Sunday 16 July 2017

Mexico City

The final notes from the first show in Mexico City still reverberate in my head. An astonishing experience. Pat Mastelotto commented afterwards that he could hear this strange humming sound in his in-ear monitors. It was the sound of 3,000 people singing every word of just about every song. The answer to the question “Can music change the world?” (as asked at an interview this morning) seems obvious. In fact, I was asked the same question at our second and final Royal Package for Mexico City.  I might choose a better phrase given more time, but my reply (as I have just been shown on an Instagram video of the event) was that “Great Art can bring balance to the world”.

The attendees of the Mexican Royal Packages have, I trust, had a fulfilling experience : an introduction by Robert Fripp (the first on the tour), and then enlightening contributions from Tony Levin, Jakko Jakszyk and Gavin Harrison. I noticed someone commenting in an online forum that you don’t know which band member will appear at the Royal Package. That is absolutely right. It varies every night, just like the setlist, which hopefully keeps it fresh for everyone. Over the course of the tour, I think everyone has now appeared twice.

One of the joys of multiple nights in the same city is that you finally get the chance to explore. My daughter Iona and I wandered into a small church several nights ago, and heard a small orchestra playing in the chancel. We sat at the back so as not to cause disturbance, and listened to the avant garde sounds drifting through the beautiful building.  More ethereal and sparse, but slightly like those caught on the following video (for reasons I shall explain):

It was only as we moved further into the church, and the playing became more frenetic and disjointed, that we realised (as you all already have) tht the concert had not started, there was no conductor, and it was simply random noodling as the various players warmed up. What has Fripp done to my musical tastes?!! We sat for several more minutes enjoying the unlikely music, then, comfortable that we were not intruding on a performance, took the video and left. We both somehow suspected that the concert (whatever it was going to be) would not live up to the unexpected magic that we had first heard. I had laughed at stories about Radiohead fans at Glastonbury this year applauding Radiohead’s minimalist new masterpiece (which turned out to be tuning up) – but either the audience were right or the joke is on me. Or both. “The most important thing in art is The Frame. For painting: literally; for other arts: figuratively-- because, without this humble appliance, you can't know where The Art stops and The Real World begins (Frank Zappa).”