Live in Central Park, NYC, 1974 - 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: 24-Apr-00
By: Richard Romeo (rmr at apscompany dot com)

"Mr. Fripp says in his notes that he felt this gig to have a little extra for him in terms of power and muscle. He added he wasn't sure if listeners today would agree, but that it is what he felt while on stage that night in New York. Well, this listener agrees--this Live show is, in many ways, tighter than the material on The Great Deceiver (if not recorded as well), specifically during Starless--the most menacing version I've heard; the Cerebrus improv is a mixed bag of pretty oriental interludes, funky jazz, and out and out dread; Exiles begins with a somewhat extended dark motif, and Talking Drum is on the whole faster and schizophrenic. It is hard to listen to this CD on higher volume settings due to the recording quality--after a bit, much of the nuance of the drums and bass is lost in a wash of mellotron and white noise, but despite that drawback, I continue to enjoy hearing all sorts of different arrangements the 73-74 Crim produced. Let us hope there are more discoveries to be made."

Date Submitted: 28-Apr-00
By: Michael Adashefski (oingoboingo100 at earthlink dot net)

"I'm reviewing this gig from the perspective of one who was there. It was a hot, rather humid night as July began in NYC. My friends and I went to what was then the Shaffer Festival in the Wollman Skating Rink in Central Park and the tickets for the gig only cost $3.00! I have my ticket stub to this very day as this was indeed a memorable night.

"Golden Earring was the opening act for King Crimson and we were not very friendly towards them. They had not yet achieved their success with "Twilight Zone" and all of us there were there for one reason--King Crimson. After a short intermission we all got what we came for and more. The familiar strains of The Heavenly Music Corp. came through the p.a. system and Crimson launched into Schizoid Man to open the show. This was a band on fire and playing with creativity and a "presence" which was clearly in attendance at this gig.

"The lighting was incredible in the rink that night. Two giant floodlights flanked the stage and at given moments bathed us in white/silver and of course, crimson red. While most of the stage was very well lit, Fripp's corner was dark and got even darker as night crept in, casting shadows on the black mellotron and black Les Paul. Wetton was loud and punchy during the show and perfectly complemented Bill Bruford's percussion assault. Bill had an arsenal with him onstage including gongs, xylophones and all sorts of bells and accentual percussion. And David Cross played beautifully throughout the night--little did anyone know that it was his last night with the band.

"When the band came out for the encores of "Talking Drum/Larks Tongues Part 2" we were all on our feet and stunned into submission. King Crimson delivered about 80 minutes worth of the finest live music anyone had ever heard and it was a night I wished could have gone on longer. After the band left the stage, Fripp came out with guitar in hand and took a solo bow and then the Heavenly Music Corp. played us away as we left Central Park into the night. A few weeks later I learned that Fripp had ended King Crimson and that I was lucky enough to be at its final show at that time. Since then I have sought to find a copy of that amazing night to hear what knocked out my senses and has haunted me ever since.

"Fripp has always raved about how he had chills up his spine when he played this gig. I urge everyone to get a copy of this concert and hear why. This night wounded time and was the best that this version of Crimson ever played! Happily I can once again hear it and implore each of you to do the same."

Date Submitted: 30-Apr-00
By: (Krimn at aol dot com)

"Did I expected for this CD too much? Yes, of course, this is the really last live show of 73-74 KC, which has been waited for the official release, and the gig is very excitable & excellent one.

"But ... ah ... this CD and the well-known bootleg sounds the same. This was recorded by one of the audience's portable tape recorder, wasn't it? I wonder why the King Crimson Collector's Club decided to create this CD from that material, instead of the master tape, and there is no explanation for this.

"Of course the sound was improved, but there are some noises .... Did I expected too much?"

