De Montfort Hall
The audience would have been familiar with the tracks from Poseidon and Lizard, and of course a blistering Schizoid Man, featuring intense white-hot soloing from from Fripp and Collins. While ‘heavy,’ as the heads used to say back then, it also stretches the fabric of rock to its very limits pulling both band and punters alike into a turbulent, alternative free-jazz vortex. It’s not until the piece hooks back into the spiky unison lines that you realise how far out into uncharted waters this Crimson were sometimes prepared to travel.
A slightly different feeling of discovery is present earlier in the show when, after a particularly caustic rendition of Pictures Of A City, Boz announces “A song now which we’ve just finished recording.” Formentera Lady heralds a section of the show where the following thirty minutes are occupied by playing five of the six tracks that would appear on Islands, still just under two months away from its December release date.
During the song inspired by Peter Sinfield’s recent holiday in the Balearics, Fripp adds some licks that wouldn’t be out of place in a West Coast jam band, as Boz adds his serene, blissed out croon.
Although Sailor’s Tale had been in the band’s repertoire since March and April that year, it’s now properly codified and delivers a substantial punch that sets the punters reeling.
By contrast, The Letters plays with the dynamic extremes wherein the silences between Fripp’s shivery accompaniment and Boz’s confessional-style vocal has the crowd rapt every bit as much as the blow-out chorus and middle section. Singing the final couplet with only the PA hum in the background, several seconds pass before the crowd erupts into appreciative applause.
The performance of Islands, which Boz names as the title track of their new album, is a thing of beauty. One of Fripp’s most telling melodies, the song was soon dropped from the setlist. However, this outing is simply exquisite. Yes, the sound is lo-fi but the clarity of the tune and the luscious playing within comes across loud and clear.
The ending of Ladies Of The Road demonstrates that not everything about the piece was nailed down and the early section after the head in Groon sounds like there was a work-in-progress melody being tossed around, and the sustain-lead rendition of Peace A Theme, with stylistic echoes of Prince Rupert's Lament, is a fascinating moment of Fripp in truly rhapsodic form. All told this performance stands as one of the best and most complete accounts of the KC setlist at this period.