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David Cross: Violin, Mellotron, Electric Piano
Robert Fripp: Guitar, Mellotron, Electric Piano
John Wetton: Bass Guitar, Vocals
Bill Bruford: Drums, Percussion
At first glance it may have seemed like overkill, 4CDs of live unreleased material from only one of several of the King Crimson line-ups covering a 9 month period of performing, to be issued within a mere 18 months of a previous 4CD (the 3 studio, 1live 'Frame by Frame') Crimson retrospective boxed set. All the more so when considered against the fact that one of Crimson's key markets, the USA, where much of the material had originally been recorded, was reported to be 'hostile' towards live recordings as a general rule. Nor was there any vast enthusiasm shown for the project elsewhere - with the customary exception of Japan - until the set was issued, warmly received critically, promptly purchased by fans & sold out of retail outlets who proved rather more accepting of the set than record company logic dictated they should have been.
The key to the success was in the music itself. Nine months in the life of an extraordinary group of young musicians, musicians who listened to one another intently, musicians who had a wealth of existing material to draw from, an emerging body of new material to perform, (ultimately the basis of the classic 'Red' album recorded shortly after the final concert represented here), and a passion for improvising that allowed them to treat their core set with great fluidity.
Few bands rocked as hard as Crimson. Fewer still had the ability to improvise with such skill. Almost none could combine the two elements so successfully. Crimson was helping to stretch the boundaries of rock music, inventing a role for an improvising hard rock band and finding a willing audience for its music when these concerts were performed. The Great Deceiver helped define that approach afresh when issued in 1992 delighting some of that original audience along with an audience new to the material. 15 years on from that release, with the music sounding as vital as ever, the reissue of the set across twin 2CD sets allows a new generation to discover the power of these concerts. Assembled & mixed with great care by David Singleton & Robert Fripp from the original live multi track tapes, The Great Deceiver is a musical feast.
CD1 (Pittsburgh, April 29 1974)
1 Walk on - No Pussyfooting
2 The Great Deceiver
3 Improv: Bartley Butsford
5 Improv: Daniel Dust
6 The Night Watch
7 Doctor Diamond
9 Improv: Wilton Carpet
10 The Talking Drum
11 Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part II (abbrev.) (Penn. State Univ. June 29 1974)
13 Improv: Is there Life Out There?
CD2 (Toronto June 24 1974)
1 Improv: The Golden Walnut
2 The Night Watch
4 Improv: Clueless & Slightly Slack (Zurich Nov. 15 1973)
5 Walk on - No Pussyfooting
6 Improv: Some Pussyfooting
7 Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part I
8 Improv: The Law of Maximum Distress: Parts I
9 Improv: The Law of Maximum Distress: Parts II
10 Easy Money
11 Improv: Some More Pussyfooting
12 The Talking Drum