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Thread: AAJ Review: King Crimson, Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972

  1. #1

    AAJ Review: King Crimson, Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972




    My review of King Crimson, Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972, the 48th in the band's King Crimson Collector's Club Series, published today at All About Jazz.

    "Never say never," or so the old adage goes. When it comes to music, there are two more that should be added: "farewell tour" and, most certainly as it relates to King Crimson's Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972, "the complete recordings." This, the 48th in the veteran group's King Crimson Collector's Club series of archival releases, turns out not just to be an unexpected addition to the group's Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Panegyric), but belies that fifteen-disc, 2012 40th Anniversary Series box set, which was subtitled "The Complete Recordings" on the opening page of its enclosed 36-page booklet.

    But it's a minor quibble. The truth is, this five-piece version of a brand new lineup, making its first public appearance just two months prior on October 13, 1972 and its last a mere five months later, was King Crimson's second shortest-lived incarnation next to the 2008 twin-drummer lineup (which performed a mere eleven dates in four cities, leaving no studio recordings and, effectively, no new music).

    The remaining members of the Larks' Tongues band continued as a quartet for another fifteen months before being summarily shut down in September, 1974 by the group's only remaining co-founder, guitarist Robert Fripp, following the recording of King Crimson's final studio album of the '70s, Red (Island, 1974, reissued Panegyric, 2009). But with only seven live recordings from the quintet's 46 concerts included in the 40th Anniversary Series box (plus a very poor quality bonus eighth as a download), and a full five of those seven shows sourced from audience bootlegs, it's terrific news, indeed, that the band, still road-testing its new material in the final months of 1972, was in the habit of making cassette recordings off of the soundboard. Far from the high fidelity possible today, these soundboard recordings were, nevertheless, of sufficient quality to allow the band to continue honing its new repertoire prior to going into the studio.

    But if Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972 is, indeed, a major find: a soundboard recording that's a major addition to the documented legacy of this short-lived five-piece lineup that, alongside Fripp, ex-Yes drummer Bill Bruford, ex-Family bassist/vocalist John Wetton and violinist David Cross, featured the fur vest-clothed, blood capsule-spewing and inimitably creative percussionist, Jamie Muir.

    Continue reading here...
    Last edited by jkelman; 04-19-2019 at 10:55 PM.
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  2. #2
    Member bigjohnwayne's Avatar
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    I'm excited to spin this. The world needs more Muir.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by bigjohnwayne View Post
    I'm excited to spin this. The world needs more Muir.
    Damn straight!!
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  4. #4
    Wonderful review, thanks John. I'm really itching for my copy to arrive now.

    Bloody shame about the tape running out, though.
    “your ognna pay pay with my wrath of ballbat”

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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Mascodagama View Post
    Wonderful review, thanks John. I'm really itching for my copy to arrive now.
    Thanks, man!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mascodagama View Post
    Bloody shame about the tape running out, though.
    Indeed. But I'm glad the tape didn't run out during the 14 and 17-minute improvs; they, along with "LTIA I" and "Easy Money," at least IMHO, are the really essential tracks in this set. Not that "Book of Saturday" (or "Daily Games," as it was still called then), "Exiles," "Talking Drum" or, indeed, the abbreviated "LTIA2" aren't grand; they are. But it's those four aforementioned tracks that really make this an essential listen.

    Enjoy when it arrives!
    J
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  6. #6
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    I quit the Collector's Club at Volume 40 because I decided I just about had all the live Crimson I would ever need. Frankly I could have stopped somewhere in the low to mid-30s. But anyway I'm getting this! Thanks for the review.

  7. #7
    Hello all. All I can say is: ARGH. And....

    Just to let folks know how embarrassed I am about my originally misrepresenting this release as a restored audience bootleg when, as I should have known, it's from a cassette soundboard recording (though, at that time, the quality wasn't that good, so the audio restoration is still quite remarkable!). Just to say: sorry folks, but everything has been put right, and I hope you'll forgive me for such a major mistake...thankfully, I think (hope), these are rare occurrences...but just to let everyone know...I absolutely welcome corrections if you see things in need of fixing, so do not hesitate, please! I'll go crawl back under my bed now....
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Hello all. All I can say is: ARGH. And....

    Just to let folks know how embarrassed I am about my originally misrepresenting this release as a restored audience bootleg when, as I should have known, it's from a cassette soundboard recording (though, at that time, the quality wasn't that good, so the audio restoration is still quite remarkable!). Just to say: sorry folks, but everything has been put right, and I hope you'll forgive me for such a major mistake...thankfully, I think (hope), these are rare occurrences...but just to let everyone know...I absolutely welcome corrections if you see things in need of fixing, so do not hesitate, please! I'll go crawl back under my bed now....
    Things happen. You gave a good description of the audio quality, this matters a lot more to anyone reading than the tape source. So no need to stay under the bed IMO (unless you like it there...).
    “your ognna pay pay with my wrath of ballbat”

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  9. #9
    Member bigjohnwayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Hello all. All I can say is: ARGH. And....

