Written by Eric Champarnaud
18 November, 2018
Ze Royale Package - Paris, Night Three
Tonight was the last night of the King Crimson Paris residency and the last night of their Meltdown 2018 European tour. Being somewhat of an obsessive-compulsive fellow I attended all three Paris dates and even treated myself to the Royal Package experience for the last night. If you’re reading the DGM forums you’re already a convert and most likely know what the band looks and sounds like these days, as well as what the setlists look like. Suffice to say it’s a fan’s dream come true. The Olympia is an old, stuffy theatre a few metres away from where cinema was born. Although it was rebuilt and renovated about twenty years ago, it is still the same place where the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and many more played when they first came to Paris. I’ve been to over forty shows in that venue and always feel like I’m walking on hallowed ground. The Royal Package punters were greeted by Robert Fripp who engaged us on a few of his favorite topics: the remuneration of artists in the music industry, the relationship between the musician and the audience members, photography, etc. I’m sorry to report he was very affable with quite the sense of humour, not at all like the curmudgeonly old goat he is often portrayed as (and I suspect he likes to portray himself…) After that KC’s manager David Singleton answered a few people’s questions on the band, the business etc. before introducing Stage Left Drummer Gavin Harrison, the guy who is solely responsible for dropping the band’s median age under seventy. He was also very interesting, forthcoming and funny. In all of those cases there was a lot of things I wish I had asked, but a crippling social anxiety prevented from participating. I reserve the right to ask those questions on this here forum in the future, whether they like it or not! As for the concert, it was of course absolutely brilliant. Apocalyptic at times, light at others. Sometimes solemn, sometimes playful, always riveting. The repertoire of course we all love, even (especially) revisited in this absolutely crazy fashion. A few years ago it was looking like Crimso was to be no more. I am very glad things have turned around and am hoping for more from them. They have found the perfect format for these times and these times need them to stick around. So guys, please, same time next year? A few pics (and a video even!) here:
Written by Johannes Vittinghoff
17 November, 2018
Hold it all in
I read somewhere that Gavin recently played with his puke bucket by his side. That’s what I was scared of for myself tonight. A virus gone bad had me locked in the bathroom 30min before it was time for our 3min walk to the L’Olympia. Right on time, 20.00 my body forgot it all. There was no way anything was coming out of me while so much was flowing in from the stage. 4th concert in 12months and those eight powerhouses just amaze me. The 3rd gig at Paris: Magnifique! Also: On a side note, RF once asked me at a Royal Package why there are not more young people, women...well, I am a young woman and while I wish you all the success with the young in the future, I have to say us existing Crimson girls always have quite the laugh at the intermission. Bathroom breaks have never been so easy and oh, how we parade by the waiting manhood, smiling, waving. Can’t wait for the next small line and grand music. Viktoria - hacking her husbands profile :)
Written by Bill R
17 November, 2018
"Also these guys can't dance for shit..." and not once did they even bother to say, "Come on, clap your hands!"
For Eric Champamaud. I enjoyed reading your comment, love the humour at the beginning:- "I sold my children's kidneys to make sure I would get the best seats to see those eight hunks play their greatest hit singles and I have to say I was most disappointed at the lack of props, smoke bombs and pyro. Also these guys can't dance for shit. It's like they weren't even trying! I was also told by a security guy I wouldn't be able to film the whole set with my phone and that was the last straw! . . ." That gave me a right good chuckle first thing this morning. Very funny. :D :D :D--------------------------------------------------------- "Woow! Come On! Clap Your Hands"
Written by Eric Champarnaud
17 November, 2018
Paris - Night Two
