5.0 out of 5 stars USA A-OK
This album is fantastic. While not as technically proficient on this album as on the Nightwatch, the band exudes pure energy, making this one of their most loud and raucous performances. Exiles is done particularly well on this set and Asbury Park is a fantastic improv. Improv was what this version of Crimso were all about making every live performance completely...
Published on July 15 2003 by M. P.
3.0 out of 5 stars A rescue of the Crimson sessions in USA:E.Jobson helped...
It's a good album! Such a pity,only, for the failed attempt to rescue the whole US live stuff, which was partially lost and re-recorded in the studio with the help of Eddie Jobson at the violin,in the place of D. Cross. The track "Lament" and "Larks tongue in aspic part II" as well, are the best gems of this album. The remastering makes the original...
Published on Dec 9 2002 by Lethe
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4.0 out of 5 stars Live snapshot of Crimson at their peak,
This review is from: Usa: 30th Anniversary Edition (Audio CD)This long-delayed reissue of King Crimson's 1974 live album may seem superfluous to those who already own "The Night Watch," 1997's double CD taken from the same era (Bruford/Cross/Fripp/Wetton lineup). It's true that the track listing overlaps that of "The Night Watch." But "USA" remains essential for Crimso aficionados, due to the inclusion of material unavailable elsewhere, as well as its presence in the original EG Crimson discography.
It took Fripp & Co. a long time to reissue this one; perhaps they were looking for a complete take of "Easy Money," which fades out abruptly here. But the wait is justified by an excellent remastering job. The mix is clear, allowing the band's prodigious talents to shine through. Many consider this incarnation of King Crimson to be the greatest progressive rock lineup of all time; "USA" will only reinforce that belief.
The powerful, improvised instrumental "Asbury Park," a more confident and focused relative to "Starless and Bible Black" and "Providence," highlights the disc. There's also a rare live performance of "Starless," with alternate lyrics and a slightly different intro melody. Finally, the truncated "Easy Money" features a radically different guitar solo from the original version.
The generous CD booklet features a plethora of live pictures, scribbled set lists, and articles and reviews of the band and tour - even some negative ones!
So Crimheads will definitely want "USA" for their collections. This is also a decent place to start exploring live mid-70s Crimson - although "The Night Watch" does offer a more complete picture of this brilliant band at their peak.
5.0 out of 5 stars USA A-OK,
This review is from: Usa: 30th Anniversary Edition (Audio CD)This album is fantastic. While not as technically proficient on this album as on the Nightwatch, the band exudes pure energy, making this one of their most loud and raucous performances. Exiles is done particularly well on this set and Asbury Park is a fantastic improv. Improv was what this version of Crimso were all about making every live performance completely different. I highly recommend The Nightwatch and The Great Deceiver box if you like this version of the band.
Note: Easy Money ends halfway through because of the tape running out; however the middle solo is worth lstening to because it is so different from other versions of this song.
5.0 out of 5 stars HEAVY CRIMSON PERFORMANCE,
This review is from: Usa: 30th Anniversary Edition (Audio CD)Recently I started listening to the live material by the 1973-74 King Crimson. This band sometimes reminds me of other bands I like while simultaneously remaining unique. I have spent the last few months playing "USA", "Nightwatch" and "Great Deceiver". I can't help but wonder if this version of King Crimson and their approach were influenced by The Grateful Dead's Europe 1972 tour, and the formation of the Mahavishnu orchestra a year earlier- who introduced a killer electric guitar/violin sound to the world on 1971's "inner mounting flame". Wetton actually refers to the Grateful Dead in "The Great Deceiver" booklet notes. Some of Crimson's spacey improvisations remind me of the Dead, some of their instrumental flights remind me of Mahavishnu, and there are moments which harken a sound similar to Black Sabbath's first two records...yet Crimson is still entirely their own animal. The music on this 1974 concert is heavier than "the Nightwatch" disc (from 1973). Both are excellent and may be all the live King Crimson you'll need. The recording is good (for the time) and the performance is powerfull. The bonus tracks make this the one to get (if you have to pick just one)...after an insane version of "21st century schizoid man", there are excellent versions of "Fracture" and "Starless". Robert Fripp does some ferocious solos on this album. The whole band is great. Bruford seems to be more at home in Crimson and he became a more versatile percusionist, adding to his choice of instruments. Wetton lays down some heavy bass (with intentional fuzzy distortion) and fine vocals, his performance on "Exiles" being among the highlights. The musical talent and genius of this group comes through on the "USA" disc. Though the general emotive response on most of these tracks is fear, anyone who appreciates impressive musicianship will want to own it.
