Arguably the best King Crimson show I've seen July 8, 2010
Written by ssmith66
Went into this concert expecting adventure and bonhomie, and was utterly floored by the energy, good humor and go-for-broke spirit on offer. In terms of those qualities, and also with regard to the extensiveness and high quality of the improvisations, at the time I ranked this the best King Crimson live experience Iíd ever had. (Granted, I only saw the í80s foursome once, fairly early.) With the possible exception of a Double Duo gig at the Supper Club, that estimation still stands.
Just to set the record straight, the "youíre an idiot!" exclamation was categorically NOT launched toward the band, but toward a Staggering Drunk of Extraordinary Loutishness who was stumbling about the floor on the Trey-hand side of the house, lurching into my friends and myself (and, incidentally, the reviewer from The New York Times) and generally causing an unpleasant and malodorous commotion throughout. I didnít see from whence the offending call came, but wholeheartedly sympathized.
I want to rock out, you guys! July 5, 2010
Written by TheDorkReport
Many thanks to everyone at DGM for posting this show! This is the first of the many, many King Crimson related gigs Iíve attended to make it on to DGMLive. I managed to find the personal review I wrote for my proto-blog back in 1998:
An anecdotal review of Projekct Twoís first of two gigs at New York Cityís Irving Plaza on 6 May 1998.
How My Buddy Bill Gates Got Me Front-Row Tickets
Well, not really. But Sidewalk.com did advise gravitating towards stage left when attending a show at Irving Plaza. What good advice it was, for I found myself standing directly in front of the stage, literally at Robert Frippís feet (such a sycophant am I). Between Sidewalk.com and Ticketmaster.com, I came to this music through organizations "founded on exploitation, oiled by deceit, riven with theft and fueled by greed" (to recontextualize Fripp). I hope my tainted (and expensive) presence did not corrupt the event as would a recording device, a flash photograph or still more shouts of "Bruford!" and "Bobby!"
Believe it or not, I actually wish I had not been so physically close to Robert. When I attended a Bottom Line Soundscapes concert last winter, I was struck by how little there was to "see," and spent much of the time with eyes wide shut, pondering Robertís attitudes towards the artist/audient behavior relationship. The point of my presence, I realized, was not to eak minor enjoyment from fleeting facial expressions or occasional deft finger motions, but to witness spontaneous composition. At Irving Plaza, I found my eyes, and my ears along with them, distracted by Robertís operation of his equipment and foot pedals. His technique is certainly very interesting, but isnít the point. Eventually, I was able to settle into an equal appreciation of the technical and the artistic sides of Robertís playing. He seems to make a point of disassociating himself from the audience when playing and considering what to play next, leaving the eye contact until intermission and conclusion. A very noble, bold sacrifice, but as a side effect, it makes the other two guys a whole lot more fun to watch.
The Other Two Guys
Trey Gunn finally gets to step out in a Crimson context, after hiding his ego and playing a supporting role in two full-scale KC tours. For those in the know, his solo projects and tour prove him to be the real funk in the Thrak album, and now heís finally overtly sharing some spotlight. Nobody doubts Adrian Belew is brimming over with all sorts of talents, but sometimes his enthusiasm gets the better of him. Just as Thrakattack is replete with Adrian the Perpetual Motion Machine, his sledgehammer drumming in Projekct Two is talented but ingratiating. Odd that Robert has long and infamously sparred with Bill Bruford over the propriety of the drummerís role in an ensemble but allows Adrian to saturate Projekct Two with percussive noise. Perhaps Robertís newfound leniency is due at least in part to the mysterious nature of improvisation.
The Mysterious Nature of Improvisation Revealed
In a sweaty, panting break between numbers, Adrian leaned over to Robert and asked "Do you two want to start without me?" to which he shrugged and responded "I donít know what weíre doing!" Demystifying, yes? At another moment, an elated Robert announced to Adrian "I want to rock out," and then repeated to the crowd "I want to rock out, you guys!" We responded with enthusiasm.
Mid-way into the second set, Trey began triggering vocal samples with his Warr Guitar. The effect was really creepy and atmospheric, far more serious than the gothic fun that preceded it. Almost immediately, however, an unseen member of the audience shouted out "Youíre an idiot!," presumably towards the band. I detected no discernible reaction from Trey or Robert, but Iím sure I saw Adrianís face fall. Despite the heckling, this piece turned out to be the high point of the evening for me. More so than with any other number that night, Projekct Two achieved a real emotional context. The talking Warr Guitar was indeed very eerie, but it was mainly Treyís impassioned (and thankfully extended) solo that leant the piece a bittersweet earnestness I donít know Iíve heard in Crimson before.
The Crimson Equation
How will Projekct Two relate to the larger Crimson, if at all? The most popular way of describing the new music seems to be to equate it with jazz. But, other than experimenting with small group improvisation, is the jazz equation really appropriate? Invoking the jazz genre calls to mind particular instrumentation, styles, key heroes, and a complex history. I feel Projekct Two is better described as avant-garde rock.
How can anyone call Robert Fripp a bloodsucking money-grubber when we repeatedly and earnestly offering up our veins? I offered up 15 of mine for a copy of Space Groove after the show, entirely unable to resist taking home some kind of aural keepsake to forever associate with the experience. The merchandise table featured a cameo appearance by Tony Geballe, knowingly asking "Do you have Native of the Rain?"
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