Saturday, August 16, 2008

King Crimsn V.VIII in Nashville, August 2nd, 2008

I have been slow in producing a report from the Nashville warm up shows. Frankly, it's been difficult to put into words, either held back by lack of writing abilities ( talking about music is like whistling about chickens ) or by the overwhelming nature of the weekend in total which is hard to separate.

I've decided to concentrate on events that took place in Hillsboro Village.( Home of The Belcourt Theater, once home to The Grand Ole Opry )

The Belcourt holds 370 people, as I learned in line, two rows of folding chairs were placed in front of the front row of permanent seating.

Very nice theater which has a heavier film schedule then it does for live music events.

You could not tell this by the way they handled this event, very efficient, very friendly and professional.

I arrived in Hillsboro Village at approximately 3:45 p.m. on August 2nd with intentions

toward grabbing a bite before joining the queue but, as I noticed the line was forming

and, wishing to secure a premium vantage point, I opted to forgo nutritional considerations and join the parade.

It was a scorching day in the Music City, mid to high 90s. The humidity factor was such that I was dripping in short order, like one of our favorite musicians at work.

You could wave a cup through the air and gain a glass of hot water for high tea. I soldiered through it.One of the highlights of attending such an event is meeting the other people who obviously share some interests, it makes passing the time under the bright blue sun bearable. ( okay, so the sun wasn't actually blue on this day.)

One nice fellow in my section of queue, poured himself a cup of flavoured water and handed me the rest, seeing as how I was losing internal moisture at a dangerous rate. Good people these Crimso fans. Others made bottled water runs and replenished the folks around them. I could not leave the line as I was, at this point, a solo act.

I knew our very own Tickledrop was going to be there but, though I haven't met her before, I decided that she wasn't in the line at this point.

Three young fellows who held the first three spots had, reportedly, been there since 9:00 a.m. Probably not necessary but, two had come all the way from Paris ( France, not Tennessee )and the other from Japan.

They can be seen in Sid Smith interview segments at DGM Live. Sid was working the line alternating between video and stills for website reports.

Yours truly is apparently on the cutting room floor somewhere. lol

I find it hard to speak in brilliant terms when a camera is suddenly pointed at me, not that I can speak in brilliant terms otherwise.

It was good to meet the Sid, he was friendly and funny and prepared with lots of prevalent interview questions.

There was quite a number of people who were there to see their first Crimson show ever, some were of the younger set, including our friends from Paris.

It gives me hope about the future of"difficult" music.

I am not exactly what you would consider an old timer in the court of the Crimson King, in fact, this would be my first time seeing Tony Levin with anyone.

Yes, ashamed to admit that, though I am.

My first Crimson experience would be the V.VI warm up shows for TCoL (2000) and TPtB warm ups (2001).

There were quite a few veterans of those shows present and I actually remembered seeing some of them there.

Adrian arrived and parked right in front of the venue in his sporty Chrysler Crossfire, grabbed his guitar and other gear from the trunk, chatted briefly with the crowd in his ever gracious and friendly manner and entered through the front door.

It was not long before T-Lev strolled up the street, waving and smiling.

Soon, they both came back out and wandered around the corner, presumably to Boscos, for whatever pre show "ritual" and relaxation.

Tickledrop arrived and joined me in line. It was great to finally meet her after being friends in this forum (reference to the Adrian Belew at Yahoo list ) for some time now.

What a vibrant, energetic, fun person to share part of this experience with.

The doors opened at about 7:10 p.m., the end of the wilting...thank goodness.

Entry was smooth, organized and swift, wrist band for age check, guest pass posted.

Tickledrop was at the concession counter while I eyed the merch...I turned and she was gone, therefore, we were separated in the first row by about 5 seats.

She, in front of Adrian, myself in front of Stickman and Gavin.

I was dangerously close to the stack, stage left, which delivered thunderous bass and drums but, I didn't mind.

I had a great view of Robert's perch. My rib cage was sufficiently rattled, good for the blood flow.

We were treated to pre-recorded soundscape, frankly, I miss the familiar Ken Latchney mix, I hope Adrian has possession of that.

The unseen announcer ( Biff ? ), reiterated the usual warnings regarding photos, cellcerts, etc. and it was time for The Beast.

A standing ovation greeted the Crim as they took the stage.

1. [drum duo]

Many people, I am certain, were anxious for the return of Tony Levin and were excited to see what the edition of Gavin Harrison would bring to the fold, as was I.

Fortunately, The Crim, was also aware of this and planned much space for Pat & Gavin to show their wares in the form of a single mind playing different parts.

Most "new" music of the weekend was delivered from the drum risers and that is how the show began.

Adrian, during these sections, sat stoic on his fancy stool, trying his best to not draw any attention away from what was going on behind him.

A masterful duo of percussive precision ripped through the frame of our existence,

at times sounding like a drumline field performance but with the Pat and Gavin signature so firmly attached.

Pat, as usual, had the digital duties but was at full steam on the genuine skin and cymbal barrage as well.

Gavin was just as amazing as everyone knew he would be and you would have thought he and Pat had been playing these pieces together for years.

