Starlight From A Starless Night March 12, 2012
Written by chipster61
I wrote this gig review shortly after the March 4th show at Blueberry Hill. As for the recording, this along with the Belcourt show are my favorites from this tour. Also do not miss out on the soundscapes from Estonia later in August 2006, if you enjoy these.
I had my doubts about the way the evenings show would unfold due to several reasons. There was an hour and a half between doors opening and the scheduled start of the show. What would people do during this time frame sitting in a small basement that makes 12th & Porter, in Nashville, look like a concert hall? Why drink, speculate on the show and trade tales of King Crimson adventures of course.
When we handed over our tickets to be ripped, no mention was made of a ban on photography, smoking or recording. I didnít see any signs posted with any of these messages either. Yikes, this could be one short ugly evening if no one is delivering this message. As we entered the venue at 8:30 it was already a full and sold out looking house.
We made our way to the stage checking to see if any chairs were available. Of course they were all taken. This turned out to be okay. I propped myself up against a partition stage right being crowded out somewhat by a bevy of microphone stands. I then sat down after Robertsí guitar tech, John Sinks, had changed the screen saver from the photos to the abstract shapes, starting with the Apple logo.
Iím not sure what song was playing when Robert came out but I would have to guess that it was one of the new offerings by The Vicar. He set up a few chords without giving them volume until the song that was playing faded to the end.
The first soundscape started out very much like the newest Fripp & Eno CD. A very lush base of scapes topped with those sinewy guitar lines that are ever so subtle and alluring. This soundscape seemed to me to be kind of an introduction to the audience. "Hello, I am a soundscape, this is how the evenings bleeping and droning will unfold."
I was mildly distracted during this scape by the group of people seated in the second row next to me, who had just pushed their way back to thier seats with a pitcher of beer and several trays of food. They continued to guzzle and and gastrate throughout this first scape until they had cleared their plates. Yikes!
The first scape was washed away and the second one started with a deeper tone and seemed much more ominous. One of the gastro gang then had to excuse herself because she was having difficulty with the music. Good for her, and great decision in spotting onesí ability to participate.
The third soundscape hit the middle ground between the intenseness of the first two. I call this one the brain eraser. Only because I canít remember how this one was built up. I do remember hearing several other occurrences in the room though during this one. Somewhere during this one, I became aware of the bar cash register adding itís own loop to the performance. It had a steady mechanical staccato 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, stop and then repeat the loop. This cycled on for what seemed like several minutes to me and I was actually enjoying it! Then there was the sound of a shattered glass not unlike the sample that Adrian used on his v-drums during ProjeKct Two.
It was the perfect sound of a shattering glass; which fell landing flush on the concrete floor of the room. Again I think itís interesting that I can recall more clearly the cash register and the shattered glass. Was I not fully listening to the soundscape? Or was my attention so enhanced by them that I was able to appreciate the ambiance of the room? It was something that I havenít noticed or experienced while listening to recordings of soundscapes.
My trepidation of the audience turned out to be totally unfounded. There was no hooting and hollering or song requests being shouted out, no photography or requests for autographs that I was aware of.
End section one soundscapes, begin Words.
Robert began by reading aloud the Music section of the Riverfront Times. After reading the name of each performer or other option for an evening out, he would scold the audience asking, "What are you doing here?" He then turned to the Savage Love advice column and read the trials of a poor young girl whoís boyfriend has her at the bottom of his priority list. Going so far as to getting angry and stopping if she so much as wanted to change positions during intercourse. Instead having to pretend it doesnít hurt to have her legs pushed so far back they pop out of her hip sockets. Robert concurred with the advice offered by Savage with the handy acronym DTMFA; which stands for "dump the mother fu**er already."
He then stated the ground rules for anyone asking a question, this while waving off several attempts by people anxious to jump right in and ask one. The first questioner, I believe, asked Robert what his favorite question to be asked was? After coughing up $20 for the answer, Robert replied that he didnít have a favorite question followed by rolling laughter from the crowd. Qualifying that by saying, any question that is a "burning" need to know question was his favorite type of question.
A few questions later someone asked if he would play Starless or any other King Crimson songs tonight. He stated that he would not, but asked what it would be worth to hear the guitar lines of Starless? The figure of $100 was settled on pretty quickly and a woman approached the stage placing $100 in bills there. I thought that Fripp was bluffing the whole time, but he actually walked back, picked up his guitar, laid down some scapes and then played the lead guitar theme from Starless!
In my estimation that was worth much more than a simple $100, and I was very surprised that Robert responded in this way. Although this was my first live soundscapes performance; I have never heard of him responding to requests in this manner before. This was nearly the highlight of the night, setting the stage for what was the highlight.
