“I actually thought he was paraplegic until the end of the show; even then he didn’t take a bow!” thus spake one disgruntled punter who had the bad luck to see Fripp’s solo spot when the G3 roadshow rolled into Manchester’s Apollo.
This wasn’t the first time that Manchester had heard soundscapes. Robert played at Virgin Records in 1996. Back then, it had been in front of a handful of admirers and innocent shoppers going about their business. On this occasion it was in front of a couple of thousand punters eagerly waiting to rock out at a shredfest.
Another outraged punter put it this way: “Forty minutes of an old man, playing pretty much the same thing over and over and over again, strumming once every 10 minutes and then fiddling with knobs for the rest of the time.”
Not everyone in the crowd that night was as disappointed or as flummoxed as these two observers. Indeed several report being impressed with this blend of orchestral timbre and soul-searching melodies. Though it certainly wasn’t to the taste of many vocal elements in the crowd, as Fripp probes and feels his way into these areas, it’s evident that something special is going on especially during the beautiful coda to Paradise Regained.