4.0 out of 5 stars Vastly better sounding but annoying,
This review is from: Usa: 30th Anniversary Edition (Audio CD)The good things first:
Fracture and Starless are good renditions and sound a little more inspired than the songs from the original album.
The sound is much better than the album and most important it's finally available on CD
The not so good things:
After some fantastic performances already available on CD this set, particularly the originally released tracks are not as energetic or 'on'.
In all this is still a fascinating release with strong performances of Exiles and Easy Money but (and this is the biggest frustration I have on the entire CD) it fades out as they go into - for this edition of King Crimson - an ambient segment. Maybe the next part was lost on tape or wasn't good in Fripp's estimation but I hated it on the original release and was hoping the song would have followed to it's logical conclusion.
Larks Tongue in Aspic II seems a bit tenative, played safely and far less powerful than when I saw them on this tour. Lament is a wonderful song and sounds great on the "Starless and Bible Black" album but was always a difficult song to pull off live whereas Great Deceiver has been very good on CDs and when I saw this particular band. Other shorter songs would have been a better choice but it's important to remember this was released in 1974 and at the time the band was probably sick of the project, not to mention Fripp's work as a producer and collaborator with Brian Eno.
The one improv, Asbury Park was more a jam, albiet a good one, than the complex, multi-layered work they were capable of.
In any case this is a good set of songs that is unfairly compared to better collections. 20th Century... has a very cool arrangement and is still fun to listen to. So even on a critical level this set is well performed and representational of King Crimson's live show at it's time. Taken on it's terms USA was a good album in it's time and a worthy purchase now.
3.0 out of 5 stars A rescue of the Crimson sessions in USA:E.Jobson helped...,
This review is from: Usa: 30th Anniversary Edition (Audio CD)It's a good album! Such a pity,only, for the failed attempt to rescue the whole US live stuff, which was partially lost and re-recorded in the studio with the help of Eddie Jobson at the violin,in the place of D. Cross. The track "Lament" and "Larks tongue in aspic part II" as well, are the best gems of this album. The remastering makes the original recording improve very much and let appreciate the live version of the famous hits of the Wetton/Bruford ERA, as well !!
They were more appreciated in Europe than in USA, but these sessions show a different "welcome" by the american people...as various labels were interested at this project (nevertheless this was the consideration, at least, by some critics in that time): regardless of this consideration and apart also from the stuff re-recorded in the studio-naturally - the usual EG label was busy with the re-issue, some years after, of this important record, which is recommended to the King Crimson's fans, even if it isn't completely essential ...
5.0 out of 5 stars KC has always been better live,
By A Customer
This review is from: Usa: 30th Anniversary Edition (Audio CD)Best Features:
- The musical style is much closer to RED than it is to Starless and Bibleblack
- Bill Bruford's drumming (IN-CRE-DI-BLE)
- The great improvs
- The length of the CD
- The sound quality
I've listened to it frequently and I think I like it more now than I did when I first listened to it.
Overall, a great buy for the KC lover.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic,
This review is from: Usa: 30th Anniversary Edition (Audio CD)I'm not as adept as some of the more inciteful reviews of KC on Amazon. But this King Crimson cd is a must for any fan or fan of prog rock. The intensity of Fripp and mates is hardly found with any other prog rock band. Owning the album I would not have purchased the cd without the extra tracks. Believe me they are worth the cost of the CD itself. Sit down in a comfortable chair, strap yourself in, set the volume LOUD, then be prepared for a musical assault few other bands can accomplish.
