Live At Plymouth Guildhall, 1971 - Reviews

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Reviews are listed in chronological order within each section. Please retain a chronological order when adding new reviews.

Entire Release

Date Submitted: 12-Feb-01
By: Michael Adashefski (oingoboingo100 at earthlink dot net)

"Of all of the line-ups of Crimson I have always had the most trouble accepting the one that did Islands and mainly due to Boz being in the band. Either you enjoyed what he contributed or you didn't and I must honestly admit that I didn't. That doesn't make this a sub-standard release by any means as it's a great document of the 2nd touring line-up of Crimson.

"The sound quality is quite impressive and very clear and overall the band gives and fine performance. Particularly interesting on this gig is the version of Sailor's Tale which is very different from the Islands version. Mel Collins plays some beautiful flute Ian Wallaces tom-tom work is remarkable, adding rhythmic passages which give a completely different feel to the piece. The mix of Lady Of The Dancing Water/Cadence & Cascade is also quite nice and Boz gives a good vocal rendering here with subtle and effective guitar lines from Fripp.

"The version of Schizoid Man here has one of the best sax solos by Mel Collins. You can imagine the ghost of Coletrane smiling from the beyond as Mel rips into the piece after grabbing a note passed by Fripp and sailing into some very fast, furious lines--play this loud and ignore your neighbors complaints! The set closes with a powerful version of Mars which sounds more like a short Devil's Triangle complete with blasts from Sinfield's VCS3 and the expected violent mellotron work.

"Still it is Boz whose voice annoys me. I enjoyed his lighter vocalese on the quieter numbers but would prefer Greg Lake singing In The Court Of The Crimson King anyday at anytime. Boz's voice just didn't seem appropriate form harder songs like Ladies Of The Road and his difficulty in remembering lyrics makes this outing a bit upsetting.

"This was a powerful line-up of Crimson and the release itself is a fine example of how great it was onstage, but it could have been so much better with a different vocalist."

Date Submitted: 12-Feb-01
By: Nicholas Bradey (Nicholas.Bradey at btinternet dot com)

"This is a fascinating release . One can trace the development of the material by comparing the versions of " sailors tale " , and "Pictures of a city " with the versions on the Jacksonville release . As usual , the live versions differ significantly from the studio versions . " Get thy bearings " is a total contrast to the versions on the Epitaph 4 Cd set .

"At first , I wondered if this release offered anything new - it does , and it's great to be able to trace the development of the material with this and other collectors club releases . The studio recordings are only a small part of the story .

"Having said this , it is almost superfluos to add that this is a set for the KC afficiandos only - the neophyte should stick to the official recordings first . Having done that , then these recordings are invaluable . The sound quality is reasonable , and the atmosphere of the gig comes across well . ( Pity the Portsmouth gig isn't available - or is it ?)"

Date Submitted: 16-Feb-01
By: (mlbrown at charter dot net)

"Folks, this one was worth waiting 30 years!Historic,exciting, and fine quality, with the exception of the patched-up "Get Thy Bearings". Nevertheless, a truly wonderful release that bears repeated listenings."

Date Submitted: 16-Feb-01
By: Wilbert Mul (w.p.mul at freeler dot nl)

"I enjoy Plymouth very much. In fact: the more time grows between now and the seventies, the more I find, that this KC-line up is the strongest, poweful and melodious one, and less rational and "thought of" than p.e. the line-up of 1973 and 1974."

Date Submitted: 20-Feb-01
By: Bruce Roop (BruceRoop at email dot msn dot com)

"This lineup is my least fav of kc but this live cd is the best that ive heard very good."

Date Submitted: 24-Feb-01
By: Ken Carroll (kennerc at juno dot com)

"I am a newcomer to the club and actually didn't intend to receive this one. Part of my first order was the Summit release and I REALLY love that one, so when this one showed up and I looked at the titles, I decided I really wanted to hear Cirkus and Lady of the Dancing Water/Cadence Cascade, enough so to keep it.

"I was not disappointed! This version of the band has been underrated and misunderstood IMHO. I don't think it's fair to compare them to the other lineups.

