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Review King Crimson 31 October 2018

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lazland View Drop Down
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    Posted: November 01 2018 at 08:49

I was introduced to King Crimson by a schoolfriend playing The Young Person’s Guide to King Crimson in 1978. It has taken me 40 years to see them live.

By way of explanation, every time I wanted to see them live (and the opportunity, of course, did not come around very often), something else, important, in life turned up.

For this tour, Uncertain Times (and, boy, are they uncertain), nothing was going to stop me. My wife, son, and I duly pitched up in Cardiff (just over an hour drive from where I live) yesterday afternoon, went for a couple of drinkies by way of a livener, had the most fantastic Brazilian meal, and arrived in St. David’s Hall about an hour before kick-off to enjoy a couple more liveners.

The PA told us on more than a couple of occasions that the band would not tolerate any live pictures or filming on phones, something those who have followed the band for years know only too well. Upon going into the hall, which is a favourite venue of mine, far better than the massive shed which is the Motorpoint Arena, there were two bloody massive signs at either end of the stage welcoming us also warning against taking any pictures & etc. Toyah’s other half was, it seemed, keen to get this message across.

I support them in this. YouTube is full of crap quality videos, which can barely be watched. Further, my experience at gigs in recent years has been very much diminished by trying to look past punters holding both their arms and their bloody electronic contraptions up in the air recording or taking pictures. I like to immerse myself in a live environment and listen and watch with my full attention. Fripp allows us to do this, and good luck to him, too.

Fripp has attracted a bit of negative comment, certainly on Prog Ears (a site he actively dislikes, even going to the trouble of posting said dislike on his blog), by describing this present eight-man line-up as one of the definitive versions of the band over the decades. On last night’s evidence, it would be difficult to disagree with him. I will say straightaway that I am a big fan of Jakko Jakszyk. He has huge boots to fill in the likes of sadly departed giants such as Lake, Burrell, Wetton, and the shadow which still hangs over him of Belew. This show featured music from across the spectrum of Crimson’s exalted history, and the vocalist did a mighty fine job in my opinion.

Sonically, this was one of the finest shows I have ever heard. The sound production was simply staggering in its clarity. Visually, the stage setup was simple, and served its purpose, which was to bring the audience’s attention to the show. The three drummers are stage front, whilst the remainder are on a raised dais behind, with Fripp, as ever, sat down on his chair throughout.

I know my wife & son were looking forward to the experience of seeing a band with three drummers. They were not disappointed. Messrs Mastelotto, Harrison, and newish recruit, Stacey (originally recruited to replace Bill Rieflin, who returned for this tour, but as the band’s first full-time keyboardist) were incredible. The musicianship required to synchronise the way they did with each other is of the top drawer. Both opening pieces of the two sets was opened with Drumsons pieces, and mighty impressive they were, too. Gig encore, 21st Century Schizoid Man, also featured a fine solo piece by Gavin Harrison.

So, the highlights. The memory of the first set closer, Islands, will live in my memory for many years to come. In fact, it will stay with me to the day I depart this mortal coil, because it was just so beautiful. I mean that. There is no other way to describe the performance of that song as anything other than a thing of beauty.

When the opening bars of Starless came on, I let out a huge whoop, which attracted a few disapproving stares from some of the more miserable punters. I thought instantly of my best man, Chris “Nashy” Nash, who left us far too early owing to cancer. Every drunken night out we had would culminate with music blasting out of his sitting room stereo, and, inevitably, the last track played, at ear splitting volume, would be Starless, the ultimate ”mellotron moment”. I lived and breathed every single note of a peerless version, and I know that Chris was up there somewhere looking down approvingly, with arms raised high at the denouement.

I have always had a deep love of Epitaph, and I was impressed by the Easy Money performance. What did surprise me, though, was just how much I enjoyed the Belew era tracks. The intensity of Indiscipline was a particular highlight.

Given the musical pedigree of this line-up, it would be a tad unfair to pick out any particular performer, but I will say that I am so glad that Mel Collins got back together creatively with Fripp in the 2011 album, A Scarcity of Miracles, because his contribution to this show was incredible in the range of instruments and virtuosity. But, as I say, all band members were faultless, and, more to the point, this was very clearly a band thoroughly enjoying themselves.

This was not a concert of show offs. Jakko did not make one announcement to the audience the entire night. In fact, the only announcement was a recorded contribution by Mr Fripp prior to the start exhorting us to party! This was not a concert of old timers milking the last few dollars out of a glittering career lost in the eons and ravages of time. This was not a concert of musicians going through the motions of recreating old favourites. This was a concert of a group of exceptional musicians providing a musical feast of joy to a deeply appreciative audience, a group who love to change arrangements around, and a group at the top of their game.

If this is this venerable act’s last hoorah as a performing group, then they will have gone out on a huge high. I will also be able to meet my Maker happy, having ticked off the last of my “bucket list” gigs.

Incredible.

