Originally issued as a four-CD box set in 1992, and long out of print until recently, this collection of live recordings is now also available as a pair of double-disc packages. Those lamenting the absence of the 68-page booklet that accompanies the box—with its many photos and other graphics—will be delighted to know that a PDF version may be downloaded from the DGM site (though most of the original text is included here).
While the ’73-’74 lineup of King Crimson recorded extraordinary studio albums, the band’s live performances are what elevated it beyond its contemporaries, particularly its interstellar improvisations, such as the humorously titled, “A Voyage to the Center of the Cosmos (My Mate Atman)” included here. Bill Bruford’s intricate yet powerful drumming coupled with John Wetton’s thunderous bass lines provided the ideal impetus for the interplay between Robert Fripp’s erudite and often electrifying guitar excursions and violinist David Cross’ amplified neo-classicisms—not to mention the moody Mellotrons. Throughout the more than 40 pieces presented on these discs, the Crims generates such cosmic intensity that one half expects openings to begin appearing in the ether—and they probably did.—Barry Cleveland
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