“A song from Lizard. This is Cirkus” announces Boz immediately after Pictures. Alas we don’t get to hear it in this shortened set and leap straight to Boz announcing the next number. Fripp is clearly having some trouble with his custom-built pedalboard and we hear Boz suggesting the band start up with Robert joining in once his equipment problems are fixed.
So the band (initially minus RF) start into a tentative groove. Collins of course just blows the roof off as the band maintain a holding pattern (via the swooning croon usually heard on Formentera Lady) until the time shift into the Sailor’s Tale theme proper more than five minutes into the piece.
Fripp’s sustain pedal clearly isn’t fixed and so Collins carries the main theme with Fripp’s natural-sounding Les Paul adding what it can. There’s clearly a lot of scratched heads in the band after Mel’s stunning solo but the drama is resolved when Fripp’s pedal sparks into life, and we get a gorgeously plaintive outpouring that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in a future rendition of the Night Watch! It’s a good example of a band having to think on its feet and respond positively to an emergency.
Ian’s solo spot, which runs directly from Sailor’s Tale, is rather compact and the haste with which they go into Schizoid Man suggests the band are really up against the clock. Fripp’s madly careering solo during a fast-pace rendition of KC’s old warhorse is a real highpoint of this set. At the end of the show it becomes apparent that the band have had their set cut short not because of any equipment problems but because of local regulations concerning the use of the hall. A shortened gig but an intense one nevertheless with good sound quality.