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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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The Vicar's Power To Believe Speaking Tour
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Apr 13, 2015
DGM's David Singleton will be undertaking a series of speaking engagements in the USA later this month.

David Singleton, the music producer, has worked with some of the best British avant garde artists, including King Crimson, Robert Fripp & Brian Eno, David Sylvian and John Paul Jones. A leading innovator, he has been at the forefront of developments in music DVD, music downloads and high resolution surround sound, as well as the field of artists’ rights, for which DGM Ltd, the label he co-founded with Robert Fripp, is rightly feted.

His latest project, The Vicar, is the convergence of all that experience. It has been described as a “groundbreaking multimedia satire on the music industry”, a heady brew encompassing novels, graphic novels, videos, social media, and, of course, music.

Under the title, “The Power to Believe”, Singleton gives a unique insight into what it takes to change a dream into a reality – a fascinating ten-year journey of promises from the great and the good, false dawns, disillusionment and dogged determination. Almost as much intrigue as the stories themselves. An inspiring story for any of us who aspire to realise our own dreams, in whatever field.

Singleton will be in LA (18/19th Apr), Cambria (20/21), San Francisco (22), San Jose (23), and Seattle from the 28th. Venues and times will be posted shortly.



New Jamie Muir Gig For Download
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Apr 13, 2015
There's a new audience recording previously unavailable anywhere else of the Cross, Fripp, Wetton Bruford and Muir incarnation available for download.



In addition to this new archive recording, KC's Bremen Beat Club TV recording date and an audience tape from the line-up's penultimate concert at Rainbow theatre are also making their online debut.

Remix An ORK
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Apr 13, 2015
There's an opportunity to remix a track on an album featuring Pat Mastelotto  due out later this year by a new outfit called O.R.K. The new record is entitled  Inflamed Rides and is a project featuring multi-instrumentalist, Lorenzo Esposito (Obake & Berserk), guitar Carmelo Pipitone and Colin Edwin on bass. Pat contributed drums to the entire album last year following King Crimson's tour in the USA.



ORK are running a competition to include a track remixed by a member of the public. For full details of how enter or simply order the album, head over to their musicraiser page. You can take a listen to two tracks from the record, Pyre and Jellyfish.






Polygraph Talk
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Apr 9, 2015
Check out this new interview with Gavin Harrison talking about his latest solo album, Cheating The Polygraph and King Crimson. You can also check out the details on the album here. There's a Q&A video with Gavin and ex-Bruford Earthworks player Laurence Cottle, who provided the detailed brass arrangements on the album.


The Humans UK Tour
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., Apr 8, 2015
King Crimson's Bill Rieflin is working in the UK this month with his other band, The Humans.



The core trio consisting of Toyah Willcox, Chris Wong and Rieflin will be joined by returning Human, Igor Abuladze and Tim Rose, long-time member of Toyah's regular group.  For details of the six gigs the group will be playing check out Toyah's website.


Theo Wraps It Up
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., Apr 8, 2015
Theo Travis has finished work on his new solo album due to be released in July. You can read a short update about it here. Also worth looking at is
Theo's personal tribute to Daevid Allen, who died last month.


Cross & Stick Men In Japan
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., Apr 8, 2015
David Cross has joined Stick Men to play two gigs in Japan this week. The violinist joins Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto and Markus Reuter, bridging the gap between 70s, 80s and 90s Crim. Leonardo Pavkovic, from MoonJune Records posted this picture of the team as they go over logistics and setlists.











More Crimso For iTunes
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Tue., Apr 7, 2015
Four more albums by King Crimson are about to be released on iTunes later this month.








ITWOP, Lizard, Islands and Starless And Bible Black will be available for download from April 14th and are available for pre-order now.  These titles join ITOCTCK, LTIA, Red and Live At The Orpheum on the iTunes roster.



Crimso On BBC Six Music
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Tue., Apr 7, 2015
King Crimson and Islands got a special namecheck and shoutout on BBC6 Music yesterday.  The station’s output had been given over to The Unthanks, whose latest album, Mount the Air, has attracted  widespread critical acclaim.

Adrian McNally, pianist with the group introduced the track:  “This next piece, alongside Sketches Of Spain by Miles Davis and Gil Evans, has had more influence on me as an arranger and producer than any other, and also reveals the source of inspiration of our use of trumpet in The Unthanks. For most of my adult life this piece has been just a distant memory from childhood. I wasn’t even sure who it was by until I looked it up again recently.

All I could remember was the feeling it gave me, and now I realise that my limited armoury of tricks that relate to the impact of scale on the power and intimacy of music were all subconsciously learnt from this one piece. As an adult I can see its flaws but the best prog is full of flaws because the best prog was pushing boundaries, and if you’re pushing boundaries and not getting it wrong half the time, you’re not pushing hard enough. This is Islands by King Crimson...”

The programme then goes on to play the full track with Adrian adding afterwards, “Before we get any King Crimson aficionados regarding my comment about trumpet on that track, that was Mark Charig playing the cornet not the trumpet but did inspire us to use trumpet in The Unthanks which we’ve gone on to do.”  You can listen to the whole show here with the King Crimson section starting at around 01.09.34.

The band have previously covered Starless by King Crimson on their 2011 album, Last. You can read my take on the record over on the blog


This Just In From Reuter
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sun., Apr 5, 2015
Markus Reuter talks about his work including Stick Men and Crimson ProjeKCt in this new interview with Anil Prasad. 


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