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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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Happy Birthday Peter
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sat., Dec 27, 2014
Please pour a convivial libation of your choice and raise your glass to Peter Sinfield who celebrates his birthday today.



Very best wishes to Peter!

Tony's Talk
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sat., Dec 27, 2014
There's an interview with Tony Levin where he discusses life with three drummers and his choice of bass in the new outfit. Read all about it here. 


Roll Your Own Waveforms
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sat., Dec 27, 2014
Singer songwriter Norman Lamont invites folks feeling the stress of the festive season to chill out a moment or two and roll your own waveforms. Norman writes " I thought visitors might be interested in playing with this generator for soundscapes (with a small ’s’)which I built many years ago. It’s very obviously and explicitly Fripp-inspired and he described it as ’lotsa fun’. I hope it gives pleasure to some of you and I would recommend it for stressed moments. It can give you a breathing space in the midst of it all. " Roll your own here. 


KChristmas Day With The Crims
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Dec 26, 2014
First up, Robert & a certain rabbit of this parish...





Robert writes "WillyFred would also like it to be known that his Christmas lunch was all that he hoped it to be...





The Old Goat himself...



Meanwhile on the other side of the pond, Trey Gunn tries on a T-shirt that confers instant Xmas spirit upon the wearer...



Elsewhere, looking remarkably sprightly for a man whose just notched up 41 gigs and 15, 000 miles on tour, Adrian Belew with added Xmas twinkle...



Early Samplers
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Dec 26, 2014
Some thoughts on those early sampler albums which included you know who. 


Merry KChristmas
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Dec 25, 2014
Seasonal greetings and best wishes from everyone in the DGMLive team to all our visitors. We’ve dusted off this Xmas offering created for us by a certain Jamie Muir!



Kchristmas Has Come Early
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., Dec 24, 2014
Christmas has come early for this person listening through to a test pressing of the forthcoming Live At The Orpheum.



This is the first new KC vinyl to sport a gatefold sleeve since Starless And Bible Black (excluding double LP compilations lest anyone be feeling pedantic).

Here's a shot of that interior gatefold plus a shot of the CD/DVD-A edition...





Happy Birthday Ade!
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Tue., Dec 23, 2014
Happy Birthday to Adrian Belew who is, according to his Facebook entry today, "65 going on 24."



Please pass on your birthday wishes and your favourite Ade moments in and out of Crimson over on the guestbook.

#KC2014 Samples Up
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Dec 22, 2014
You can hear some samples of the forthcoming Live At The Orpheum album over at iTunes at the moment.




You can order the album from Inner Knot and Burning Shed




New Theo Travis Album
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sun., Dec 21, 2014
Speaking to Prog magazine, Theo Travis has revealed details about his forthcoming solo album in 2015. Check out the mag's website for further details. 


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