Written in the summer of 1971, the song Islands gave its name to the fourth King Crimson studio album. The piece was performed live on a handful of occasions that year by Mel, Boz, Ian, and Robert but quickly dropped from the setlist. The arrangement here closely follows the version recorded by Jakko Jakszyk for his 2006 solo album, The Bruised Romantic Glee Club which also featured Ian and Mel recapturing something of their Crimson spirit.
TRACK
TIME
01
Islands
09:18
Written by Jill Bye
Cimso Goes Out
Some thoughts on this stellar show below. First, the sentimental part of me feels it’s necessary to mention that it’s been a tradition for my parents to go with me to Crimson-related shows since I first got into them (my mom would regularly bring Poseidon to spin in her college art classes in the early ‘70s, so this current lineup is a special treat for her having never seen any of that era's material live before). Our first show, when I was 16, was an intimate Belew solo gig at Shank Hall in Milwaukee in 1999, followed the next year by my introduction to the Double Duo, and, following many, many more Belew, Fripp, Crim and otherwise related shows in between, most recently a Chicago 2014 current line-up gig. My folks weren’t able to make it to the June Chicago show or either of the two Belew Power Trio shows I caught this year, so being able to have them rejoin me for the last night of this mind-blowing tour was something particularly special for me. On to some notes on the (for me at least) show highlights! • Neurotica—The jazziness of this new version really still perfectly suits the New York vibe of the original, which makes it, for me, one of the most drastic and yet successful reinventions of material by the band so far. Kind of wish we would still get the rest of the non-spoken-word vocals though, especially as the one missing bit is just a repeat of what Jakko’s already chose to sing. • Pictures of a City—This band is getting tighter and tighter while allowing itself to get looser and looser. Improv sections are extending and going into stranger and stranger territory. • Fallen Angel—Heavier and tighter than just a few months ago in Chicago. • Breathless—Never would’ve thought I’d hear Fripp (let alone Crimson) play this! It seems to have taken the place of similarly structured Red and Vrooom on this tour, keeping things fresh. • Epitaph—One of the true joys of this band is the fact that I’ve seen this lineup three times and this was still the first time I’ve heard them pull out Epitaph. In fact, there were 5 songs in all played this night that I’d never heard performed before! They keep going, they’ll get into Phish-like setlist territory. • Radical Action—I want to say there were tweaks here to the arrangement compared to recent live recordings. Either way, this was the most powerful and dynamic version of this song I’ve heard yet. • Islands—I have to admit, I found the more lilting sax solo and more complex drumming at the Chicago show unfortunately cheesed up the ending section of the song (topped with Jakko’s scatting, which I’ve never been a huge fan of; never was one of Boz’s either). BUT, tonight, Gavin seemed to tone it down with a more minimal pattern closer to the album version and Mel went from Chicago’s (although excellently performed) elevator muzak version to Coltrane-esque blows. • Larks’ Tongues 1—Totally assumed the set was ending with Islands. But nope! And an epic Larks it was too! My dad swears Mel quoted the theme to “My Three Sons” during his solo. I hope this is true. • Larks’ Tongues 2—But wait—there’s more! They just kept going! And hearing these two back to back is, of course, a treat. • Moonchild—Tony’s cadenza got massive audience love, but the gasp from the crowd at the start, most of them hearing this live for the first time, was a fantastic moment. • Indiscipline—The playfulness between the drum trade-offs was both impressive and had the crowd laughing at times. During the solo sections, both Fripp and Mel took full advantage of their “indisciplined” going-off-making-as-much-noise-as-possible techniques to the max. Much bigger fan of Jakko’s more British closing colloquialisms ("I quite like it") compared to Chicago’s “Me Gusta!” • Lizard—Maybe not as tight as in Chicago, but still a highlight, particularly the last repeat of Last Skirmish, which, unless you were counting along, came as a huge surprise just when everyone thought things had climaxed. Fripp’s closing solo was both elegant and, honestly, weird—again, this lineup is getting looser and looser and going “out” more often than ever before. • Easy Money—Easily a highlight. Talk about going “out.” For one, I’ve rarely heard a longer version of this track. For two, the interplay was stellar with plenty of tension and relief throughout. • Level Five—I’ve always been happy to hear a late-period Crim piece be a set highlight, here a set closer even! And the fact that Fripp recognizes the similarities found in the patterns of Radical Action enough to make it a direct segue in recent sets allows for the two pieces to stretch and climb to new places of heaviosity. • Schizoid Man—As others have noted, watching the band gleefully watch Gavin go off is almost as fun as watching Gavin go off. And it’s great to hear Mel and Fripp’s exchanges throughout. I could go on, but will save some words for the next one.
