Robert Fripp: Guitar and Mellotron - John Wetton: Bass and Voice
William Bruford: Percussives
With: David Cross, Mel Collins, Ian McDonald, Robin Miller, Mark Charig
Between April and July 1974 King Crimson embarked on a tour of Canada and America which has come to be recognised as one of the most powerful series of concerts performed not just by Fripp, Cross, Wetton and Bruford but by any band of the era.
The band, who had been rarely off the road - except to record studio albums - chose to perform a selection of recent material from the then newly released Starless And Bible Black, older fan favourites, newly written/then unrecorded material & nightly improvisations at a level described by many eye-witnesses and observers as “the most intense” gigs they’d ever attended.
A single live LP “USA” was issued in 1975, a year after the band split but failed to convey the full extent of how ferocious a beast King Crimson was in full-flight. No other band blended powerful rock with an ability to turn in epic improvisations of immense subtlety or strength.
Many of the shows on this final tour had been recorded, either professionally to multi-track tape, or on the band’s stereo cassette feed from the mixing desk. These remained unheard until 1992 when selected highlights were released in 1992 on the 4 CD boxed set, The Great Deceiver.
Now The Road To Red offers a comprehensive overview of this final tour and at last does justice to a group who were operating at the very height of their powers.
Every soundboard quality recording known to exist is presented with audio fully restored, all released on CD for the first time. There are also five complete concerts, drawn from multi-track recordings, alongside the restored audio bootleg of the band’s final show from New York and a new stereo mix of “Red” by Robert Fripp and Steven Wilson undertaken in 2012.
A total of 16 concerts are featured across 20 discs, with the studio “Red” as the 21st CD.
The set also features:
A DVD containing a high resolution stereo presentation of “USA” (in all mixes) and the new stereo mix of “Red”
2 Blu-Ray discs containing the five full length multi-track concert recordings (newly transferred at the highest resolution available from the original analogue Dolby SR source mix-down tapes & presented in 24/192
DTS-HD master sound), new & original stereo versions of “Red” and the existing 5.1 multi-channel mixes of the album presented in 24/96 DTS-HD also feature on Blu-Ray.
With a fully illustrated album sized booklet featuring previously unseen photos & a wealth of newly written material + postcards, replicas of hand-written set lists, album prints of the “USA” & “Red” covers & other memorabilia, this is an essential release for King Crimson fans.
For many King Crimson fans nothing compares with the band’s output from 1972–1974. Commenting on the final live date on The Road To Red, Robert Fripp notes this was the first gig gig “since the 1969 Crimson where the bottom of my spine registered ‘out of this world’ to the same degree.”