Now here’s a couple of intriguing mysteries. First up is where exactly did this gig take place? The DGM Archive has it happening at the Arie Crown Theatre, Chicago, Illinois. Yet the same date is listed in the Frame By Frame and the 21st Century Guide To King Crimson scrapbook as having the band play at the Grande Ballroom, Chicago.
Just make matters even more confused, bootleg listings have the band playing at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, Michigan on the 19th February! If you know or perhaps were there and have your ticket stub we’d love to hear from you.
The second mystery is why might this set be so short? Cirkus wasn’t usually located next to Groon in most of the running order for that tour, yet with no apparent cut in the tape, here they are side by side.
Although the recording quality is ace, this is in truth a subdued outing for Crimso. Cirkus never quite lifts off, even though Wallace’s deftly shifting kit work beneath Mel’s solo is an eloquent testimony to his skill and subtlety. Just before the syncopated rock n’ roll outro there’s some marvelous honking between the ‘trons - something fans of this mighty beast always look forward to.
Groon begins well with some spirited blowing from Collins but the attention is grabbed a series of nimble pointillistic runs from Fripp over the top of some rock solid if unadventurous time-keeping. Lasting over four minutes long this crystal-clear solo seems to be something of a dry-run for Easy Money.
Ian’s drum solo lacks the frenetic energies we’ve heard channel on other occasions, and the coda which usually climaxes with a righteous freak-out from all concerned, also fails to ignite in the usual manner. Nevertheless, this intriguing fragment of a set is a welcome addition to the online archive.
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Boz Burrell - Bass Guitar, Lead Vocal
Mel Collins - Sax, Flute, Mellotron
Robert Fripp - Guitar, Mellotron
Ian Wallace - Drums, Backing Vocal
Audio Source: Cassette Soundboard
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