Written by Michael Yaeger
All the music is new, whenever it was written
12-year-old Drumson Andrew and I just saw our fifth show of the tour. This incredible night at the Riverside Theater may have been the best. Please see my reviews of Minneapolis and Atlanta. Again, the Royal Package enabled us to get prime seats, avoid scalpers, and get a program signed by all 8 members. Iona Singleton was so pleasant greeting fans at the door. My new Crim buddy Steve Sanford, who I met at the F & F show in Austin, was seeing his eighth show of the tour. Also present was another Crimson diehard, my bassist friend Keith Norton from St. Paul. Then Punk Sanderson, er I mean David Singleton spoke about the business/ marketing part of DGM, and the “Vicar Chronicles”...please buy this whodunnit book filled with RF and Monty Python-type humor that exposes the dark side of the Music Business. Tonight, Bill Rieflin was the mystery guest. He isn’t playing on this leg of the tour, but will return in 2018. His wife Francesca Sundsten is the artist of the Cyclops Monkey Mind, and the wonderful art featured on the upcoming Uncertain Times European Tour. There was a question about whether KC would go on the Prog Cruise which Bill shot down. Could you imagine RF trapped on a boat trying to avoid over-zealous fans? Will there be a new studio album? The live stuff is so great that I hope for more concert releases. I wonder if Jakko has time to do 5.1 mixes. Have you heard what he did with “Thrak”? Will King Crimson ever make the Rock n Roll HOF? No, they’re too brilliant. Will Adrian will be in this band? DS makes it clear that he wouldn’t be a good fit for this version of KC. Mr. Fripp came on stage and asked the females and young audients what brought them to a KC concert. He remembered Andrew from the Atlanta shows. Fripp took photos of us...surreal! This eight-headed beast keeps accelerating. What is the LIMIT? IS there a limit for this band? My knuckles were sore from fists clenching. The level (9.1?) is set so high that attending anything non-Crimson will probably be a letdown. The drum-only features get more intricate. I’m happy they opened set one with “Devil Dogs” (after the lovely Islands Coda), and set two with “Hell Hounds”. Tony was shredding “Neurotica”. “LTIA1” and “LTIA2” back-to-back? Illegal in most states! The percussion interplay on “Indiscipline”, how “ITCOTKC” now slows down dramatically as the title is sung, “Lizard Suite”...Oh, my God... Mel Collins and his arsenal, “Easy Money” in which Jakko demonstrates his incredible range, the tear-inducing “Starless”, “Radical Action II” melding into “Level Five”, which keeps hammering through my brain, and another great version of 21st Century Schizoid Man with a primo Gavin solo that amazed all. A photographer was again caught in the act, which caused Robert to give his pointed-stick glare. This disrupts not only the band, but also us deep listeners. Other than that, RF appeared gleeful. He and Jakko seem as one. All of Fripp’s dedication over the years has led to THIS incarnation. The frontline of Gavin, Pat and Jeremy lock eyes and connect with the audience which makes it very special and personal. Was this the best show we’ve seen? It seemed there was even more energy given by band and audience alike, possibly because it was the last show of the tour. Incredible sound and a wonderful venue. The exiting audience was raving in rapture after being wonderfully assaulted for three hours in mind and body. I’ve just started listening to the “Sailors’ Tales” box set, and started with a ’72 concert at this theater! We happened to be staying in the same hotel and had chats with Mel, Bill, Jeremy, Chris, Tony; joking that if one of the drummers got sick they’d give Andrew a call, Jakko; talking about finishing a 5.1 mix of “Fish out of Water”. Gavin, who remembered Andrew from Atlanta, talked about drumming, marimba and the making of his brilliant ‘Cheating the Polygraph’. All were very kind, and I hope we weren’t overbearing. These encounters and concerts were so special for Andrew, the highlights of his musical education. Tour manager Dave Salt, “Here ya lucky little bastard” was apparently told by Jeremy to give Andrew a pair of his sticks. Thank you! Will “Starless and Bible Black” material be played in Europe? I can only imagine how great the arrangements would be. Thanks to the King Crimson/ DGM team, and especially Robert for his vision and perseverance. Our summer vacation is Stockholm and Oslo. King Crimson dates happen to coincide with ours...purely coincidental!
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