Singletons to the Rescue
After two incredible KC concerts, we took the train from Stockholm to Oslo. It was sort of a miserable ride due to lack of air conditioning and unseasonably hot temps. The brand new Travis/Fripp apps were a pleasant soundtrack and made the trek bearable. The Swedes warned us that Norway was more expensive. The four of us took a bathroom break upon arriving at Central Station. It cost us about $3 apiece!
Oslo is a lovely, walkable, clean city. We went to National Gallery where the highlight was the Edward Munch room which features “The Scream” and “Dance of Life”. It seemed very appropriate as a prelude to a Crimson concert. But scores of people getting souvenir pictures were out of the moment and blocking the true art fans.
The security guard at the Sentrum Scene demanded our IDs and said that nobody under 18 will be admitted…Andrew is 13. Thank goodness Iona and David Singleton figured out a way to get us in. We had to wear pink wristbands and I was not allowed to consume alcohol…I can forego a $17 beer, no problem. Thanks Singletons!
There were only 14 people at this Royal Package. Sentrum is very small venue, and I prefer that for King Crimson. We got front row between Jeremy and Gavin. It is astonishing to see Gavin up close, watching his cues and hearing his cymbal work and his pedal-pitch-controlled log drums directly instead of through speakers.
Robert came out to greet us and was amazed that there were several females in attendance. He introduced David Singleton. There was a discussion about how European Audiences are generally more respectful than in the US…much less hooting, David said.
Next, special guest Jeremy Stacey came on stage (which of course made Drumson Andrew very happy). He mentioned playing with Roger Daltry, and making a mistake during “Starless” when he first joined. He gave Andrew some drumming advice…a genuinely nice guy.
“Drumsons at the End Time” (Man these drummers have a happy time together) leading into “The Construction of Light” to the frenzied “Neurotica”. Mel and Tony were having a blast! I’m so glad they continue to do this tune. “Cirkus” and part of the “Lizard Suite”. The “Skirmish” section always steamrolls me. “Moonchild” with Tony’s inventive double-bass solo, and Jeremy’s angular piano solo. Next was the crowd-pleaser “In the Court of the Crimson King”.
A little time to exhale before “One More Red Nightmare” into the challenging jigsaw of “Larks Tongues in Aspic 4”. There’s a demo version on the DGM site of Pat counting it out…priceless!
My goodness it was hot and humid. There was no airflow, and I was feeling bad for the musicians.
Again, “Islands” was the set closer. More tears brought to us by Jakko!! To think my son was 12 when he first saw Crimson, the same age as Jakko when he first saw the band!
As Robert states in the recording at the beginning of concerts, this is where the intermission will be placed…after the first set and before the second.
“Drumsons of the Future – Present” is the set opener. I love Bill Bruford, but I hate when people say Crim needs three drummers to replace him. BB called Gavin a hidden national treasure and studied Gavin’s drum books. Having 3 drummers in front, spread out, hocketing, really gives a stereo space to the percussion and accentuates the polyrhythms. And, no, they don’t always play at the same time.
“Discipline” (guitar-fest) into “Indiscipline” (drum-fest). Once again, the sound mix was wonderful and everything was clear.
The interplay and respect among these eight virtuosos cannot be understated. It is so obvious that they care about the music and the audience. Plus they look really good up there.
“Cadence and Cascade” (first time I’ve heard it live) into “Red”. What a contrast!
At one point, Pat licked his forefinger and made a mark on a mock chalkboard, signaling a clam I think.
“Epitaph” into the scalding, highly improvisational “Easy Money”. King Crimson always pushes the envelope, and really have to pay attention as the setlist and segues change every night.
The hammering “Radical Action Suite”. I love Bill’s keyboard attack on “Level 5”. Whenever I hear this tune live, it stomps through my brain for days after!
The encore, “Starless”, in which we had the finest view of Fripp playing what is possibly his favorite piece. Robert looks very pleased up there and one can tell he’s feeding off both the band and the attentive audients.
Thank you Robert, Jakko, Bill, Tony, Mel, Pat, Jeremy, Gavin and all the DGM team!
Another thanks to Tony and Robert for sharing their wonderful photos and insights. A coffee table book someday?
We’ll see you in 2019!