Most bands I have seen with dual drum kits pretty much play the same thing from each kit but, these guys were together in their own worlds, in the same piece but, each taking their own respective strengths to dizzying heights.

and then...

2. ConstruKction Of Light

You would never know that Tony had not been a part of this recording and yet he put his own stamp on it at the same time, but, who would have expected less ?

3. Level Five

I noticed Adrian communicating with someone over my shoulder, without words.

It was Martha who was standing at the ready to deliver Adrian's "rock shoes".

Nope, not the familiar red ones, he must have worn those out. lol

Adrian paused the show for a shoe switch citing, "you can't do a rock show in brown shoes".

4. Neurotica

It was great to hear this one live.

5. Three of a Perfect Pair

I was singing the usual Tony part, although Tony was there but, I noticed the crowd was not.

6. Indiscipline

7. Frame By Frame

8. Dinosaur

9. One Time

Tickledrop was hoping for this one. (One Time)

10. Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream

11. B'boom

12. Elephant Talk

"Pinocchio Fingers", or is that "Viagra Fingers" is back !!!

13. Red

14. [drum duo]

15. Thela Hun Ginjeet

16. The Talking Drum

17. Larks' Tongues In Aspic II


18. Sleepless

Another welcomed return.

19. VROOOM/Coda:

Marine 475

Adrian Belew: guitar, vocal

Robert Fripp: guitar

Tony Levin: bass, stick, vocal

Pat Masteletto: drums, percussion, electronic percussion

Gavin Harrison: drums, percussion

The band set out to level the place and delivered.

The addition of Gavin working in concert with Pat, added a fresh coat of paint to the material.

Adrian was his usual animated, smiling stagemaster of ceremonies.

There was a few minor bobbles here and there, expected in warm up shows, that's what makes them special.

In fact, that's what makes Crim, Crim.

Occasionally, Tony didn't show up for a background vocal, he was so into his playing.

Adrian would give him a sideways glance like "where were you?", but, with a knowing grin.

That familiar grin.

Robert, had a few bobbles of his own but nothing major.

He had a permanent grin himself for the entire night.

Another review I read said that the clams prevented the music from ever taking flight, I must adamantly disagree with this assessment, they were in full flight.

I didn't hear anyone after the show that felt differently then I did about that.

Adrian was in his usual, awesome vocal form.

I did notice that he approached the high parts in Frame by Frame a little carefully the first time around but he went for it and, nailed it, when it rolled by the second round.

He played his silver Fly for the weekend with the tangerine/orange Fly at the ready for just in case.

I believe, if I am not mistaken, this was the coming out party for Adrian's new guitars in a Crimson setting.

They passed the audition with *Fly*ing colors.

The fellow to my right was quicker on the trigger and asked Tony for his set list.

I saw that in the bottom right corner it had a message which stated, paraphrased: If you stole this set list at a performance by King Crimson, please go to the lobby and purchase some merchandise. I wonder who's idea that was ? :-)

I got a set list for night two in the green room , which did not have this notice on it, In fact, I think Tony is holding the copy that I have in one of his photos.

But... night two is another story...The crowd had it's share of crossover fans from the Porcupine Tree camp, probably mutual fans, as evidenced by the T-shirt mix.

12th & Porter warm up T-shirts were also represented in the yellow and black versions.

Sid told me that he is jealous of those who attended those shows and that the audio from them is slated, at some point, for official release via download, it's just a matter of too much material and not enough time.

Merch, merch, merch...Lot's of stuff available at the mercantile, on night one I snagged the official tour T featuring art by P.J. Crook and the tour dates listed on the reverse.

I also picked up the "40th Anniversary Tour Box" which is audio only in a DVD case featuring a collection of snippets from over the years, a few gems included.

I realized later that the fellow who sold me my goods is the same fellow who sold me my goods at Porcupine Tree in Asheville, NC last fall.

At the end of both evenings, posters for the show(s) were handed out freely, on nice heavy stock with "SOLD OUT !!!"in bold red.

Being a bit on the hungry side, Tickledrop and meself wandered around the corner to Bosco's after hanging around outside The Belcourt for a bit.

We were seated right next to a group of tables put together for Adrian, Tony and respective families and crew types.

Adrian came over and joined us for some brief chat, that put a nice cap on the evening.

The food was good too.

I had black bean & goat cheese tamales. Yummmm.....

I made my way back to Franklin, noticing that my brakes were making a terrible metal to metal sound, I turned up the stereo, problem solved.

It was a wonderful first evening and I would say that King Crimson is off to a grand start for this new, albeit short, tour.

1 comment:

Patricia Fripp said...

Great to read your comments about my brother Robert Fripp and King Crimson.
Sorry I was not in Nashville. The Chicago shows at Park West were amazing! I was only there for two of the three and wish I could have gone to all the cities.

What you may not know is Robert is as good a public speaker as he is a guitarist.
Please spread the word about Robert Fripp’s public speaking events and
Robert Fripp spoken word CDs.

Robert Fripp speaking events in Seattle, LA, and Phoenix on November 8, 9, 11, 2008.

Robert Fripp CDs of his speaking events. You will hear his comments are brilliant, funny and poignant.

Thanks....Patricia Fripp.
The sister of Robert Fripp.