Three Of A Perfect Tape (no label)
After the initial rush of recording Discipline and Beat and touring much of the world in 1982, King Crimson slowed down greatly. With a long recording session wrought with tensions and other commitments, the third and final release of the 80’s King Crimson Three Of A Perfect Pair wouldn’t surface until March 1984.
King Crimson’s first live dates in seventeen months were in Japan starting on April 28th in Tokyo and ending on May 11th in Kokaido. Compared to their first visit in 1981, which focused upon Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, the band played more cities including Sapparo, Hiroshima and Fukuoka.
Except for “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part II,” the set focused solely upon the three latest albums including a generous number from the latest album. They also filmed the dates for a promotional film which was broadcast on MTV and released as Three of a Perfect Pair: Live in Japan 1984 on VHS and on laser disc in 1984 and on Neal And Jack And Me on DVD in 2004.
Three Of A Perfect Tape features new tape sources for three of the first five nights in Japan (the taper skipped over April 30th in Tokyo and May 1st in Sapporo. They are all slightly distant from the stage but still excellent stereo recordings and are valuable because this is such a poorly documented period. Very few boots have been released from this tour and none even appear as downloads on the DGM site.
Kan-I Hoken Hall, Tokyo, Japan – April 28th, 1984
Disc 1 (38:18): No Warning, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part III, Thela Hun Ginjeet, Frame By Frame, Industry, Dig Me, Three Of A Perfect Pair
Disc 2 (63:06): Indiscipline, Matte Kudasai, Satori In Tangier, Man With An Open Heart, Waiting Man, Sleepless, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part II, Elephant Talk, Heartbeat, Discipline
The recording for the opening night on April 28th is complete except for the beginning of “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part II.” The official video is attributed to this date, but hearing this recording proves that to not be true. This is definitely a different performance and even the set list (“Matte Kudasi” is played much later) is slightly different.
It also wouldn’t make much sense to official release the first concert in seventeen months to a general audience. The performance is tight and professional, but the rust is evident in the rather conservative arrangements. The song selection relies heavily on their most recent work, repeating all but “Sheltering Sky” and “Neal and Jack and Me” from the 1982 tour.
But they include much of the new album beginning with the title composition “Three of a Perfect Pair,” “No Warning,” “Industry,” “Dig Me” and “Man With an Open Heart.” The latter are notable because King Crimson have rarely displayed such a dichotomy of emotions and moods as are found on the album and in these particular songs (the fact that the album is dived into the “Left” and “Right” side is meant to convey such duality).
Adrian Belew promotes the new album by the end of the show calling it “as yellow as Tony’s bass.” The Larks’ Tongues In Aspic track “Larks’ Tongues In Apsic Part II” end the set and the encore set consists of a quick version of “Elephant Talk” and “Discipline” from Discipline enveloping “Heartbeat” from Beat.
Kan-I Hoken Hall, Tokyo, Japan – April 29th, 1984 (afternoon show)
Disc 3 (42:02): No Warning, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part III, Thela Hun Ginjeet, Matte Kudasai, Frame By Frame, Industry, Dig Me, Three Of A Perfect Pair
Disc 4 (55:36): Indiscipline, Satori In Tangier, Man With An Open Heart, Waiting Man, Sleepless, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part II, Discipline, Elephant Talk, Heartbeat
The second show in this set comes from the following night. It’s listed on the artwork as an “afternoon” show, implying they played two shows that day. The label’s reasoning is to account for the performance on Three of a Perfect Pair: Live in Japan 1984 which doesn’t correspond to the April 28th set or to show contained on this tape. Also involved in the speculation is that April 29th is the birthday celebration of Emperor Hirohito.
Whatever the case, this performance retains the tightness but has much more creative energy from the band. The long “No Warning” intro leads into a fantastically atonal “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part III.”
“Thela Hun Ginjeet,” the unofficial anthem of this line up, follows as a pure adrenaline rush. Instead of following the mid-tempo “Frame By Frame,” the move “Matte Kudesai” up from the latter half of the show. The slower ballad with the galloping beat is a nice contrast.
The audience sound bewildered by the some of the newer songs. “Industry” and the schizophrenic “Dig Me” keep the audience in suspense. But they cheer for the title track “Three Of A Perfect Pair,” a more accessible tune.
Robert Fripp plays an unbelievably balanced solo during “Satori In Tangier” and a strangely lyrical melody in “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part II” (thankfully complete in this recording). The encore set remains the same. The older songs sounding much more primitive compared to the newer songs.
Nakano San Plaza, Tokyo, Japan – May 3rd, 1984
Disc 5 (41:54): No Warning, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part III, Thela Hun Ginjeet, Matte Kudasai, Frame By Frame, Industry, Dig Me, Three Of A Perfect Pair
Disc 6 (58:32): Indiscipline, Satori In Tangier, Man With An Open Heart, Waiting Man, Sleepless, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part II, Discipline, Elephant Talk, Heartbeat
After a third night at the Kan-I Hoken Hall in Tokyo on April 30th and the Kosei Nenkin Hall in Sapporo on May 1st, King Crimson returned to Tokyo for a show at the Nakano Sun Plaza. Unlike the other shows, this has been released before. It first surfaced on vinyl on Rhapsody (Haro (All Day) KC 1181) and on CDR on Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part III (Ayanami-099).
The new tape is similar to the other tapes in this collection. It’s slightly more distant than the others but no less clear, well defined and powerful. Honestly, the tape quality lends a rough quality to the music making this the most visceral of the three shows.
Slightly more tape is present in the very beginning compared to the others. Classical music is audible as the audience quiet down for “No Warning.” The lead into “Larks Tongues In Aspic Part III” is very slick and professional. But the early highlight comes with a gorgeous “Matte Kudesai.”
The block of new songs in the middle of the set improve with each night as does the crowd’s appreciation for them. “Industry” is devastating in this recording. “Dig Me” sound more controlled this night than in the previous.
Bill Bruford has his drum clinic in “Indiscipline.” Belew gives a capricious performance to convince the audience that he truly does repeats himself under stress.
The closing numbers of the set reveal a lubricious melodicism from Fripp and the band which stands in contrast to the electronic atonalism of the rest of the set. It reveals another dimension for the “LEFT” and “RIGHT” duality present on the new album. The encores are the same as the other shows on the tour.
Three Of A Perfect Tape is packaged in a fatboy jewel case which houses the three discs. Also included in a mini-replication of the tour’s program. The graphics make good use of the art design for Three Of A Perfect Pair featuring the eastern + western Christianity symbols joined together. There are so few good silver titles from King Crimson’s final tour with the Discipline line up. Having a package like this, with three great sounding tapes of very good shows is definitely worth having for the Crimso collector.