Captured in this audience recording, the incendiary rendition of 21st Century Schizoid Man opening the show suggests that Fripp’s assertion that Crimso would wipe out anyone else is pretty much on the mark. Aside from the shock and awe of the bone-crunching opening, the fiery details in the ensuing piece are really unlike any other of the rock acts appearing that day. The telepathic qualities between the Giles and Lake are quite extraordinary. Check out the audacious slow-down in tempo under Fripp’s solo. Just as it seems they’re about to grind to a halt, the pair take off again, adding to the drama underneath Fripp’s angular workout, ahead of the transition to Ian McDonald’s frenzied burst.
An incendiary sequence of improvisations within Donavan’s Get Thy Bearings, Mantra and Travel Weary Capricorn showcase a determination to break away from the verse-chorus-extended solo, the accepted norm of the day, and adopt a collective approach that was open-ended and above all, open-minded. Runs and phrases are sometimes swapped, openings are sometimes ignored or dropped as one member of the quartet pulls in another direction altogether. And if all this sounds rather serious and sombre, there’s plenty of examples within these fascinating pieces where the band is clearly smiling and having a lot of fun.
Please note this concert was originally released as part of the Epitaph 4-disc box set.