Jahnhalle Pforzheim Germany

From cautious beginnings Improv II quickly expands into lolloping beast of a track providing what is arguably the best set-up to Exiles to date.[endtease] As Cross and Wetton hurl fuzzed lines across the stage over one of Bruford’s slow-burning jazz vamps, Fripp introduces one sustained note that lasts somewhere in the region of 37 seconds. An object lesson in making a little go a long way. Looking back on this little hummer of a gig, lyricist Richard Palmer-James offers this observation “What had seemed robust in the music the night before (at Mainz) now became threatening . . . the unsettling power of the performance comes through. In the dressing room afterwards, John sprawled naked on a bench, looking like he'd been shipwrecked; he didn't really recover before he went to bed. Even Robert had a few beers later in the pub. There was a quiet euphoria in the air, as if they'd survived a potentially lethal accident.”
TRACK
TIME
01
The Great Deceiver
03:55
02
Improv I
03:20
03
Doctor Diamond
05:24
04
Improv II
06:53
05
Exiles
07:17
06
The Night Watch
04:54
07
Lament
04:16
08
Starless
12:12
09
Easy Money
06:42
10
Fracture*
03:02
Written by Allon Kesselman
Great Lineup at Their Peak
This is the first show I purchased/downloaded from the DGM Live site, and it turned out to be an excellent choice. This lineup had been touring for several years and were at their absolute peak by the time the German tour of 1974 occurred. The versions of Easy Money and Starless may be the best I have heard, and there is really not a wasted moment to be heard. This great sounding recording is one of the most essential King Crimson performances of any era.
Written by Tom Brantseg
Powerful
I’ve had this one for a while and listened to it a fair bit, but I never got around to writing a review. The Great Deceiver - I love this piece, and the punchy, bottom-heavy mix makes it really shine. Great way to start off the concert with a bang. Improv I - Pretty dark and unsettling. This is definitely one of the “atmosphere” improvs, with guitar, bass, and electric piano trading some out-of-time riffs over drum rolls. I swear Wetton very briefly quotes a bit of the opening of the Rite of Spring, but I might be imagining things. Doctor Diamond - This is about the heaviest version of this song I’ve ever heard. The slightly slower tempo in the opening section (Wetton still trips over the words, but whatever) works really well, and the middle is really dark and creepy. Improv II - This one is even darker and spookier than the first improv, with a really menacing groove from Bruford. Nobody really tries to just jump into a riff, instead just building up the tension with sustained notes over the steady beat until Wetton hits on a crunchy bass riff, which quickly dissipates. Great group sense of pacing. Exiles - Cool segue from the end of the improv. Gorgeous guitar solo on the coda. I think I can hear Bruford yelling encouragement in a few places. Nice drumming on this one too. The Night Watch - Taken at a slightly slower tempo than I’m used to, which gives Wetton a little breathing room on the vocals. Nothing super unusual, but another pretty solo. Lament - The rhythm section got tired of the quieter numbers, I guess, because they really rock out on this one. Overpowering drums and Wetton finds an interesting variation on the usual bass line in the last verse. Starless - The middle section is tremendous. Once again a great sense of pacing and tension. Nice violin solo from Cross at the end too. Easy Money - Not my favorite version. The first couple verses are great, but during the middle section the rhythm section just goes into Flying Brick Wall mode and obliterates the guitar and mellotron, which is frustrating. Fracture (inc) - I wonder why all these 1974 German shows have the tape running out during Fracture. Sounds like this was a good take too. C’est la live recording.
Written by Jeff Oaster
The band was simply on fire...
It’s really great that we have access to a bunch of the shows from this German tour. There is so much to like, and the band was scorching for this stretch of shows. The improvs, which tended to be less of a full piece and more of extended intros, are really terrific. The lead-in to Doctor Diamond is downright menacing, and the longer pre-Exiles piece is one of the finer intros to Exiles - I have a soft spot for the Pittsburgh one the following month - but this one is right up there. Starless is still a work in progress, but still a very dominant piece, with Bill Bruford "kicking ass and taking names" as a colleague of mine once said about him.
Written by James Clark
My favourite Crimson bootleg
The hottest show from the hottest leg of the ’74 tour, and I’ve heard every available bootleg from this era. This is the one you need to buy. Bruford’s funkiest and most authoritative performance ever. Wetton’s heaviest, most daring basswork...and his vocals sound unhinged, soulful, ferocious. Sometimes he screams the lyrics. This set features what is, in my opinion, THE definitive version of Easy Money (the middle section building up to the final verse is UNREAL, my friends). Also the greatest version of Doctor Diamond, set up with a truly menacing improvisation (and when the band finally slams into the riff the first time around--Dear God, the power). Arguably the best ever version of Starless--it’s at least a contender. Exiles is a beautiful, propulsive, acid-drenched meteor churning towards earth from some other dimension. The whole set is mind-blowing. THIS is the band in prime form, hitting their peak before they tired out and lost some of their dynamic by the end of the tour. Get it.
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