After a few more questions Robert asked if Bill Murphy was present. Bill has been recently posting some of his interviews with King Crimson alumnae at the projekction website. Robert asked Bill if he had any questions. Bill said that he thought theyíd been answered, but wondered what Robert missed most while he was on the road touring. Roberts response, from the heart, was that he missed his wife. He stated that it is like having half your heart removed while being away from her. The Word session ended here and there was a short break before resuming soundscapes.
The next soundscape was the most touching to me. It had a wonderful buildup and then had the loud guitar lines come randomly in over the soothing base of sound. These are very powerful and resonate with me quite a bit for some reason. As this one was ending and he was making a transition to the final scape of the night, Robert began to look puzzled. He checked dials, kicked buttons and pedals, but still a look of bewilderment came over him. There was some laughter and light applause from the audience which he tried to motion away and then exclaimed that "This is not possible. This canít be happening, but letís go with it." The soundscape and guitar lines that he performed for the $100 earlier during the Q&A was back in the Solar Voyager II. The final soundscape of the night was Starless and Robert stuck with that theme building on it and letting it wash through the room. Unbelievable!
After taking final bows and leaving the stage to a most appreciative audience, one of the remaining salvageable tracks from ProjeKct Six was played in full as the exit music. The music sounded like a combination of soundscapes, the ConstruKction of Light and ProjeKct Two v-drums. It sounded to be something much more than the sum of those parts, however.
I pray that this show gets posted to DGMLive! and made available for download. Great stuff! Very enjoyable, memorable and momentous night. Thank you!
I found my thrill December 9, 2008
Written by DeVito
OK, SoundScapes are beautiful and deep, mysterious and melancholy, atmospheric and soul-stirring and all that. But this concert shows they can be buckets of fun, too, in their own way. Frippís got an odd sense of humor (or humour) and probably wonít admit it, but itís all over the place here. I think he found his thrill at Blueberry Hill. --Chris DeVito
I was There, I am Here December 12, 2006
Written by professionalhumanbeing
I brought MY Slinky Minx Nora to this show. He made her blush reading some steamy "Savage Love" letters at set break. She is one the many lady/women there that night, there to witness me in the rush of Love seated directly in front of RF (as I was first in line, having waited four hours to be so.) I heard the acual acoustic thwack of plectrum against stainless steel, and the clicks of the Bradshaw buttons, the squeaks of the Roland volume pedals and the stool as he played. I, too sat in relaxed state, eyes half closed as this nightís stupendous, magickal, blissful, beautiful sounds tremlbed, sailed and wobbled their way into my soul as well. I, too, teared up at RFís comments about T. Someday these talks from this tour will perhaps be shared, but for now. no. I was There. I am Here.
Very Good November 26, 2006
Written by millingt
The Starlight pieces are really, reallly, quite good. Just an old guy on a stool with a guitar. Pretty impressive.
As Beautiful Now As It Was When We Were There -- Exquisite Music Played With Heart and Mind in Sync September 23, 2006
Written by LTinAspic
The first thing Iíd like to say is that my wife, Elisabeth, and I were there the night Robert played this exceptionally moving piece of music. In fact, it was I who provided the "accompanying cash bribe" that convinced Robert to play the two "Starlight" pieces.
Everything about that evening was magical. We sat in the front, not more than 6-7 feet from Robert during his Q&A session. We asked him a question the answer to which filled our eyes with tears. I always suspected Robert had very deep feelings, but my question proved it.
And so did his glorious music.
Soundscapes are extremely emotional! They wash over me in waves, especially this one from March 04, 2006 Blueberry Hill in St. Louis, Missouri. Elisabeth and I drove hundreds of miles (from Michigan) to be there and we were thrilled from the first notes Robert played. I remember looking at my wife during this performance and seeing her mouth open wide in complete awe. She, too, was bowled over by not only the technical virtuosity but also by the raw emotion these compositions elicited.
Itís very difficult to pick one of these pieces that means more to me than another. They seem to be taken in as a whole in my mind. "Starlight" and "Starlight II," of course, are my favorites because I "paid for" them that night. But the entire concert was a joy to experience.
And "experience" is the proper word, for Soundscapes arenít necessarily for the eyes. After all, itís just Robert sitting with his guitar in front of a stack of gizmos. Whatís to see? No, the best way to experience a Soundscape performance is with eyes closed, allowing the music to enter in and stir the soul.
That said, I will admit "At the End of Time" contains some powerful, lush-sounding string passages that are incredibly moving. I think it was at this point in the performance -- roughly half-way through -- that we felt the most emotional. Such beautiful music! It transcends mere words.
But as moving as "At the End of Time" was (and still is), "Starlight II" is another animal entirely. Itís quite possibly one of the most beautiful passages of music Iíve ever heard.
And to think it exists almost as a fluke. Robert was as surprised as his audience was when the melody to "Starless" emerged from his equipment when, as he put it, "This shouldnít be happening." Somehow, the noodling from "Starlight" was still recorded and it came out during his encore. In full improvisational mode, Robert went with it...and "Starlight II" emerged just as you hear it. Breathtaking.
