on 15 April 2002
This is essential KC, and apart from the costly 'Great Deciever' box set, the only way to hear the full ferocity of the fripp/wetton/bruford/cross lineup in full flight live. Some of this appeared on the 'Starless & Bible Black' LP. Highlights are 'Easy Money', 'Fracture' and all of Disc 2. Wetton's bass is enormous, Fripp is Fripp (the best compliment possible for a guitarist), and Bruford is excellent. All three are on fire and comprise a huge wall of sound which cannot be argued with, especially during 'Schizoid Man', probably one of the best live versions on CD. Cross is very good but his violin is drowned out occassionally. Also worth getting for 'the Fright Watch', a great Crim improv which cunningly leads into 'The Talking Drum', the cunning build up to the fiendishly clever 'Larks' Tongues...Pt II'. Interesting liner notes from Fripp.
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.
on 1 May 2008
This King Crimson concert is a double disc set with a combined running time of 82 minutes. The tracklisting for disc one is tracks 1-6 as above (ending with the Starless and Bible Black improvisation) with tracks 7-12 on disc two (starting with the Trio improvisation).This concert is recorded with very good sound quality, and I would suggest you should buy this in addition to the latest Great Deceiver double cd sets.
on 15 April 2001
Referring to the other review, he was only 7 when the concert took place. Well, I was there and it was the best live concert I ever saw and heard (and I've been to quite a few). The acoustics of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam were perfect.......the ambiance even more. The CD only reflects this partially......I wish they made a 2cd out of the concert because to my recollection KC played for more than 2½ hours and came back 3 times for an encore. The improvisations were formidable. This CD is an obligatory purchase for anybody who has been to a concert of KC in the begin 70's. Strange that music can be so compelling after so many years........
on 5 November 2015
This incarnation of King Crimson is probably my favourite, as it is for many fans, and to my mind the performances on this disc amply demonstrate why. For me, a lot of its appeal lies in the fact not just that it's live but that it's a complete concert. Also, it's a precursor to their 'studio' album, 'Starless and Bible Black' and some of the recording here was used as a basis for tracks on that album. Crimson live were always an exciting proposition but this line up is particularly impressive and the interplay on the improvisations is wonderful. It's all fantastic to my (totally unbiased).
on 10 October 2014
Robert Fripp deserves something strange doing to him. He fiddled about with KC, since its inception, and up to the end of the era with this band, struck lucky every time. Shame that his luck run out after this. This version of our beloved King was as innovative as the rest, if not more. i remember saying at the time that the music made by this band, was comparable to early Floyd for inventiveness. Great recording, great music.
on 18 January 2001
As a fan of the Wetton/Bruford era of KC above all others (before the dreadful Adrian Belew came into the picture) this disc was a particular treat: the band are in full deafening, frightening glory. I only wish I was old enough to have caught this line-up in the flesh (I was seven when this concert was recorded). History has shown that this line-up was deeply unstable personality wise, but this very instability was its musical strength, as all of the angst was channelled into the music - and how. Larks Tongues in Aspic II is rawer than it's recorded version (which is saying something in itself) and 20th C. Schitzoid Man is positively ferocious. Give your ears a treat, you won't regret it.