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King Crimson Hyde Park 46 Years Ago Today
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sun., Jul 5, 2015

On this date 46 years ago, King Crimson supported The Rolling Stones at the now legendary free concert in Hyde Park. The concert was a crucial milestone for Crimson who at that point had played just 23 gigs.




When Crimson took to the stage they restricted themselves to a truncated set consisting of 21st Century Schizoid Man, In The Court Of The Crimson King, Get Thy Bearings, Epitaph, Mantra, Travel Weary Capricorn and Mars.  Dik Fraser recalls that during the opening number a large framed photograph of Brian Jones fell, almost catching Greg Lake. The bass player shrugged off the mishap, but several people backstage thought it was some kind of augury or supernatural manifestation.



It was a good day for Crimson, however. The newest member of the road crew, Richard Vickers (better known as Vick), recalled in his memoir of that period: "The high point of that gig was the whole audience rising to their feet as one and cheering Ian McDonald solo during ‘Schizoid’ — I remember the hairs on the back of my spine rising in unison as the roar from this huge crowd went up."

In the crowd stood Jamie Muir. Having only recently moved down from Edinburgh, the future Crimson percussionist was then playing with free improvisers such as John Stevens and Derek Bailey. He was impressed by the force Crimson created. "What was incredible was that they just exploded on to the scene fully matured. Most bands come along and then develop but Crimson just came on and exploded with this very adult, intelligent, cutting-edge music. It was just this whole package that went wallop!"

Fourteen-year-old Trevor Lever, attending his first concert, found Crimson perplexing.  "At one point I thought an orchestra was playing but through my binoculars saw only four blokes on the stage. ’Where’s the orchestra?’ I asked a mate. ’Dunno,’ was the informed reply. ’Who is this playing?’  I said to no-one in particular. ’King something,’ I was told.  I made a mental note to check this band out at a later stage."  It was the start of a love affair with Crimson which Lever — who has seen shows by every incarnation of the band — continues to this day.



Crimson finished as usual with “Mars” (complete with an air raid siren being cranked up from underneath the stage by Enthoven and Fraser).  Enthoven, celebrating his 25th birthday that day, regards this as the defining moment of the launch of King Crimson. McDonald agrees that it was the point at which Crimson arrived, but adds: "It would sound blasé to say that this was just another gig for us, though in a sense it was; we were having a great time discovering and enjoying our music, but we were also experienced enough individually not to be too greatly affected by any particular venue."




Sinfield was less than impressed with the set that day, feeling that the band was below par.  Lake disagrees: "It was the first open-air gig that Crimson played and to that extent it wasn’t as sonically controlled as the ones indoors. Pete didn’t have his lights to play with but it was an extraordinary show."  In his diary, Fripp noted: "Standing ovation. Mammoth success, of importance which will take time to appreciate. We’ll look back to see this day in years to come and fully realise its significance."

Lake observes: "I think that even if that Hyde Park thing hadn’t have happened, I don’t think it would have affected the popularity of King Crimson.  The band had spread like wildfire."

Certainly the next night when Crimson played their regular slot at The Marquee, the club was packed. Sinfield regards that gig as infinitely superior to Hyde Park. "The Marquee the next night.  NOW that was a humdinger!  Oh yes indeedy!"  McDonald in his diary notes that the band certainly picked up a few new admirers.  "Went to the Marquee. Did gig. Came back with nine chicks (!)"

Crimson continued to surf a wave of critical approval.  Richard Gott in The Guardian’s review of Hyde Park asserted: "Most of the music, with the exception of a sensational group called King Crimson, was indifferent." And B.P. Fallon in that week’s Melody Maker raved: "King Crimson are going to be giants. Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps. Give it a year and we’ll know. No dammit. Six months will do. Really..." 

A more considered verdict was delivered by Richard Gilbert in The Listener.  "King Crimson played again at the Rolling Stones concert in Hyde Park and their confidence in careering from the gritty to the lyrical won them a massive and deserved ovation... if their records can match their live performances they will survive all the bandwagon leaping." 

For years it was assumed that there was no footage of Crimson other than a brief glimpse of an off-stage Fripp peering at Mick Jagger through the potted plants on the Stones In The Park DVD. Minutes later, Fripp and other KC members were unceremoniously thrown out of the back stage area.



However a five-minute snippet was eventually surfaced and was included on the 2009  40th Anniversary Edition of In The Court Of The Crimson King (available from Inner Knot and Burning Shed)

You can watch it here.

The audience recording of the concert was officially released on CD as KCCC12 in 2002  and is also available as a download from this site.



Were you there at this concert? We’d love to hear from you if so. Get in touch via the guestbook and share you memories of this important concert in the KC calendar.


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Crimson's Canadian Sell-Out
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Jun 25, 2015
King Crimson’s two shows in Quebec have sold out and due to extra demand, a third date in Toronto has been added.