"I agree with Ian's comments about the VCS3 synth effects, they ARE annoying at times, and Boz's vocals didn't need the help. But it didn't ruin this performance. Cirkus, even with the mixing quirks, is stunning. I've never heard this live before. I especially enjoyed the mellotron's role in this piece, this lineup did the song a lot of justice. I've always liked Pictures of a City, this is different than the Summit version, darker tones are used here, the center section starts to sound a little Pink Floyd influenced even, (Ummagumma era I mean). Sailor's Tale is REALLY interesting, it has a lot of twist and turns not apparent in later versions, a lot of flute, and the mellotron takes the place of the guitar later used toward the tail. The only thing missing is the closed-wah solo by Robert that always made the Earthbound version a keeper for me. Lady of the Dancing Water is beautiful, honestly I've forgotten the original studio version, this is the first time I've heard it live, what a nice change of pace. As Ian says in the notes "Nice. Very nice." I don't like disc 2 much, at least not now. I found I enjoy the Epitaph version of COTKC better than this one, it just doesn't seem to do anything. Never did like Ladies of the Road or Get thy Bearings.

"So basically, I'm playing disc 1 over and over again. I thought it was a VERY good call to give everyone the complete snapshot and for the price of only one CD, thanks guys! It's cool that someone went through the trouble to complete Get thy Bearings with the audience tape, even though I don't care for it. Looking forward to #15, I'm definitely getting my money's worth out of these!"

Date Submitted: 3-Mar-01
By: James Sutherland (james.sutherland at ntlworld dot com)

"My first introduction to live King Crimson was at the Glasgow gig on this tour. It was only my third concert and the impression made has lasted to this day. My first live track was Cirkus, still a favourite with five various versions in my collection and I remember Robert Fripp stopping Mars because the audience were clapping along to it! there was also no encore. This is a stunning, if sonically flawed, album."

Date Submitted: 7-Mar-01
By: Michael Gonsiska (highstepping at earthlink dot net)

"Amazing. The ambience sound quality in the beginning scared the bejesus out of me, but once the music starts it is pretty clear. The 'V' gets in the way sometimes. A most interesting version of 'A Sailor's Tale'. My only complaint is 'Mars'. It seems messy and almost, dare I say, too noisy. (Esh, never thought I would say that about a Crimso number.)

"But overall, I give 4 out of 5 stars, I love it."

Date Submitted: 10-Mar-01
By: Mike Mclaughlin (mikemclaughli41 at hotmail dot com)

