit an interesting improvisation.
Live In Heidelberg is a good release, but hardly essential. DGM could have made it a bit more definitive with an edit of the audience source to complete the show, something which they’ve done on other releases.