Another blinder of a gig. Keep'em coming' boys! I'm excited for the Royal Package tomorrow, as long as it's not a metaphor for something naughty. Slightly reshuffled setlist, we happily gained LTIA pt.1 but unfortunately lost Schizoid Man and Easy Money. The Lizard Suite is still the centrepiece of the show in my eyes, even when moved to the second set. I never thought I'd hear those compositions played live, it's really quite a treat. It's incredible to me that according to everything I've read the album was rather poorly received by critics and audience alike upon its release, and that even the band itself had somewhat disowned it until recently. Glad to see it rehabilitated today. On the very last number (a particularly ominous Starless) some dude two seats from me in the front row got forcefully ejected because it looked like he was bootlegging the show. Kind of a bummer, perhaps the reason we didn't get Schizoid Man? If the band took notice it didn't affect their performance from my point of view. Some pics here:
Written by Eric Champarnaud
16 November, 2018
Roberto Frippo & the Crimzoid Kingsons in Paris - Night One
I sold my children's kidneys to make sure I would get the best seats to see those eight hunks play their greatest hit singles and I have to say I was most disappointed at the lack of props, smoke bombs and pyro. Also these guys can't dance for shit. It's like they weren't even trying! I was also told by a security guy I wouldn't be able to film the whole set with my phone and that was the last straw! Joke's on them, I did manage to get some pictures, hahaha! See the link below... What can I tell you that you don't already know? The band is phenomenal. Probably the best it's ever been. It has elements of every incarnation. Some bits bring back memories of the Double Trio, others harken back to the '74 era... but despite a setlist that's heavy on oldies, this isn't a nostalgia show. It's also not a prog rock concert. In fact I could list all the things that it's not... But what it actually is eludes me still. It's mysterious, it's magical. It's dense, intense, crazy, funny. It's loud as fuck (and fuck knows fuck can be loud) and it's absolutely relentless in its crushing heaviness. Except when it's delicate, ethereal, barely there... Sometimes it's hard trying to find a focus point. They are building something as an ensemble but each player is also building a coherent structure of their own. But sometimes the whole thing is staggering by its pure simplicity. Or its simple purity. Whatever makes the most sense. I don't smoke anymore, I seldom drink, I'm married and faithful. Going to concerts is my last vice. I go to a lot of gigs, very different gigs. From jazz to metal, r&b to blues, pop to classical. In all the concerts I've seen, never I have seen such an organic combination of cerebral, emotional and corporeal. Corporeal, yes! Because at times these guys can even get quite funky. (The question must have been asked before: is there a KC composition that could be considered appropriate background music for lovemaking? Maybe one of their long improvs from the seventies?) I'm a somewhat recent convert. I just turned forty (yikes!) and the first time I saw KC was in 2003, and although the band was in a wildly different incarnation my experience was similar. I then saw them thrice in 2015, twice in 2016 and I am seeing them three times on this run. KC has always eluded definitions, confounded expectations and defied conventions while hono(u)ring traditions and I can't wait to see them do just that again tomorrow and the next day.
Written by Zigomar José Espindola
14 November, 2018
BOA NOITE! Gostaria de sugerir ao Mister Robert Fripp e demais membros da banda King Crimson, que começassem a olhar com bons olhos as canções dos anos 69 a 74, há muita musica esquecida e que são bonitas e ótimas para se ouvir, como eu sou da época no nascimento do King Crimson, sinto muita saudade das velhas canções. Faz muito tempo que a banda não toca as seguintes: I Talk To The Wind, Cat Food, Groon, Formentera Lady, Ladies Of The Road, Exiles, Book Of Saturday, Doctor Diamond.... e outras, então sugiro para o proximo ano 2019 que pensem nisso, afinal serão 50th Anniversary da Banda. Paz a Todos.
Written by Steve Riley
Worth Every Mile!
My friend Ray and I (lifelong Crimson fans since we were teenagers) traveled from Kansas City for this show in Denver and it was worth every mile of the trip! We purchased the Royal Package, and the sound/mix was absolutely stunning in a beautiful modern theatre. In addition to this inspired version of “The ConstruKction of Light”, other highlights of this show included great new material such as “Meltdown”, “Radical Action”, and the audience had the opportunity to hear the Mighty Crim perform “In the Court of The Crimson King”, “21st Century Schizoid Man (featuring an astonishing drum solo by Gavin Harrison”) and rare gems from “Lizard”. Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the evening was being able to see a band perform at the top of their game without the annoyance of people holding up phones! Truly, a memorable evening.
Written by Barry Briscoe
The Descent Begins...
