King Crimson @ Best Buy Theater 9/18/2014
Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Part 1 / Level Five / A Scarcity of Miracles / Hell Bells / Pictures of a City / The Letters / Sailor’s Tale / The ConstruKction of Light / Red / One More Red Nightmare / VROOOM / Coda: Marine 475 / Talking Drum / Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Part 2 / Starless // Hell Hounds of Krim / 21st Century Schizoid Man
I went to this show entirely because I was curious to see what it would be like, and it was kinda fascinating. I’ve seen plenty of arty rock music in my day, but nothing so formal and academic in presentation. It didn’t have the dynamics of any show I’ve seen before, and in the parts where they weren’t being a heavy rock band, it could be hard to know exactly how to respond to the music.
In observing the band I have a few takeaways:
1) It is strange but wonderful to see Robert Fripp play his parts in person, even if he’s off to the back of the stage and seems more like a technician than, you know, one of the greatest and most inventive rock guitarists of all time. The moments when you could really get a sense of the physicality going into the part he was playing were pretty incredible to behold.
2) I have more patience for drum solos – or triple drum solos, as there are three drummers in the band – than I would have thought. Gavin Harrison, the alpha drummer, was particularly great in the solo section of “21st Century Schizoid Man.”
3) I have absolutely no understanding of the Chapman Stick. Tony Levin played one on about half of the songs in the show, and especially when they’d put a close up of him playing on the screen, I’d just be confused by the physics of that instrument. It just looks like he’s doing random hand gestures and getting an absurd range of sounds out of it. It’s like Arthur C. Clarke’s rule that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
4) The songs from Red were amazing live, and definitely the parts I enjoyed the most. “One More Red Nightmare” is just an all-time great art metal song, and it’s funny how in a show full of unusual time signatures – I mean, in a SONG full of unusual time signatures – they still know how to make a 4/4 part sound really cool.