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Keeping the Kanye
:: Posted by emory0 on August 11, 2014

"The phone and taping issue really depends on the performer."

Definitely agreed. But I think some years back (was it on ET?) there was some vigorous discussion on whether a performer "should" be able to handle some of those distractions. And one of the conclusions reached therein was, "Perhaps, but we can’t EXPECT this from Performer X". Whether a specific performer’s music is important or worthwhile is a different issue from whether they can overcome bullshit within the context of public performance. Keith Jarrett, for instance, isn’t in the category of "showman" to the point where he could (or would!) work past repeated flash photography. And perhaps if he was able to then the music he would make would be different from the music Keith Jarrett actually makes in concert. Likewise for Fripp.

Holding the Kanye
:: Posted by albemuth on August 11, 2014

The phone and taping issue really depends on the performer.  I went to see Kanye West on his Yeezus tour and there was nothing the crowd could do to hold that man down!  He just feeds on the attention, probably sucking the energy out of all those cell phones!  Say what you will about Kanye and his ego, it was one of the more enjoyable concerts I’ve been to in recent decades.  Not a worry crossed my mind and I enjoyed the silly kids (as they enjoyed seeing an old geezer like me).  I even got to hear a little King Crimson with thousands of cell phones recording (the sample in "Power"). 

In any case, remember Walter Benjamin: "Do not build on the good old days but the bad new ones."

Holding the corner...
:: Posted by emory0 on August 11, 2014

"Then I thought long and hard about the choices I had: I could spend ~ $100 dollars per seat and never really enjoy the event or worst, feel ill about seeing others violate the event as it unfolded."

I dunno...I don’t agree with this philosophy. Oh, I do understand it: I go to very few rock "shows" these days because rock fans seem to think they are at a sporting event. I NEVER see flash photography at BAM or the Met. (Though at Barbican a few years ago one guy was taking constant flash photos while Sonny Rollins was playing, so I pointed him out to security.)

BUT, for a few really great bands (like Crimson, of course, or Tinariwen which I saw at Webster Hall a few years back), isn’t it important for some of us with high-quality listening chops to attend and focus on the music, or at least await it’s arrival? Perhaps I’m asking too much for someone to pay $100 for the privilege of hoping something great will happen, but on the other hand if we don’t go it definitely won’t happen.

But I think that a sufficient critical mass of listening can overwhelm the radial forces seeking to push the event into becoming a spectator sport. We shouldn’t just throw up our hands and turn away.

By the way, for many years I have felt that my attendance at a good musical event makes it ever-so-slightly better. Yeah, that’s right I said it: For difficult music I even do ’homework’ for a couple of evenings beforehand, listening to music that requires forcing yourself to focus and tune out distractions.

A Concert Goers Lament
:: Posted by RickyM on August 10, 2014

Over the many years I’ve seen every KC Line-up in concert save one: The short existing ’Muir" Quintet. In fact, the last show I attended was the last performance of KC in 2008 (last night at the Nokia in NYC) - which by all accounts, I figured would be the final statement of live KC ever made (so much for expectations and future-gazing).

However, since roughly 1996, the concert going experience, for me personally, regardless of announcements in multiple languages, posted signs of no photography, turn off your cellphone, and no recording, etc., has been a sad experience where I usually cannot enjoy or experience a once in a moment live performance as music might go flying by. And if it does, I’m not available to it and it seem to go unheeded by the general audience attending these events.

There’s been so many violations of my personal space as well as my partner and, to me, that of the performer’s “performance”, that I have a hard time thinking of the “good old days” in concert settings (prior to digital devices, etc). Some of these infractions have even been documented in the guest book pages by me or by RF (based on a note written re: some violation in the venue or some failed attempt to stop pirating of a show (see TLA in Philly 2000, or Beacon Theater, NYC 2003), or having a drink spilled on my wife, or the venue’s security turning a blind eye to “active” recording without permission even when they are standing feet away from posted signs stating as much.

In 2005 I was asked to assist as a “four quarter maintainer” in Cincinnati for a an RF Soundscape performance (opening for Porcupine Tree). While the music was trying to lift off, I can’t count the number of people who were trying to gain access to the performers throughout the event (including during the performance).

One of the last enjoyable KC/RF performances I can happily say were enjoyed w/o the disturbance of “our experience” during the performance was in 1995 (Springfield Mass), or 1997 & 2000 (WTC, NYC).

Of course, in the 1970s/early 1980s, I unknowingly did my share of violating KC concerts, taking pictures at shows (Painters Mills Md 1974, Asbury Park NJ, 1973, even taping a Tower Theater, Pa, 1981 show). I even tried to absolve my misdemeanors by sending these to DGM (see Road to Red notes) so they can be added to the archives.

When tickets went on sale for the 2014 KC tour, I knew I would be in or near Albany NY or some place on the east coast. Then I thought long and hard about the choices I had: I could spend ~ $100 dollars per seat and never really enjoy the event or worst, feel ill about seeing others violate the event as it unfolded. Or, I could not attend and let this pass. Perhaps wait for an “official” release and listen to the performance well after the fact. I choose the later.