And so begins the ill-fated and legendary "Earthbound" tour. It's a passable performance but Fripp is rather subdued for most of the show, only really exploding into life on "Schizoid". Boz and Ian play well, but it's Mel Collins who is the undoubted star of this show, constantly turning in streams of inspiration, perhaps trying to make up for Fripp's lack of enthusiasm. His flute playing in "Formentera" is absolutely lovely. "Ladies" is surprising as later on in the tour that became a vehicle for much japery but here it's played relatively straight and I enjoy Fripp's confused solo which as it goes on is reminiscent of the studio take. "Schizoid" is kinda like an alternate take of the "Earthbound" version as you can tell from Boz's vocal effects it's the same venue though doesn't quite match it plus it's very strange when Mel doesn't come in with a solo. Overall, it's an OK gig but not outstanding. It does have historical value being the opening salvo of the tour and Mel is consistently enjoyable but there are better versions - and worse shows - to be had elsewhere by this line up.
Written by Stephane Pons
Stirring live experience
It has been many many years i'm a lover of King Crimson music ! Yesterday night i was at the Olympia with my son (23 years old) and at the end of this performance he said to me : "Dad i think it's the best live performance i have ever seen and heard". True, very true my son. Yesterday night some moments where magics, enchanting, incredibles. Starless is still shining, Island was so beautifull and what the Epitaph we heard !!! I appreciate also to hear new version of Discipline/Beat albums who were the perfect counterpoint of glory songs i talked. Listening, seing, living a King Crimson concert is always an experience for life and it xas yesterday night. At what a pleasure to see happy and accomplice musicians and a Robert Fripp who seem so decontract, happy and taking riffs and solo with so much communicatie joice. A taste of paradise ! PS : so sad to not have so much money these time to come back to the two others concert but it's life ! i hope you'll excuse my poor (french) english
Written by Barry Briscoe
The Hottest of Dates
With the previous night’s Bridgewater Hall show still reverberating within me, it was a treat to attend this show in Liverpool as part of the Royal Package so thanks to DGM there were extra elements to enjoy with a fascinating pre-show talk by David Singleton, a q+a with Jakko and a very charming and poignant audience with Robert Fripp. DGM certainly take care of you and give you a memorable experience. I lived in Liverpool for 11 years and knew they were going to be a vocal audience. You can’t pull the wool over their eyes - if you’re good, they’ll love you, but if you fall a little flat, they’ll let you know in direct terms as Tommy Bolin and Deep Purple discovered in 1976 with a traumatic gig in this very venue that caused them to split backstage after the show. Regardless to say, King Crimson had nothing to worry about as there was much cheering, many odd random shouts and standing ovations throughout the show. A lovely venue, much better suited for Crimson than the Bridgewater Hall as the sound mix and quality was perfect for those of us in the stalls, quite possibly the best I’ve ever experienced in all my years of going to gigs. Once again, a truly thrilling show. As usual, the setlist differed and offered a different and unique experience. In Manchester they performed the Meltdown suite in set one and the Lizard Suite in set two whereas in Liverpool it was reversed. Also very unusual in set two following the Drumson opening when they went into Islands. This is one of the many joys of King Crimson in this incarnation - you genuinely have absolutely no idea which song is coming next and the way the contrasts and unpredictability work is fascinating. Set one was bookended by LTIA pt’s 1 and 2 and lovely to hear Mel play a quote from Ferry Cross The Mersey in his solo... I think Mel was spoilt for choice of Liverpool based material to quote from and his choice was very inspired. It is hard to compare and contrast between Manchester and Liverpool as both were intensely powerful performances that knocked me out. Perhaps Liverpool was the stronger show thanks in part to the great sound mix. Not one dull moment and the three suites - Court, Lizard and Meltdown truly have to be experienced in person for the full effect. I held off buying the Meltdown album/BluRay until the Manchester show so as to experience these two shows with as much freshness as possible so it felt more of a quantum leap. I am starting to explore and enjoy Meltdown and as wonderful and recommended as it is, you truly do have to experience Crimson in person, in the moment for the greatest effect. This band are at the top of their game and I think it’s fair to say the Liverpool audience were mutually in agreement. For me personally, nearly a week after this double dose of King Crimson in person, something has changed. That’s how Crimson affect me - very deeply and I am still digesting what I witnessed. Time will reveal how things have changed but so far, so good, it can only be positive. King Crimson sure know how to spread joy to their audiences!