1.0 out of 5 stars An awesome disc with a fatal flaw...,
This review is from: Usa: 30th Anniversary Edition (Audio CD)Other reviewers have mentioned this too: the fade out on Easy Money. I find this less forgiveable than others. Why? Because this is the "30th Anniversery Limited Edition" version, that's why. Shameless. No excuse for not doing this right. Back to my own compilation of Live 1973-1974 Crimson drawn from The Great Deceiver... Don't waste your money. There are better versions of Fracture and Starless on TGD anyway.
4.0 out of 5 stars The Grand Finale for Crimso,
By A Customer
This review is from: Usa: 30th Anniversary Edition (Audio CD)Imagine being a side man in your own band. Now imagine that you've reformed the band taken the reins and control the direction the band was going in....only to become a sideman in your own band. This was Robert Fripp's dilemma. The Islands era KC veered into blues and jazz territory. Fripp wasn't pleased and dissolved the band. Looking back on it, maybe he was a bit hasty. Still, it allowed him to recruit Yes' Bill Brufford, bassist John Wetton (Family, Roxy Music and many others) and newcomer David Cross on violin. Live this was one of the most potent version of KC you could imagine.
Two years and three albums later Fripp disbanded KC. He didn't like the road, didn't want to work with Brufford and was generally annoyed with the oneupmanship that came to dominate the band (Wetton having the mix engineer turn up the volume of his bass; Brufford having his drums louder and poor talented Cross lost in the mix of electric instruments and percussion).
At the very end Wetton and Fripp put together USA. The only "offical" live album at the time of its release, USA still sounds pretty good. There are still a couple of minor problems. Exiles fades out like on the vinyl version prior to what promised to be an outstanding Fripp solo. 21st Century Schzoid Man is technically quite good but the vocals lack the fire of the original line up and Lake's icy delivery. The only live version that has done justice to the song live is probably the version recorded by the Fripp-Burrell-Collins-Wallace Islands era KC.
My only complaint is the song line up. I realize Fripp meant to duplicate the vinyl presentation of the original album but 21st Century Schzoid Man was the encore. The other two songs (I could be mistaken about this) come from earlier in the performance. They still provide a fine coda to the album but Schzoid Man is a tough act to follow even when played less than perfect.
Still, the version included here is quite good and Eddie Jobson's overdubbed violin part could easily compete with Collins' sax part on the Earthbound version. It's not a perfect live performance but it's quite powerful nevertheless. There are a number of KC live albums available at the KC website disciplinemobile.com. Many of these feature this edition of KC in top form(including the Live at the Zoom Club release despite being sonically challenged. It's also the only recording available of the 5 piece Lark's line up featuring the antics of percussionist Jamie Muir).
Taken as an aural document of the last incarnation of KC, USA is a splendid album. Not every song here is the definitive version but so what? They play with fire throughout most of the performance. It's well worth having if you're a KC fan.
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally it's here!,
This review is from: Usa: 30th Anniversary Edition (Audio CD)This is the single best record of the 72-74 Crimson line up, arguably their finest. Everyone's playing is strong and focused, especially Fripp, Bruford and Wetton. The live versions of their songs have much more drive and power and are a more accurate reflection of the artists' intentions than the studio versions.
I worried that Fripp's long laboring over this CD would result in a radically different mix than the original. But other than the expected clean up work, the mix is very, very close to the old vinyl mix. I think some punch was taken out of Bruford's drums (Fripp always hated how Bill's syncopated style overlapped his guitar parts), but not enough to detract.
For fans of the original USA, there are now 2 additional tracks - Fracture and Starless. Taken as a whole, USA now includes the finest songs from this version of Crimson (absent Red). However, the version of Fracture is lamentably disjointed in the middle section and overall not as crisp as the version on Starless and Bible Black. And Starless doesn't quite have the power and presence at its climax that the Red version has. Nonetheless, they are great songs and it's wonderful to hear live versions of them.
If you like Crimson, this is a no brainer. If you like Progressive Rock, and haven't heard this version of Crimson, grab this album, but be prepared. This is hard core stuff - dark, ominous, loud. Turn it up!
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