The Great Deceiver is a live 4CD box set by the band King Crimson, released on Virgin Records in 1992. In 2007, it was reissued as two volumes of 2 CDs each. The track listing on the volume 1 CD 1 lists 11 tracks, incorrectly listing The Talking Drum and the abbreviated "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two" from the Pittsburgh show from CD 1 of the volume 2 set.
The box set features live recordings of the band from 1973 and 1974. All recordings feature the lineup of Robert Fripp, John Wetton, David Cross and Bill Bruford. Jamie Muir, who left the band in early 1973, is not featured on the set. The band's 1974 concert from Providence, Rhode Island is presented in its entirety on CDs One and Two; this was the second-to-last live concert ever performed by this incarnation of King Crimson.
King Crimson's "Walk On" music in 1973-74 was an excerpt of "The Heavenly Music Corporation," from the album (No Pussyfooting) by Robert Fripp and Brian Eno. These "walk-ons" are reproduced here, and indexed as separate tracks.
Three recordings from this box set were previously available on other King Crimson albums, albeit in slightly altered forms. An abbreviated version of "We'll Let You Know" appears on the Starless and Bible Black album, released in 1974. Similarly, an abbreviated version of "Providence" was included on the Red album, also released in 1974. The live performance of "21st Century Schizoid Man" on CD Two was issued in 1975 as part of the album USA, featuring overdubbed violin from Eddie Jobson.
Many of the recordings on this album are band improvisations. "The Law of Maximum Distress" appears in two sections, as the tape ran out in the middle of the song. Much of the missing material seems to be used on "The Mincer" from Starless and Bible Black. As Robert Fripp notes in the CD jacket, "Most live recording follows the policy of two machines in use simultaneously to meet an eventuality such as this. We learn."
The liner notes to The Great Deceiver run to 68 pages. These notes feature comments from Fripp, Wetton and Cross, annotated excerpts from Fripp's 1974 diary, reviews of the previous King Crimson box set, Frame by Frame: The Essential King Crimson (1991), and a complete listing of all concerts performed by the band in 1973 and 1974.
The track "Exiles" is credited to Fripp/Wetton/Palmer-James on this box set. The correct credit, as listed on ''Larks' Tongues in Aspic'' and confirmed by BMI's records, is Cross/Fripp/Palmer-James. Despite having no legal co-writing credit for the song, John Wetton has indicated in interviews that he wrote the bridge for "Exiles."