A Fine Sampler
The release of this album was an important one as until then, all that was available officially by this line up were Islands and Earthbound which gave a rather mixed and confused impression of this era in Crimson history. DGM had started unearthing complete live tapes via their Collector's Club of which I was not a member so this was my first chance to get a better idea of what this line up were capable of. I was impressed. A decent selection of material on disc one showing how certain favourites sounded. I loved Boz's warm voice, Ian Wallace was a fine powerful drummer, Fripp was playing great spiky stuff and Mel... well... some extraordinary playing. I did feel a bit cheated as at the end of the disc we were given a snatch of the infamous blues version of ITCOTCK which amused me enormously until it was sudden snatched away.
Disc Two by comparison was like a violent onslaught of mayhem, a collage of Fripp and Collins solos from 21CSM taken from a variety of shows though sadly the sleeve notes gave no indication of clues of where they came from and when recorded but it proved - as if the Earthbound version hadn't already done so - that this song positively stormed played by this line up, prompting Collins and Fripp to go berserk with constant invention and experimentation. So for me, this album consolidated just how brilliant and important Mel Collins was - and remains - to King Crimson and it is thrilling that this partnership is still inventing today in 2017 as potently as ever.
So, this album was a timely much needed sampler of the 1971-1972 live Crimson which I think went some way in rescuing their erratic standing and reputation.