King Crimson – Volkhaus (Siréne-152)

 Volkhaus (Siréne-152)

Volkhaus, Zürich, Switzerland – April 8th, 1973

Disc 1: Doctor Diamond, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part 1, Fripp speaks, Easy Money, improvisation #1, Book Of Saturday (fade out)

Disc 2: Book Of Saturday, improvisation #2, improvisation #3, The Talking Drum, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part 2, 21st Century Schizoid Man

King Crimson’s tour of Europe in the spring of 1973 was very short, lasting just over a week. It began on March 30th in Hanover and ended April 9th in Paris and is one of the better documented of their career. The tape for the Zürich show on April 8th surfaced on the internet earlier this year. There are two cdr releases, Zurich ,Volkhaus 1973,4.8 and Swiss Made on Blue Cafe. The sound quality is very good and clear with no distortion or balance issues.

It is slightly distant from the stage and there is a small venue feel making the range a bit narrow. There is a tape flip one minute and fifty three seconds in “Book Of Saturday” and a cut between the second and third improvisations in the second half of the show, whereas there is none between the final song and the encore “21st Century Schizoid Man”. The first minute and fifty-one seconds of “Book Of Saturday” is present at the end of disc one and is repeated at the beginning of disc two.

The repeat might be there because the song is connected to the improvisation, but it might have been better to eliminate the fragment from the first disc. Despite this Siréne have released one of the better tapes to surface of a fun and laid-back show. “Doctor Diamond” opens the show and they play the standard set list except that “Exiles” is inexplicably dropped. After “Larks’ Tongues” Fripp says, “Good evening…ladies and gentlemen…for those who understand English please whisper in German to your friends. Ich spricht sie Deutsch…parlez vous français tré bon aussi.

“The first piece for this evening was a new King Crims… What is the name of the band? The new King Crimson cataclysmic, mind blowing, paranoid whatever the Rolling Stones say, all that one was called ‘Dr. Diamond’. The second piece is the title track from our new album called, by the Melody Maker a failure…” The first improvisation lasts twelve minutes and is begun by David Cross on the violin.

Wetton joins him and they play a baroque fugue before drifting into the beginning of “Book Of Saturday”. The second improvisation is lead by Wetton’s bass developing into a nice groove before the third long improv of the night, a mellotron and Fripp atonal theme morphing into “The Talking Drum”. After “Larks’ Tongues Part 2” the band play a perfunctory version of “21st Century Schizoid Man”. Overall this is a long, fun performance where all of the musicians are given a chance to improvise and take the lead and isn’t dominated by the rhythm section.

Zürich is one of the best new King Crimson tapes to surface in a long while. Siréne has given this tape a very nice presentation and is an essential title. They use some rare live shots and publicity photos on the inserts, printed on glossy paper and limited to three hundred copies. Unfortunately, unlike their other recent releases they chose not to issue any bonus material, but the tape is strong enough to stand on its own.

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