    Just to let folks know how embarrassed I am about my originally misrepresenting this release as a restored audience bootleg when, as I should have known, it's from a cassette soundboard recording (though, at that time, the quality wasn't that good, so the audio restoration is still quite remarkable!). Just to say: sorry folks, but everything has been put right, and I hope you'll forgive me for such a major mistake...thankfully, I think (hope), these are rare occurrences...but just to let everyone know...I absolutely welcome corrections if you see things in need of fixing, so do not hesitate, please! I'll go crawl back under my bed now....
    Don't worry.

    And besides, we are all probably happy to hear that its a soundboard tape and not an audience recording.

  10. #10
    Well John, you did it again with another excellent review. I finished reading, hopped straight over to Burning Shed, & placed my order there & then!

    So, the sound is certainly a bit rough, mostly to the detriment of the drums & percussion, which can tend to get overwhelmed by the noise. But, really, this is wonderful stuff - the spirit of adventurous exploration is palpable. The long improvs really are a highlight, as John says in his review. There are occasional moments when Muir makes sounds that are so extraordinary, that I was convinced they were coming from outside my house! Wetton has never sounded better.

    This album would be worth the admission price for Book of Saturday & the remarkable long improvisation that follows it, alone!

  11. #11
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    I haven't bought a KC album in almost a decade.
    This review makes me think it's about time

  12. #12
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    Do they have this one up for downloading or is it CD only?
    Not just a Genesis fanboy.

  13. #13
    I'm very interested in hearing it. A very unique and short lived period.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by LeFrog View Post
    Do they have this one up for downloading or is it CD only?
    I believe the KCCC is CD only.
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  15. #15
    Member bigjohnwayne's Avatar
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    My copy came in today. I am just finishing the loud part of Larks pt 1 and the sound is a lot like the Guilford show by the same lineup. The guitars are crisper and cleaner here, while the drumming isn't as front-and-center.

  16. #16
    Member bigjohnwayne's Avatar
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    whoa, is this the earliest recorded version of LTIA1 with the coda?

  17. #17
    I was quite confident that we would get a Newcastle sample in the KC50 Series last friday. No sample so far...
    But there's a new friday tomorrow

  18. #18
    I am enjoying this CD very much, and I found the sound better than expected. As with all of these whole-concert recordings from DGM, I find the performance gets steadily better as the show goes on. For me, the Fripp/Wetton/Bruford/Cross combination of King Crimson is the absolute best, partly for Wetton’s awesome bass, partly for the specific interplay between him and Bruford and partly for the broader interplay between all four musicians. The setlist is broadly the same for each concert played in this era, but there are huge variations in how each song comes out, as shown in the four CDs of ‘The Great Deceiver’.

    I listened to ‘Live in Toronto, 2015’ today and it occurred to me that the fact that there are seven/eight players in the latest version of the band must limit, if not stop altogether, almost all spontaneous improvisation during a concert. I will be buying ‘Live in Chicago, 2017’ and ‘Live in Vienna, 2018’ soon to confirm my theory. But it seems to me that the variation now in King Crimson comes purely from different setlists and the interplay resulting from the changing personnel, rather than from on-the-night improvisation.

  19. #19
    I've been giving this cd pretty regular spins over the last few days, & the more I listen, the better it gets. The improvisations are really impressive, so organic & coherent & inventive. I'm beginning to come round to the opinion that this incarnation of the Crims may just be the most exciting. And with that, is coming the inference that Muir must have been the catalyst for what makes this band so special.

  20. #20
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    The first Improv is excellent and quite unlike anything off The Great Deceiver box. More pastoral and less powerful than what they would be doing in mid-1974. It makes it clear why Cross said he couldn't find his place anymore at the end of his tenure with the band.
    The second Improv is more of a showcase for Muir.
    Not just a Genesis fanboy.

  21. #21
    Subterranean Tapir Hobo Chang Ba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mascodagama View Post

    Bloody shame about the tape running out, though.
    Yeah. This is certainly the most annoying thing about pre-80s live Crimson. So much of it is excellent, and so much of it is marred by random tape dropouts.


    I suppose I should add this is on my way to me now. Even with the tape issues, I still love all Crim, so it's not like it keeps me from spending my money.
    No humor please, we're skittish.

    Never let good music get in the way of making a profit.

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