 

Setlist:

First set

1.       Drumsons 1

2.       The ConstrucKtion of Light

3.       Neurotica

4.       Moonchild

5.       Bass & Piano Cadenzas

6.       In the Court of the Crimson King

7.       Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (Part IV)

8.       Cirkus

9.       Lizard

10.   Indiscipline

11.   Islands

Second set

12.   Drumsons 2

13.   Radical Action (To Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind)

14.   Radical Action II

15.   Meltdown

16.   Radical Action III

17.   Level Five

18.   Epitaph

19.   Easy Money

20.   Discipline

21.   Starless

Encore

22.   21st Century Schizoid Man



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SteveG View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 01 2018 at 10:12
 Clap Thanks Laz for the virtual front row seat. I remain envious until the day that I see KC in concert again. Which shouldn't be too long me thinks!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AEProgman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 01 2018 at 11:50
Clap also!  Having seen them on the 2017 tour, your eloquent description pretty much nailed my experience as well.  My review was more of shell-shocked awe and all I could say was Damn....just Damn!  I agree with you on Jakko.  Great review!

Actually yesterday I received my Meltdown - Live in Mexico CDs/DVD and watched the DVD last night probably about the time you were leaving the show there.  I got to relive it again!  The DVD I thought was awesome.


Edited by AEProgman - November 01 2018 at 12:49
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chaser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 01 2018 at 12:34
Fantastic review lazland! You really bring the whole experience to life.

I'm seeing them on Saturday. I was already excited and after reading your review I'm now salivating.

Hoping I enjoy it as much as you did. Thanks for posting. Really appreciate it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dr wu23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 01 2018 at 15:18
Wonderful story and details of the set list ,etc......thanks for that.
I saw KC two times in the mid to late 90's both times in Chicago. I hope to see them again should they ever return to Chicago....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tboyd1802 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2018 at 19:19
Great review. I have had the fortune to seeing them twice. First time, like you a long held desire, in 2014 in San Francisco - an incredible show. Went solo (my wife accompanied me to San Francisco, but let's be honest, she won't have enjoyed the show and neither would I !-) ). Like you, high point for me in that show as Starless - never in a million years thought I would get the chance to hear it performed live. Then on this last tour in the US, 2017, I got to see them on by Birthday in Seattle. For that gig, I treated myself and my best friend to the "royal" package, part of which was a pre-show question and answer with Jakko. He was fantastic - great sense of humor, engaging, and just bubbling with enthusiasm for the group, his role in it, and the music. If they come back to the States again, I will be sure to see them again.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lewian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2018 at 19:42
Originally posted by Chaser Chaser wrote:

Fantastic review lazland! You really bring the whole experience to life.

I'm seeing them on Saturday. I was already excited and after reading your review I'm now salivating.

Hoping I enjoy it as much as you did. Thanks for posting. Really appreciate it.

Haha, I avoided reading the review because I didn't want to see the track list in advance. It wasn't 100% the same today though.
Great review!
I was smiling throughout the concert. I was skeptical that it'd be too nostalgic for me, but not a bit. There's still innovation and creativity in the band. Very exciting use of the three drummers; there is some heavy noise element in King Crimson through their entire career and the three drummers feel totally natural for their music, exactly what the heavy riff dominated portion of their material needed. Nice contrast between the heavy, math rocky, more lyrical, subtle and free jazzy elements. At the same time very versatile and totally unmistakable. Nobody comes close to what they're capable of.
The line-up is great, I always was a fan of Levin, Mel Collins is a great addition wherever he hadn't originally been present; I hadn't got warm with Mastelotto before but this time I was very impressed by his drumming. Jakszyk's voice fits the vast majority of the songs very well - I particularly liked his melody in Indiscipline; I'd have though it would be very hard to replace Belew on this long-standing live highlight but Jakszyk really made it his own.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Man With Hat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2018 at 21:12
excellent review. they are quite the force.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cstack3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2018 at 22:15
Steve, thanks for your fine review!!  You saw one of my favorite bands in Cardiff, one of my favorite cities in the British isles!  

I saw a similar show in Chicago in 2017, and it was truly remarkable.  I'm jealous about the Brazilian dinner however!!  Cheers, Charles in Chicago
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AEProgman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 03 2018 at 06:35
Tony Levin has posted his photos of the Cardiff show.  URL below.

https://tonylevin.com/road-diaries/king-crimson-2018-meltdown-tour/cardiff-show

One of his photos was quite humorous, he captured (of the crowd ) at the show. LOL 



Edited by AEProgman - November 03 2018 at 07:35
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Raff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 03 2018 at 06:47
Thanks for the great reviewHeart! We saw KC for the first time almost exactly a year ago. Unfortunately, circumstances were not the best - the venue was rather cramped, and other personal issues impaired our enjoyment of the evening. However, it was a great show with many highlights, and we hope to repeat the experience next year, when they tour the US again.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Progfan1958 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2018 at 10:48
Hi Steve,
Well I'm glad you finally got to see them.  This current incarnation is a superb set of musicians, and Robert seems really happy, which is saying something. I'm glad he's keeping the band alive now, going on a record 5+ years with basically the same lineup. If you know of his gripe with the record industry, and how he had withdrawn from it for a while, I applaud him for re-engaging on his own terms and allowing the fans to show their appreciation for the art he and his associates create.  I hope they keep going for as long as possible.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 09 2018 at 00:25
Yes this certainly marries up with the experience I had at the Bournemouth Pavillion a few days earlier.
Cheers!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Blacksword Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 09 2018 at 08:04
Yep! Consistent with my London experience last Friday. Wonderful show, and I agree about Islands. Beautiful.

Crimson are pure quality, in all their manifestations.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lazland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 09 2018 at 11:55
Thanks for all the replies.

There is a consensus. Crimson are simply on another planet when it comes to quality and the pleasure given


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