Live In Orlando FL (Club23)
Kemp Coliseum, Orlando, FL – February 27th, 1972
Disc 1 (41:02): Pictures Of A City, Formentera Lady, The Sailors Tale, Cirkus, Ladies Of The Road
Disc 2 (38:12): Groon, 21st Century Schizoid Man, Earthbound, Cadence And Cascade
King Crimson were about a month on the road already when they traveled to Florida for shows in Jacksonville on February 26th and in Orlando on February 27th. In the middle of their final Islands era tour the band were disintegrating before open ears. It’s not fair to point out a particular culprit. Crimson lore paints a rift between Boz, Mel and Ian against Fripp who would disband this line up after the tour.
Live In Orlando, FL, the twenty-third Club release, features a loud and distorted soundboard recording. The same show that gave the tune and the title to the ill received live album Earthbound, it is a horrible recording for official release but a nice recording for a bootleg.
Hearing the Florida tapes confirms that, at this point at least, Mel Collins truly asserted his vision of the band on his saxophone. He writes in the liner notes: “What you hear when you put on Live in Orlando, Florida is a band of four musicians who didn’t think about the arrangements or how difficult these songs are to play, we just played them! We had no fear! No ‘Oh-crikey! We are here, how do we get back again?’ Somehow it worked and I don’t ever remember having to count the bars. Of course all of this is helped by gigging a lot and knowing each other inside out.”
It is obvious the musicians didn’t worry about the arrangements. This is one of the most sloppy and painful Crimson concerts to listen to. Starting with “Pictures Of A City,” they lose key signature and miss time changes and sound very unsure and tentative. Fripp himself is barely heard in the opening hour while Collins asserts his dominance over the rest of the band in the long improvisations.
“Formentera Lady” and “The Sailors Tale” soudn much better, but the following two “Cirkus” and “Ladies Of The Road,” which Boz jokes is “very rude,” both suffer from sloppiness.
But the show improves with a fifteen minute performance of “Groon.” Ian Wallace has a nasty sounding electronic drum solo. “21st Century Schizoid Man” is similarly intense and frightening. Boz sings the verses through a vocal harmonizer giving himself an Exorcist effect. Collins is able to outshin Fripp in the song’s middle jam session.
Fripp does assert himself in the six minute “Earthbound.” One of the better improvisations of the tour and a worth inclusion for official release, Fripp channels his frustration into an angular steely yet strangely melodic guitar solo in the song’s middle.
The show strangely ends with “Cadence And Cascade,” one of their more gentle and melodic numbers.
By March the transformation of this line up from spooky and serious Crimson to the scat-jazz-jam group would reach plenary fulfillment as the surviving documents illustrate. Orlando is a definitely a messy transition with interest for hard core Crimson enthusiasts only.