"Ok taking this at face value (after a long wait for it's delivery) I had no real high hopes for this release, for although I love Crim in all it's forms the 71-72 years were for me the weakest (although repeated listening did endear certain tracks from those albums to me). The liner notes (for this is what I finished absorbing first) written by Ian Wallace were somewhat enlightening and worrying (they mention the VCS3 a horrifying concept when faced with the evidence of the Earthbound LP). I feel I should digress at this stage and poit out that Crim were perhaps one of the few bands whose interventions by someone with a VCS3 were to the detriment of the music, Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon was riddled with VCS3 and turned out to be a classic (admittedly two years after this recording). However that is the end of my digression I return now to the subject in point. When I first put the CD on this morning for a split second I thought. "Oh god it's been recorded from inside someone's sinuses." (for the ambient crowd noise was from a bootleg, on this more hereafter) Then Cirkus started up and although I was a little reluctant to dive in and scream "This is My favourite live album!" (That is still "Absent Lovers") I was impressed and intrigued, Pictures Of A City was great right up to the point when the VCS3 was introduced by Pete Sinfield on Boz's vocal, nevertheless this was not to prove too detrimental to such a powerful and sure performance of the track. This was followed by Sailors Tale and The Letters both of which sound here very good even sans the orchestrations present on "Islands" these were followed by what was to me the highlight of the album the Lady Of The Dancing Water/Cadence and Cascade medley, I had just heard the remix of Cadence & Cascade (having long thought little of the original) and fell in love with the song (Adrian Belew's version should be put alongside the rest of Wake Of Poseidon it stands up far better along with Greg Lake than Gordon Haskell's version) the version performed on this album however was to my mind a wonderful version of an undeniably beautiful Crimson tune. Disc two starts from inside someone's sinuses (the first half of Get Thy Bearings is from a bootleg) right up until about two and a half minutes in when there is a sharp cut to the soundboard recording (this spoils an otherwise admirable performance by this young Crimson lineup which had some interesting improvs). In The Court Of The Crimson King is a fine version (although I'd be interested for humour's sake in the twelve bar version mentioned by Ian Wallace in the liner notes) Ladies Of The Road features different verses (and some missing entirely) along with the overlooked harmonies of Ian Wallace and some interesting guitars from Mr Fripp. 21st Century Schizoid man follows (with some more irritating VCS3 usage), Fripp then introduces the band (save for his good self) and mentions Pete Sinfield saying "If we ignore him things start to sound wrong" (or words to that effect, was Robert also irritated by the VCS3?). This was followed by Mars (why was Holst not credited for The Devil's Triangle on In The Wake Of Poseidon?) and the show was brought to a close. Now I would like to take a moment to point out that this is a very good live album with only one semi-major fault in the sound quality, this is at the start of Get Thy Bearings. I would also like to point out that I now have a healthy dislike of VCS3 synthesisers, Pete Sinfield is undoubtedly a lyricist of precision & skill, he is also apparently a skilled lighting designer (so I'm led to believe) however I would not let that man within twenty miles of a VCS3 at my own band's gigs he makes an otherwise outstanding performance garbled and grungy in far too many places on this album (I know exactly why the VCS3 was not used as much on the 73-74 Crim's albums, because Fripp had been sickened by the overuse of it on the 71-72 tours. Anyway I will conclude by pointing out that VCS3 and nasal passage bootleg sections aside this album is an interesting, brutal and occasionally beautiful recording worth my wait and no mistake."

Date Submitted: 4-Jun-01
By: (d_paterson at ntlworld dot com)

"Awesome. Like an earlier reviewer my first live experience of KC was Greens Playhouse, Glasgow, 28 May 1971. It was an evening that changed my life.

"It is easy to say it would hgave been better if.....................but this is to me an exceptional line up, much better heard live but this is the third best thing ( the second would have been a recording of that night in Glasgow."

Date Submitted: 12-Oct-01
By: (aron2_4 at hotmail dot com)

"The only thing i want to ad to this reviews is that i think the VCS3 synthesiser is the thing that makes this release special. Besides from the great performance of the band, the machine was a pleasent surprise to me which makes the disc stand out as one of the special club releases. For me the "bad sound" of the club 11 Moles club disc ads the same value to that one, it makes the disc small and personal, just like i imagine the performance was. I think it's great to have a live disc where you can realy hear the VCS3 being used (good or bad, i don't care). It's also on Jacksonville but there it's burried in the sound, you can only hear/feel it in the drumsolo."

Date Submitted: 28-Apr-03
By: (ericodijk at zeelandnet dot nl)

"Now this is a fun double cd, and it's for a nice little price too! Get your greedy hands on this, friends, listen to how this line-up started off. One of the first gigs with Mel, Ian and Boz. I must say that for almost a minute I thought it would be a terrible audience recording, but that was only mixed in because audience sounds were almost absent on the soundboard tape. The actual recording is in fact very nice. The drums are bright, guitar is nicely mixed in and also the rest of the band, it's a good mix. Okay, the first song is a little messy in the mix, but that's what happens when you play live! Mind you, there's only a soundboard tape and an audience recording, so consider this a very good result. But there's one item this cd can truly do without: the VCS3.

"Enough about the music, like this band or not, it was GOOD and they did a GOOD show and their heroic attempt on In The Court Of The Crimson King is also GOOD.

"Now about the booklet: I really like what Ian Wallace wrote. He is very amusing and really proud of what they did back then. Sometimes Robert Fripp can get too deep, but Ian makes it all fun to read. Thank you, Ian, it is really nice to find out how someone else in the band lived through this. I'm very satisfied with this double cd. Great value, a band in good shape trying to find who it is going to be, a good writer and more than enough proof that there really was life in this band."