Toads Place

Ten dates into a short American tour we can hear King Crimson limbering up with turbo-charged renditions of their 80s debut as well as running in some new material. Sadly, we can also hear quite a few variations in pitch probably due to failing batteries on the recorder of this audience boot. It’s a shame because the band is clearly on top form with a dazzling energy evident throughout.

The wobbling pitch however doesn’t detract from a magnificent Sheltering Sky, replete with scudding atmospherics and those yearning low-end rumbles that couldn’t be anybody else but Tony Levin. Levin is also prominently featured as backing vocalist on a surprisingly intimate Frame By Frame that also includes a slightly altered impromptu entrance by Fripp ahead of the final verse.

Gigs from this tour and the run of dates they did later that month in the UK are sometimes known as the Beat play-ins, a fact confirmed by Belew as he announces “Here’s something from the next King Crimson” ahead of a surging pelt through Manhattan as it was often written out on the setlist but would eventually be called Neurotica. With lyrics still to be written, this is a stomping instrumental. Having the lyrics finished the previous year, Neal, And Jack And Me, sounds pretty close to the version they would record at Marcus Studio in London just a few weeks later.

This being an audience recording there’s a lot of reaction evident and perhaps best of all is the overwhelming whoops of joy and delight after a cantering Elephant Talk and Belew’s tour-de-force as ringmaster during a riotously ecstatic Indiscipline.

Of course, another reason to be happy is a fairly rare version of Absent Lovers, heard in a state of flux as not all the fittings and fixtures of the piece is nailed in place. A different version of the instrumental track would also be recorded in London at the Beat sessions but would remain unheard and unreleased until the 40th Anniversary series edition release in 2016.

All told, despite the variable sonics this is a stonking gig.
TRACK
TIME
01
Walk On
02:08
02
Discipline
06:16
03
Thela Hun Ginjeet
08:32
04
Red
07:01
05
Matte Kudasai
03:45
06
The Sheltering Sky
10:53
07
Frame By Frame
05:24
08
Neurotica
05:38
09
Neal And Jack And Me
06:24
10
Improv Intro
01:05
11
Elephant Talk
04:59
12
Indiscipline
12:03
13
Absent Lovers
05:58
14
Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part Two
06:39

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