However, it’s impossible to listen to Ladies of the Road without a big smile on your face. From the banter at the top (with Boz’s comment about being “past it”) through to Ian Wallace completely breaking up with laughter as he’s about to do his backing vocal in the chorus, and Fripp’s comedic runs and interjections on the guitar, this is a FUN take on the track. That said, it also swings like the clappers!
A highlight of this gig is The Letters - a number which they only occasionally performed on this leg of the tour. The initially freeform setting behind Mel’s baritone sax is great stuff, morphing seamlessly into a bluesy jam, before finally settling back to down to earth. It’s an atmospheric reading but is undermined slightly by their insistence of tacking on a jokey ending.
It’s a feisty, combative rendition of Schizoid Man but at around four minutes in the whole dynamic changes; the charging pace is dropped for something less regimented and Fripp’s solo moves out in the newly created space, testing the air as it goes. When the band kicks back in the vagaries of the soundboard rob us of some of the guitar’s volume. Nevertheless we can still hear Fripp letting his hair down and really going for it. That it teeters at the end and threatens to fall apart simply adds to the high-octane excitement generated by this version.
This show was originally released in 2007 as KCCC 35 where it was incorrectly dated as having taken place on March 13th.