A Family Affair
We planned our family vacation to coincide with King Crimson. Stockholm is possibly the most gorgeous city I’ve visited. “Islands join hands” surrounded by clear waters. Colorful, clean and artsy. Even the grotto-like subway stops are filled with art.
My Drumson Andrew and I purchased Royal Packages for July 6th and 8th. My wife Peggy asked why we don’t bring her to Crimson shows, so all four of us, including my 16-year-old daughter Alice, got seats five rows up. The venue Cirkus is small, which makes the concert more intimate. It is located in the gorgeous, green Skansen area. We usually sit up front, but the sound from this position was great. We watched the entire band without constantly pivoting our heads.
The behavior of this audience led me to wonder if Scandinavian audients are more respectful than US ones…except for the Drunken Oafs in front of us who chatted with each other during the music, recorded audio and snuck pictures. I warned them not to do so, but they continued. Many were distracted and annoyed. Crim’s no-photography rule makes so much sense. “Use your eyes to viddy” as Fripp says... stay in the moment.
The opening Drumsons trio acted like “Talking Drum” as it led into a shortened version of LTIA 1. What a fine way to open sets when you have three virtuoso percussionists. Cheers to Pat Mastelotto, Jeremy Stacy and Gavin Harrison! By the way, the new kick drum heads look fantastic (thanks to Francesca Sundsten).
I used to think “Suitable Grounds for the Blues” was dull, but it isn’t now.
“Moonchild” with the Jeremy and Tony cadenzas was beautiful. Jeremy’s keyboard contributions are outstanding, possibly channeling Tippett.
Mel adds so much energy and warmth. The original versions of “Level Five”, “Neurotica”, “Discipline/Indiscipline”, “LTIA 4” seem a bit cold now.
There were technical problems with Jakko’s guitar on “Cirkus”, but the Eight-Headed Beast forged ahead. With so many eminent musicians to watch, it was easy to ignore the two techs scrambling on stage for a few minutes.
Then…a nearly-complete side two of “Lizard”, one of my favorite Crim LPs. The “Bolero” section was added on this tour, and it is remarkable! Next was “Islands” which brought tears once again. Jakko conveys emotions so deeply. The set-ender LTIA 2 blew us away. My wife and daughter quite enjoyed this!
Set two started with another Drumsons leading into “Discipline” (the guitar interplay is exquisite) and a real frantic “Neurotica” (Tony’s bass is high in the mix…a good thing). “One More Red Nightmare” into “LTIA 4”...Holy Moly! “Easy Money” is now a vehicle for lots of improvisation. King Crimson still takes chances! Jakko is over the top on this one.
I think the “Radical Action Suite” is this Crim’s signature piece. “Rad 1, Rad 3, Meltdown, Rad 2, Level 5”. The encore was ”Starless”, another weeper with Fripp’s ecstatic playing! Our only disappointment was no Gavin drum solo tonight.
Is King Crimson better now than in 2017? I think so!
Tomorrow, the Royal Package!