At Rainbow Theatre (Tarantura TCDKC-3-1, 2)
Rainbow Theatre, London, England – October 26th, 1973
Disc 1 (45:20): No Pussyfooting / improvisation / Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part 1, tuning, MC by Bob, Easy Money, The Night Watch, Fracture, Book Of Saturday, Lament
Disc 2 (44:32): MC by Bob, Rhythm Machine / Improvisation, Exiles, improvisations, The Talking Drum, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part 2, Peace: A Theme, Cat Food
Larks’ Tongues In Aspic is one of the definitive statements of progressive rock in the mid-seventies. Much of that material was written in the middle of 1972 with the main riff of the title track going back to the old Islands lineup in 1971.
After the album’s release in March, the band spent much time touring both Europe and the US, and by the fall was working on their follow up Starless And Bible Black, much of it collected form the on-stage improvisations. The October 26th show in the Rainbow Theatre is startling. Not only does it have the core of the LP and the new songs, but Robert Fripp includes his own solo compositions that we was working on with Brian Eno.
The ninety minute concert provides a nice cross section of King Crimson and related work at the time. It has seen many different releases, Rainbow 1973 (Sirene-229) as the most recent. The Sirene is “slightly distant but clear” with “noticeable distortion in the lower frequencies surrounding John Wetton’s thunder-like bass.”
At Rainbow Theatre is a remarkable upgrade. The distirtion is gone and it very clear and enjoyable. The tape opens with three and a half minutes of the Fripp-Eno composition ”No Pussyfooting” before the band plays a very delicate version of “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part One”.
This is followed by a minute of mellotron tuning before Fripp stands and gives his opening address by saying, “Ladies and gentlemen those of you who are familiar with King Crimson’s occasional performances in London will know this is the moment when the band sends me forward to captivate the audience with my winning personality…and insincere comments generally like ‘It is great to back at the Lyceum.’ However, since some of you, judging by your gentle ripples of enthusiasm, are vaguely interested in the band’s well being, I will if I may read one or two press cuttings from America.”
After reading a scathing review of the band to much laughter he asks for a ripple of enthusiasm for Bruford and “Easy Money.”
“The Night Watch” sounds very dramatic on this tape and is one of the better versions to be recorded and is followed by the eight minute instrumental “Fracture” which would, like “The Night Watch” be released on the following album Starless And Bible Black.
After “Lament” Fripp speaks again to the audience, discussing his collaboration with Brian Eno, his exuding sexuality and their new dance tune which he hopes will sweep the country called ”The Mince” which he decided not to demonstrate.
Instead they play an improvisational piece, which on earlier releases by RSG and Highland is called “Tight Scrummy”, but is called “Rhythm Machine.” It is a heavy, eight-minute piece based upon an electronic drums and an expressionistic bass line by Wetton which builds into an energetic storm before dissolving into the mellow “Exiles”.
This is followed by the second improvisation of the evening. This one is slower and more contemplative which is lead by Bruford’s drums and David Cross’ spooky violin melody.
Fripp lightens the mood somewhat with his guitar picking before Bruford begins “The Talking Drum” and the set closer “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part Two”.
The encore is a look back to Crimson’s second album In The Wake Of Poseidon with “Peace-A Theme” and “Cat Food” which the audience enjoys enthusiastically with no hint of “21st Century Schizoid Man”.
At Rainbow Theatre is the third Crimso release by Tarantura and the first in five years. It is packaged in a gatefold cardboard sleeve with photos from the era and a notice that the label will release more King Crimson titles in the future. This is a very strong release worth having.