Since Crimso last played the States they’d not only parted company with Peter Sinfield but had managed to break-up during their first writing/rehearsal session in January.[endtease] Despite this setback the band fulfilled what it believed to be their contractual obligation opening here in Wilmington. The eagle-eyed visitor will look at the date and think this is the gig from which Earthbound was partially culled. Indeed, the team at DGM HQ initially thought so. However, closer inspection of the tapes revealed that there were two performances that night at the Armoury, of which this is the first - therefore the very opening notes of that tour. We shall have to wait for the second set, which featured the celebrated version of Schizoid Man or the storming Groon which closed the live King Crimson album that refused to die (although RF does try out the same opening phrase on this Schizoid solo). Mel Collins is as raucous as ever on Pictures and pay close attention to Ian Wallace’s moving of the rhythm during the improvised section. On the handover between Formentera and Sailor’s Tale things become abstract and there’s a sense of the freedoms which might have been open to the group had it been able to escape the reigns of the KC repertoire. Overall, Fripp seems subdued particularly on Groon where he fails to pick up the gauntlet thrown down by Mel Collins’ bruising solo. Consequently there’s a certain degree of drift though this is rectified by an energetic Schizoid Man for which the crowd are especially appreciative.

AUDIO SOURCE: Cassette Soundboard



Pictures Of A City
Formentera Lady
The Sailors Tale
RF Announcement
Ladies Of The Road
21st Century Schizoid Man
Written by Barry Briscoe
The Descent Begins...
And so begins the ill-fated and legendary "Earthbound" tour. It's a passable performance but Fripp is rather subdued for most of the show, only really exploding into life on "Schizoid". Boz and Ian play well, but it's Mel Collins who is the undoubted star of this show, constantly turning in streams of inspiration, perhaps trying to make up for Fripp's lack of enthusiasm. His flute playing in "Formentera" is absolutely lovely. "Ladies" is surprising as later on in the tour that became a vehicle for much japery but here it's played relatively straight and I enjoy Fripp's confused solo which as it goes on is reminiscent of the studio take. "Schizoid" is kinda like an alternate take of the "Earthbound" version as you can tell from Boz's vocal effects it's the same venue though doesn't quite match it plus it's very strange when Mel doesn't come in with a solo. Overall, it's an OK gig but not outstanding. It does have historical value being the opening salvo of the tour and Mel is consistently enjoyable but there are better versions - and worse shows - to be had elsewhere by this line up.
Written by Bryan Boardman
Wilmington Armory
Before this show i promoted Alice Cooper at the Dupont Hotel’s Playhouse. What a wild show that was. Managed to rent the Wilmington Armory and booked both the J. Geils Band and King Crimson. Premier Talent was the agency for both bands. I really had an in with these agents thanks to Howie Wyeth’s introduction. It was two shows on a Friday night. That night as King Crimson played, the 200 amp stage breaker blew a few times. Everything went dark and silent. The lighting guy duct taped the breaker on and we stationed a guy with a fire extinguisher by the breaker box. He kept the breaker cool for the rest of the concert. The lighting company had such a great time they offered free lighting for my next concert. Well that next concert never happened. A big Philadelphia promoter named Larry Maggot promoted all the rock concerts in Philadelphia and owned the Electric Factory. This Larry Maggot phoned all my agents, the agents that Howie Wyeth introduced me to, and told them if they booked any more bands for me, Larry Maggot would no longer book bands through that agent. Needless to say that put an end to my plans of succeeding in promotion and then using the proceeds to start cool new businesses with all the ideas I had.
Written by David Reininger
From the Humble Pie archive
12/11/1971 Philadelphia, PA, Spectrum J. Geils Band, King Crimson
Written by David Reininger
Wilmington Armory
Yes, there were two shows at the Wilmington Armory, which was located across the street from Union Park Pontiac. King Crimson opened for J. Geils Band. A few night before this concert they were part of a triple bill with King Crimson and J Geils opening for Humble Pie at the Spectrum.