Written by Barry Briscoe
Extraordinary and Terrific Fun
This night that the mighty Crim performed at the Bridgewater Hall I think is going to last long in the memory of most who were present. The venue as lovely as it is, was designed for unamplified orchestras and there is no denying the acoustics gave Crim a rather boomy sound. However, once the sound mix was fixed and one’s ears adjusted to the boomy acoustics, we were rewarded with a truly exhilarating performance. I had seen the pair of shows at The Lowry in 2015 and loved them, but three years later, I was experiencing a very different beast that made the earlier incarnation almost sound like a different band completely. The Crims were on devastating form. It was clear that they were in a great mood as there was plenty of smiles and laughter on stage throughout the entire show. It was therefore stunning to learn the following day that Gavin was ill with bad food poisoning and came close to being unable to play the show. None of us could have guessed as he played as flawlessly as always and it helped explain the comical moment when he began playing a part of his drum solo on an upturned bucket! The eight headed beast roared through the show to intense effect. There were quite a few moments that almost felt like out of body experiences, especially the Meltdown suite which is downright powerful - heavy rock music at it’s finest and most brutal... that went down a storm and the remarkable thing is, most of is genuinely new music written since 2014 and for my money, Level Five or LTIA Pt 5 as it’s now known is one of the greatest most exciting Crimson compositions. The Lizard Suite was another major highlight. This music has a timeless epic quality... whenever it was written, it sounded contemporary and knocked me senseless... the Battle and Last Skirmish were frightening and Prince Rupert’s Lament as eerie as ever - the latter has long been one of my fave Crim pieces and witnessing that played in person felt unbelievable as even in 2015, I never thought we’d see that on stage. The Court medley had two major surprises - first, between Tony and Jeremy’s lovely cadenza’s, Robert added one of his own (was this the first time he did this?) and the coda of the title track was great fun and the song now feels complete with that stirring explosive conclusion. When set one ended I was utterly dazed and breathless, such is the sheer power and force with which this eight headed beast plays. A wonderful audience too, very receptive and a fair few like myself rocking out to it! And how many shows do you see where the band receive a standing ovation before they play a note? One by one - Pat is great fun to watch throughout and the power and passion of his playing is sublime. Jeremy actually played keyboards for at least half the show and what a wonderful musician he is. Gavin is a freak of nature and always interesting to watch him conducting and cueing the rest of the band who in turn enjoy his playing. Mel was having a great time, genuinely happy and playing as he always does - a true master, as is Tony Levin who was exploring and playing differently in each song, taking chances, trying out new ideas keeping it fresh. Bill sits there seemingly poker faced but his fairydusting embellishments add enormously to the overall sound and majesty of the band. Jakko was amazing... he’s come a long way since 2015 and he’s now in his element - his improv scatting in Easy Money was extraordinary as he kept pushing the barriers, aiming for ever higher notes and reaching them. Last but not least, Robert - playing as beautifully and uniquely as ever, looking very proud and happy. Collectively, well... unbelievable and every member a perfect fit, all at home as King Crimson playing this "difficult" music with respect and freshness giving it the full majesty it's always demanded. I also think it’s time the band were properly acknowledged for their sense of humour. It’s always been present but more noticeable now - the drumsons are always great fun to watch and they even had some amusing choreography in one number where all three raised their hands during a pause which had me laughing. I’ve now seen them 4 times and I’ve enjoyed many laughs watching them! Some reviews I've read claim the band are static and not interesting to watch... utter nonsense. They're an absolute joy to watch! A truly outstanding gig, a rollercoaster ride through the history of King Crimson proving they were always ahead of their time and whilst their time truly has come, they remain ahead of their time as there is no other band on this planet that play or sound the way they do and this show had more than ample evidence. As they soaked up the thunderous applause at the end of the show, one could tell they were humbled and honoured. A perfect exchange as I, as an audient was feeling similarly humbled and honoured to have witnessed this staggering show.
Written by fppirate
The acoustics at the Empire Theatre were superior to any I'd encountered previously. I caught the shows at The palladium London on the 3rd Nov and the Bridgewater Hall on the 9th Nov. Each show was exceptional, tight band, dazzling musicianship and pure magic. However, the Empire show had the sound mix nailed with clearly discernible lyrics and such a beautiful noise. I could make special mention of Mel and Robert but it wouldn't be fair, it was a team effort and by far the best live band I've seen for over 20 years.