This 2-CD release is of a complete live performance at Amsterdam Concertgebouw on 23rd November 1973 featuring the 1972-74 incarnation of KC: Bob Fripp, John Wetton, Bill Bruford and violinist David Cross, who together made the studio albums `Larks' Tongues in Aspic', `Starless and Bible Black' and `Red' (Cross had left the band when `Red' was released but played on many of the tracks). `The Night Watch' wasn't released until 1997, by which time the music of the 1969-76 era had acquired a whole new fan base with a younger generation who in many cases weren't born when this awesome music was being made.
To most fans this was the definitive line-up of KC, a core of professional excellence at the zenith of their creativity bursting with a raw energy & clarity of vision possibly unique in rock history.
The album is absolutely stunning. If you never saw KC live on stage (and even if you did), prepare to be amazed at the collective virtuosity, the clear dynamics in the music - it's not all loud, there's plenty of quiet, restrained and melodic sections - and the clarity of the production.
If you only buy one album of KC live-on-stage for your collection, then buy this. There's a 4-CD collection called `The Great Deceiver' which culls parts of various performances from the period which is pretty darned good, but `The Night Watch' being a recording of one event really is unbeatable.
The liner notes with the package are also excellent, with Bob Fripp writing with great intelligence and insight about the concert, the band, the period, and penning a fine critique of the music industry and the way it works. Fripp is not only smart, but a genuinely entertaining writer who communicates thoughtfully with poignancy and humour, in many ways the very antithesis of a rock star.