Friday, I officially booked travel to the east coast on business, which puts me in Albany NY the week of Sept 8th. I will be within a mile or two and will be cheering from the side-lines of those concert goers - but also sending my thoughts to the events both nights in hopes that the audience will refrain from taping, photography and the like and honor the wishes of the performers. And, heck, maybe something magical might even happen, just like the Fillmore in NYC in 1969.


A Paradox of Tears
:: Posted by davidly on August 10, 2014

ABoT quickly became my favorite soundscapes’ album, downright magical, best cover of the lot still.  I’m not one to hold on to claims of all-time faves, but it wouldn’t be a stretch if one were to say this one is mine - with the enigmatic exeption that it is not to the exclusion of others.

Like the first live performance I got to attend without the backdrop of G3 fans demanding that the real show begin, for example:

Yet, after 3x6 years, A Blessing of Tears feels definitive somehow.

No phone, no problem
:: Posted by toycritic on August 10, 2014

I never take a cell phone to a concert. I leave it at home, along with my cameras. Back in the day, I would bring a cassette recorder because I loved certain artists so much, I wanted to preserve the gigs. But using and concealing the device made me tense, and I wanted to experience music in the moment, so I stopped. This was perhaps a decade before cell phone ownership became universal.

:: Posted by bloggulator on August 09, 2014

Albemuth said:
"When it comes to distractions and phones, every artist is different. I feel most comfortable with artists who don’t care about phones and photos. This is NOT because I take pictures or make recordings. It is simply because I don’t like having to worry that the show can crash at any moment."

* * * *

This comment has crystallized an issue I have now had for many years regarding (specifically) King Crimson concerts. Having the knowledge and awareness of R.F.’s intense and most widely publicized aversion to cellphones, cameras and video "taping" at (KC) shows, (and the emphasis on security pertaining to the above), it is now impossible for this audient to experience a (KC) show in the way that is intended - i.e. to listen to and absorb the music on a level that both performer and listener would wish for and/or hope.

This situation is a one-way ratchet; It is impossible to unlearn what has been written about, so often, in the last two decades: the distinct possibility that a photographer can cause so much disruption with a single flash - or even without it. The last few times I have seen KC live (1995, 1999, 2001 and 2003), despite the strength of the music on each occasion, I was constantly distracted by the gnawing feeling that the fate of the concert lay in the hands of someone with a camera. Today, with the proliferation of, and obsession for, handheld digital devices, the level of potential hindrance (for this listener at least) is now too much to permit the untrammeled flow of musical energy from the stage - and the reciprocated appreciation back from listener back to the stage, which is *mandatory* for the successful delivery and absorption of the creative and artistic flow.... ie the entire purpose of a musical event!

It would be wonderful if it were possible for me to attend a future KC concert (such as in LA this fall) minus this "excess baggage". Unfortunately, the toothpaste is out of the tube. The horse bolted the stable a long time ago. I guess the fault is only mine.

Just for the record, in almost 45 years of attending concerts, I have never taken a picture.


:: Posted by DannyX on August 09, 2014

I promise to abide by the rules...unless they play "Do you feel like we do?". Fripp with a talkbox would be too much to pass up.

Alive indeed!
:: Posted by albemuth on August 08, 2014

I feel that Frampton did the right thing by "sending the message."  Incidentally, many of us probably agree that Frampton is a good player.  I like his version of Thelonius Monk’s song "Work" particularly.

When it comes to distractions and phones, every artist is different.  I feel most comfortable with artists who don’t care about phones and photos.  This is NOT because I take pictures or make recordings.  It is simply because I don’t like having to worry that the show can crash at any moment. 

The problem is not only about intellectual property.  It also seems to be that every artist’s nervous system is different regarding the conditions they need for concentration and focus. 

I am a teacher and, oddly enough, have found that one of my weaknesses (or, at any rate, "the way I am") is that I’m interrupted and disturbed by all kinds of little sounds and happenings: people fumbling with the phones, their book bags, people crinkling bags and unscrewing bottle caps, and so on.  I usually try to "suck it up" as part of my job (I am a teacher and not a fine artist) but, as I get older, am more apt to get overloaded with unwelcome input.  Sometimes I ask students to cut down on this or that behavior.  They almost always are surprised that I would bring up such things, even when students around them clearly are distracted also. 

The bottom line is that I will do (or not do) whatever Uncle Bob wants me to do (or not do) at his shows or at KC shows.  Sign the pledge, KC people!

Frampton Comes ALIVE!
:: Posted by nungboy on August 08, 2014

Peter Frampton was playing a concert the other night and apparently a couple came late to the show and sat in the first row. They must have missed the announcement about no flash photography so they snapped away on their phone. Frampton motioned several times for them to stop but they didn’t. At the end of the song he walked up to them with a big smile and asked to see the photos...he promptly hurled the phone towards the rafters! Now that is an artist taking control of things! Perhaps Mr. Fripp might include that possibility in the pre-show announcements for the fall tour?

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