Thank you so much, Robert, for making Blueberry Hill available to everyone. Hearing it again allows us to relive the evening. (Iím listening to it now as a fairly heavy rain falls outside my windows, mingling with the lushness of the Soundscape to create a wholly new listening experience. John Cage was right!)
Iíd love to hear the Q&A sessions as downloads. Those are as engaging as the Soundscapes themselves. Robert is extremely witty and entertaining when he chats with his audiences and it would be fun to hear that banter again.
All in all, if you only download a couple of Soundscapes, please make sure this is one of them. Itís truly an experience of sound and emotion that will stick with you a long, long time.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Delightful August 12, 2006
Written by millingt
The Starlight pieces are some of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard. And dont forget Time Stands Still. Highly recommended.
Contrasts complete the picture June 13, 2006
Written by opusposthum
Beautiful, and of some significance because of the graceful allusions to by-gone years (how much for íFractureí indeed, venal gigster!). Thereís a bit more of what I would term ífear and tremblingí in this performance, which leads me to recommend this as a download along with the Atlanta soundscapes, which are drenched in a beautiful melancholy that can only be suitably complementary. The recording quality can only be described as stupendous. Many thanks and to all you others, buy and enjoy!
Placid and Pristine June 7, 2006
Written by jimmator
Thank you, those of you responsible at DGM, for embracing the FLAC format! Not only am I very satisfied with this placid and contemplative performance, but I am also thrilled by pristine sound that has been delivered via FLAC from the original live digital recording.
Being currently unable to attend any of these shows, I am also very grateful for the speed at which they are being made available online. The site in general allows me to to feel as if Iím on the road with the crew (without having to deal with any unpleasant accommodation issues!)
Mr Fripp: Thank you for providing such a unique and gratifying service to your fans.
Prospective downloaders: if you havenít embraced FLAC yet, do! You can always convert them to MP3 if you absolutely insist. Settling for a lossy representation of the audio when the artist is providing such a high-quality direct digital recording borders on masochism.
stellar June 7, 2006
Written by rfwhitman
Overall this Soundscapes performance is the most seamless I have listened to. The musical thoughts and emotions move in and through seemingly on a path of intention. Beautiful, enrapturing, transporting music.
The Starless melody in this context or in its original setting is where words fail. As Elvis Costello said, "writing about music is like dancing about architecture."
But saying it as best I can, the Starless melody is an especially articulate and long-resonating sentence, in a language made of emotion, time, number and audible vibration, and it retains all that in a Soundscape performance.
Thereís not much else I can say that other reviewers havenít said, or that the music itself doesnít say better.
Wow June 6, 2006
Written by pyython
Upon first listen, in a dimly lit living room, after a glass of wine, all I can say is Wow! Outstanding from beginning to end. Time Stands Still brings you in, At The End of Time causes a myriad of emotions, then the intro of Starlight. Simply startling and "cool". The "Starless/Starlight" piece is, to me, simply this: the guitar notes of Starless are only a stepping stone for a fantastic and emotive soundscape. Once the piece develops, there is no real association with the original song, but an experience of listening to a wonderful and satisfying piece. This is an outstanding conclusion to an quality listen.
A "lost" hour with a satisfying and complete soundscape.
Iím sure it was truly a memorable experience being there, but, for me, it was no less memorable on my first listen.
Wow! Thank you! June 6, 2006
Written by FrankP
I was at this show and I wonít soon forget it. For me, it was "one of those nights". I still think about it months later. I could go into all of the different ways it was personally significant to me but Iíd just sound like a twit. Hopefully, this recording will have some significance to you.
Thanks for the sonic photo album. Canít wait to walk down memory lane!
robert fripp June 6, 2006
Written by corazon
robert, iíam very happy, thanks for the music in my heart.
From the lady in the Wonderful Red Hat June 6, 2006
Written by bendonna
Thank you so much for putting the St. Louis show as a download. The show was fabulous and listening to it tonight brought back memories I will never forget. What a lovey and intimate setting for such a well behaved audience. I enjoyed setting the bids during your reading of the local newspaper. I hope you took your lovely wife out for a wonderful dinner.
My husband and I were celebrating our 10th Anniversary and your show was the cherry on top of a fabulous weekend. We hope to hear and see you again soon. Next time weíll make sure you are in a better hotel with great internet connection and a fabulous meal.
And to your wife you spoke so affectionately about...thank you so much for sharing your husband with us; for us it was time very well spent.
Donna and Ben Raskin
Audio Source: Direct Hard Drive
DGM Audio Quality Rating:
Average Customer Rating:
Submit a Review
This show's fan reviews
This show's band diaries
This show's press clippings