In Denver On Borrowed Time June 16, 1974
Written by Steven Sthole
The Denver show
was a typical mismatch from local promoter Barry Fey. Golden Earring opened the
show, followed by King Crimson. The show’s headliners were none other than an
up and coming little ‘ol band from Texas…ZZ
Top. Only 12 shows later, Crimso would play its legendary 70s Swan Song in New
York’s Central Park, so the
Crimson Beast was on borrowed time.
The crowd was somewhat typical for Denver
at the time. Mostly local longhairs more accustomed to typical blues-based rock
fare. The smell of marijuana permeated the air, mixing with the aroma of the
cattle stockyards just down the street.
It was obvious to me, as Crimso took the stage following
Golden Earring’s set, that this was definitely not a Crimson crowd. This was
not the same crowd that cheered on the previous incarnation of the band (with
Mel, Boz and Ian) at Denver’s
Summit Studio’s almost two years previous. There was a latent current of
hostility emanating from this crowd. They wanted easy entertainment, they
didn’t want to hear anything new and challenging, and they wanted to kick back
and get stoned. In other words, not an optimum setting for King Crimson to play
What my friends and I would find out later, from a friend of
ours who worked for Feyline Concert Promotions, was that King Crimson was told
specifically by Barry Fey: “You have 45 minutes to play your set: no more”. I’m
speculating now, but I’m sure Robert Fripp might have been saying to himself at
the time, “We’ll see about that”.
A set quite similar to the one KC played in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania in 1974 (as documented on CD3
of The Great Deceiver Box Set) unfolded. ‘The Great Deceiver’, ‘Exiles’ and
‘The Night Watch’ were memorable to me and my friends, but the Denver
crowd was not “into it” at all. After an improvisation, the arena filled with
the sounds of synthesized wind, and the band segued into ‘The Talking Drum’. It
was clear to my small group of fellow Crimson aficionados that KC was going to
play the same sequence as it appears on the album ‘Lark’s Tongues In Aspic’,
meaning that ‘The Talking Drum’ would break immediately into ‘Lark’s Tongues In
Aspic, Part II’ – a very dramatic musical piece indeed. As ‘Drum’ began to
increase in tempo and volume, a definite sense of both urgency and tension
filled the Coliseum. At last, KC had the crowd interested! Then, as ‘Drum’ was
about to reach its aural climax, there was suddenly…..
Barry Fey had cut power to the PA System. ON PURPOSE.
I can recall vividly to this day what transpired next. Bill
Bruford rose from the stool behind his drum kit, uttered what might have been
an obscenity, and threw down his drum sticks. John Wetton seemed to continue to
want to carry on, and was plucking the strings to his bass, with a somewhat
amused look on his face. David Cross stopped playing his violin immediately, as
if the wind had been knocked out of him. And Mr. Fripp? Robert Fripp, without saying a word,
unplugged his black Gibson, and walked off the stage without looking at anyone.
The crowd reaction was a mixture of catcalls and booing.
It’s hard to tell if the animosity was directed at the bad timing of the event
that had just transpired, or the band’s performance. My friends and I were
quite vocal as to what we thought was a technical (and unintentional) glitch,
and we were promptly told to “shut up” by our unsympathetic neighbours in
the seats around us.
The KC show was over, and to this day, I cannot help but
think that this was one of many nails in the coffin for the 1970’s incarnation
of King Crimson.
Your search found 243 items (Viewing 1 to 10 of 243)
|Very short but very sweet Wed., May 29, 2013|
Posted by: jeffoaster
When you take out the Exiles fragment and the snippet of the second improv, this disc clocks in at under 40 minutes, which is a damn shame because it is so Read more
|Augsburg Tue., May 14, 2013|
Posted by: eviLMGD
I’ve seen this gig listed as being in Dieburg, rather than Augsburg, and at a what sounds like a smallish venue. RF is low in the mix on this recording, indicating a small Read more
|Love this German tour... Sat., Apr 13, 2013|
Posted by: jeffoaster
The concerts from the German leg of Crimso’s ’74 tour are all top notch, and all bring something special to the table. There are some interesting nuances to this show. There is nothing particularly special about the opening improv and Read more
|A Testament to George Chkiantz Thu., Mar 14, 2013|
Posted by: syncopatico
Whenever I hear recorded evidence of King Crimson in 1973/74 I’m reminded of the superb audio recording/engineering talent(s) of George Chkiantz! Each instrument can be heard clearly in the overall mix: the guitar occupying its proper space, a full Read more
|More please... Wed., Mar 13, 2013|
Posted by: jeffoaster
Judging by this performance and the Atlanta one the following week, Crimso were really on fire at this point - moreso than usual. While the sound quality isn’t pristine and has some occasional dropouts, it is certainly listenable Read more
| London, London, United Kingdom January 07, 1974|
Posted by: johnnypro
this heals my soul
|Lovely Sat., Mar 9, 2013|
Posted by: myshadow
Now we have around five minutes of music from Starless And Bible Black, and these ’studies’ are lovely. I too, am amazed these weren’t added to the 40th anniversary edition. I know, often artists feel that the final takes are Read more
|Immensely beautiful Wed., Mar 6, 2013|
Posted by: orrason
A real gem this one. Outstandingly beautiful, I wish more of these ...
|Breathtaking Tue., Mar 5, 2013|
Posted by: microbunny
This should have been part of the 40th Anniversary release. Astoundingly beautiful to hear it stripped down like this...
|Beauty Mon., Mar 4, 2013|
Posted by: fhc339835
It is so wonderful! Pure beauty.
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