Here’s the full list of Canadian dates the band are undertaking in November.

Fri 13th Nov Quebec Palais Montcalm
Sat 14th Nov Quebec Palais Montcalm
Mon 16th Nov Montreal Theatre St. Denis
Tue 17th Nov  Montreal Theatre St. Denis
Thu 19th Nov Toronto Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Fri 20th Nov Toronto Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Sat 21st Nov Toronto Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Tue 24th Nov Calgary Jack Singer Concert Hall
Thu 26th Nov Vancouver Vogue Theatre
Fri 27th Nov Vancouver Vogue Theatre
Sun 29th Nov Victoria Royal Theatre
 

Happy Birthday Ian McDonald
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Jun 25, 2015
Very best wishes to Ian McDonald who celebrates his 69th year this very day. Though Ian is probably more widely known to the general public for his time as a member of Foreigner, it’s his crucial role and work in establishing King Crimson as a force to be reckoned with in 1969 which Crimheads around the world remember most fondly.





One Bad Apple?
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., Jun 24, 2015
Apple's much publicised about-face on paying royalties during the first three months of their new music streaming service looks like it might not be the compromise it was first thought to be. According to Digital Music News, it looks as though the rate they'll pay will be just one-fifth of a penny. Meanwhile, our thanks to Anil Prasad of Innerviews for providing this link to guitarist Aram Bajakia's take on the new service.  


Fripp In A Speedboat!
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Jun 22, 2015
That's the image beat combo, The Horrors had in mind to help them with their new album. Read more on this unusual attempt at creative visualisation here


Mister Stormy's Monday Selection
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Jun 22, 2015
Here's a very special selection from Mister Stormy - Robert, Trey and Adrian working on material that would turn up on The ConstruKction of Light back before the Double Trio split up. Check it out here!


Crimson Come To Canada
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Jun 22, 2015
Due to extra demand, a third date in Toronto has been added to King Crimson's Canadian jaunt.



The full dates for the Canadian tour are:

Fri 13th Nov Quebec Palais Montcalm
Sat 14th Nov Quebec Palais Montcalm
Mon 16th Nov Montreal Theatre St. Denis
Tue 17th Nov  Montreal Theatre St. Denis
Thu 19th Nov Toronto Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Fri 20th Nov Toronto Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Sat 21st Nov Toronto Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Tue 24th Nov Calgary Jack Singer Concert Hall
Thu 26th Nov Vancouver Vogue Theatre
Fri 27th Nov Vancouver Vogue Theatre
Sun 29th Nov Victoria Royal Theatre


Crimso At Friars
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Jun 22, 2015
34 years after they last appeared at the legendary Friars club in Aylesbury, King Crimson kick off their UK tour there. Their previous performance at Friars was in October 1981.



Crimson's connections to Friars go all the way back to 1969, and you can read about the club's Crimson-hued history here. There are still tickets for their two shows in Aylesbury available here.

A Swift Response To Swift's Response
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Jun 22, 2015
In the wake of protests and negative commentary from the indie label sector and high profile artists such as Taylor Swift, Apple have announced they will now pay artists during the three month trial period for their music streaming service. Catch-up on the latest developments here.


Swift Response
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sun., Jun 21, 2015
Having spoken out previously about the disadvantages of streaming, Taylor Swift comes out firmly against Apple's demand that musicians receive no royalties for three months.

We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.

Her open letter to the one of the most profitable companies on the face of the planet can be read here.


Crimson's Past, Present & Future
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Jun 19, 2015
So, when did you last hear Robert Fripp playing a Mellotron* during a King Crimson concert? If you didn't catch Crimson last year in America, then you would have had to been there in 1974 (in the USA) or 1973 (in the UK) to have heard those eerie tones.



You can hear the mighty 'tron in action when King Crimson embark on their UK tour in September - there are second nights with great seats available in Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh.

Then in November, the team go to Canada. Due to extra demand, a third date in Toronto has been added

Fri 13th Nov Quebec Palais Montcalm
Sat 14th Nov Quebec Palais Montcalm
Mon 16th Nov Montreal Theatre St. Denis
Tue 17th Nov  Montreal Theatre St. Denis
Thu 19th Nov Toronto Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Fri 20th Nov Toronto Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Sat 21st Nov Toronto Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Tue 24th Nov Calgary Jack Singer Concert Hall
Thu 26th Nov Vancouver Vogue Theatre
Fri 27th Nov Vancouver Vogue Theatre
Sun 29th Nov Victoria Royal Theatre



*Of course these days the Mellotrons come via Streetly Electronics' small but perfectly formed app. Triggered by a keyboard you'd be hard put to spot the difference between this state of the art version and the beasts of old. Or would you? Find out by catching Crimson live in the next few months.

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