Date Submitted: 20-May-00
By: Jason "Foggy" Gossard (Jfoggyg at cs dot com)

"I just have to do a little public drooling over this release. Maybe it was my state of mind at the time, but I listened to this last night for the first time in which I did nothing but listen (i.e. no bill paying, paperworking distractions), and found Fripp sounding more ferocious and inspired than ever. "21st Century" starts things off in a fury of metallic screechings, and from here Fripp just gets crazier and crazier. The first Improv is one of their most inspired, "Easy Money" climaxes in a hailstorm of inpsired noise, and both "Fractured" and "Starless" are tight AND on the verge of chaos. Damn good stuff, adding another reason to my list of why this touring band is my favorite KC incarnation."

Date Submitted: 22-May-00
By: Dan Lenehan (LenehanD at Beltone dot com)

"This release is an intriguing document, and offers many unique - often solid - performances of the familiar, '72 - '74 repertoire. Starless, in particular, has an determined and focused character, and features the final, "Red-version" of the instrumental melody, stated by Fripp in the outro. It's a slightly different melody than the one played by David Cross in the beginning (and on Starless versions contained in "The Great Deceiver) and has a more graceful flow than what must've been the "working", live version to this point. A document of evolution?

"Interesting indeed. And yet, this disc does little to threaten my favoritism for The Nightwatch, quite possibly the most amazing, single, live, "rock" musical performance ever recorded. Perhaps the magic of that performance (unembellished, this time, right?) didn't reach the base of Fripp's spine because of the well-documented fatigue that all members suffered, through and leading up to that show. Fury and vision born of tension.

"Still, Central Park has some moments of real amazement. Fripp's 'Schizoid Man solo rips angrily through the jagged familiarity of that tune with low-fi abandon. Furious trills ripple through the piercing, high frequency spread of his wah pedal and give way to still more heated improvisation. Shortly after, Bill forcefully tacks down a simple and agressive rhythm figure, laying a hard foundation for David's turn.

"Cerberus begins jarringly like Starless and Bible Black, but morphs into varied exploration piece, reminiscent of The Fright Watch, in places. This band was not always dead-on in its improvisational, group excursions but it found unique musical territory through such daring. Cerberus is a psycho-musical journey on confident wheels, no less than Providence, Asbury Park, Wilford Carpet or Bartley Butsford, from other live recordings.

"Central Park is far from a mere gig, belonging to a date. It offers potent, trace evidence of this Crimso's real greatness. Worthwhile."

Date Submitted: 5-Jul-00
By: Tim Long (timrobinlong at peoplepc dot com)

"I was very fond of the realese! It has not so good sound quality but the band quality is amazing I mean "starless" is incredible. "fracture" "Exiles" and "schitzoid man" are all must hear's. If you are a sound quality freak this realese is not for you but if you care about the band I suggest get it!"

Date Submitted: 21-Oct-00
By: Eric (ericodijk at wanadoo dot nl)

"I understand that since it is the very last Cross/Fripp/Wetton/Bruford gig, it is a special release. But since the show one day before this one was professionally recorded (listen to Providence on Red) it would be good if the Providence show was released, not just for Club members but for all of us. This is imo perfect Crimson."

Date Submitted: 21-Feb-01
By: Philip Birtwistle (philipbirtwistle at supanet dot com)

"Just got this CD through today. Let me state that I am not a King Crimson fan in the way most readers of this will be. I love the 1972 - 1974 line-up of King Crimson, and only that line-up. This CD, rough sounding though it is is the perfect companion piece to THE GREAT DECEIVER, and serves to round off the bands career splendidly. I was almost put off by some of the comments above about sound quality, but to be quite honest I have bought bootlegs by other artists in a lot lower sound quality than this, so good for Mr. Fripp for releasing this himself, and trousering the cash, so to speak.

"The line-up show that they are the best improvising rock band this side of the Grateful Dead, and, from me, that is a big compliment.

"Take the chance, this show is well worth the extra effort you have to put in to get the best from it. And yes, the chills were up my spine as well."