The Waiting June 17, 2006
Written by ModernKaveman
When I first heard that Robert Fripp was coming to the Belcourt Theatre, I was delighted! I have witnessed Robert in the context of King Crimson, but this was a first time to see him live by himself. The advertisements billed the show only as “Robert Fripp.” There was no mention of Soundscapes or anything else, so who knew what to expect? Thinking that Adrian Belew happens to live in the area, maybe he would join Robert at some point on stage? Adrian did show up, but the stage was all Fripp’s.
I arrived at the Belcourt thirty minutes before the performance with my uninitiated girlfriend. She had heard some of my King Crimson and Fripp Soundscapes albums and enjoyed them, so she was willing to accompany me to this show. The Belcourt is, I believe, an old movie theatre with three screens that they have converted to areas that can accommodate movies, musical performances, theatre performances, etc. This night it was Robert Fripp in the main theatre! As I entered the old theatre I was quickly reminded, kind of like a déjà vu experience, of seeing King Crimson at the Barrymore in Madison, Wisconsin in 2001. But instead of seeing drums, Warr guitars, monitors, guitars galore on stage this time, it was simply two guitars, a big black box with lights and knobs, a stool, foot pedals and effects a-plenty and a screen with a slideshow presentation of what appeared to be “Fripp and Friends Through the Years.” Many of the photos I recognized from the DGM website and various King Crimson album liners. I did not recognize the music that was playing as I entered, just like at the Barrymore.
We finally settled down in our seats and I tried to relax and get ready for a performance while also taking in the photos and music playing. The girlfriend had not seen me in a while so she wanted to use this time to “catch-up.” And being the good boyfriend I am, I allowed her, but I feel that this distraction lessened my preparedness as to what was about to happen on stage.
Robert took the stage promptly at 7:30pm. The slide show was stopped and the iTunes special effects were turned on and we were on our way. Threshold Bells ushers in on the path that Robert wishes to take us on. What seemed like a gentle guiding by the hand in the beginning became more like tugging and pulling the further we went in the first set. I could not help to keep my eyes on Fripp the whole time. He seemed to start one idea and then quickly abandon it for a different direction. I thought I saw frustration on his face. By the end of the set I felt that Fripp was having an “off” night. I wonder if he felt the same.
After the first set, Fripp opened the floor for “burning questions.” I raised my hand and was called upon, though I almost did not get to ask my question because someone in the audience took a flash photo right before I was about to speak. Robert kindly answered my question and even ended with “Did that answer your question?” showing that he truly cared that I understood what he was explaining. Also during the Q&A, Fripp occasionally stopped on photos in his slideshow to talk about what the photo meant to him. We took an intermission after the Q&A where were invited to go to the theatre next door to watch “The Godfather” if we did not want to hear anymore Soundscapes. Even though having an uneasy feeling about the first set, I stuck around to see what might transpire in the second set.
The second set was… what can I say? Wonderful…. Blissful comes to mind. What fell short for me in the first set did a 180 degree turn in the second set. And it looked like Robert was satisfied too. The Muse had shown up. Was it worth the wait? Yes!
So now here this show is in its entirety (minus the Q&A) to download. So I suppose you would think that I would suggest that you take Threshold Suspence to the end and dismiss the rest? No. Take it all. Like life, to experience it to its fullest, you must take it all in. So to listen to only half of these tracks is not to experience the full satisfaction of this set of Soundscapes. Perhaps you will find them all satisfying. Perhaps you won’t find any of it satisfying. Or perhaps you will find them like me and see that it was all worth it in the end. Thank you Robert for playing in Nashville (please come back soon!) and thanks for releasing this show on DGM Live!
Serenity April 26, 2006
Written by vargan
In a word, the Belcourt abduction is quite ‘delightful’, in particular, a very persuasive ‘At the End of Time’; the new essence of ‘Reverie’ holds true to its name, as it sabotages my efforts to complete the simplest of tasks. I find myself sitting down and wandering off in a nebula of thoughts. It’s amazing how this entity called soundscapes can once again carry off this listener so unsuspectedly into the realm where ‘Time Stands Still’.
I recommend this performance for any soundscapes connoisseur.
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