Jeremy Stacey’s racing jazz pulse sets the pace on this welcome reimagination of an old ‘80s Crim fave. The hurtling velocity of the piece seems to be accompanied in places by a sibilant voice whispering, stuttering, triggered perhaps by Mastelotto? Or perhaps it’s some technical issue? Answers on a postcard…
TRACK
TIME
01
Neurotica
04:36
Written by Keith Ewing
Toronto: The Muse Arrived and Stripped Off Her Dress....
As Tony mentioned, the weather was divine for an outdoor event - full sun all day followed by a full moon for the performance! The Bud Stage, meanwhile, resides within the Ontario Place waterfront park, a variously pristine, charming, shabby and decrepit public place and marina - hey, it's a play-of-opposites - with great views of the city of Toronto, Lake Ontario, joggers, bicyclists and other goings on - Cirque du Soleil, for example, was set up on the grounds with their colorful tents. As a concert venue the Stage itself is a fine place for a show and if the band were lucky enough to stay at Hotel X across the street (Tony took a shot of it) then they enjoyed the same fantastic high-rise views of city and waterfront that we did - our room on the 20th floor looked down upon it all, a ten-minute walk away. The performance? Crimson delivered one on this night. Mel and Tony were a bit buried in the beginning but the sound was dialed in and the vibe of the audience and band seemed to knit together as the show progressed, moving from a kind of loosely measured anticipation to rapt attentiveness (only a handful of idiot whistlers invading the quiet parts!) to a final third where the muse arrived, stripped off her dress and possessed us all. Risks were taken, surprise jams indeed surprised and Schizoid entered the body of a dervish at the end - I'll never forget Jakko laughing at the scene - those who were there will know! And speaking of Jakko, he really rocked both the guitar cords and the vocal chords - he has claimed his rightful place in the pantheon. Tony, sporting his rock goggles, brought the bottom, especially during the last third. Mel, well, Mel just always brings it period - what would this incarnation be without him? Bob, having bestowed a charming lecture to the packagers (he's a writer and a thinker, he ought to publish his peculiar pen & guitar pick mythology - I volunteer to edit it!) was especially forceful and driving, grabbing solo riffs, pushing limits, bestowing wisdom and humor all round. The drummers commanded the stage and I swear I thought Jeremy was going to bludgeon his kit into rubble - he gets off the keys in an awesome rage! Pat the shaman clapped for Gavin the scientist - it's often a dual-drummer telekinesis given Jeremy's other job on the ivories - and gave us all authority to amp up our participation and get a little nuts by the end. I don't need to hear Schizoid as an encore but this time I did, if you know what I mean. I've filed out of many shows as a group in silence but our audience couldn't shut up about it and as the muse donned her dress and took flight above us we reentered reality under the abiding auspices of a dream well dreamed. Great night.
Written by Andrew Mestrinaro
Not Suitable Grounds for Blues: King Crimson EleKtrifies Toronto, Again.
I can not express how lucky I was to find myself positioned in the third row with great friends right in front of Pat’s kit. In 2017, at Massey Hall, I sat first row in front of Pat, so I knew that this show was going to be a lot louder than the Leipzig show of this tour, where I was seated near the bar in the back, and at least equally as loud as the Massey show a few years ago. I must say, I was much more impressed by the sonic quality at this show then at Massey Hall. For the fourth time seeing King Crimson since my first live concert experience with them on November 20th, 2015, I can not express how absolutely spoiled I felt seeing them again in such outstanding musical form at this show. The intensity of the percussion, the complex layering of dissonance in the pursuit of structure, and the musicianship of each member was outstanding. In comparison with all the other King Crimson shows I have been to, I never thought I would witness the soaring heights of Mel Collins’s vociferous leads, nor the haunting guitar work of Robert and Jakko, the outright intensity of the Drumsons, and the uniting force of Tony in such an incredible performance. Not getting the Royal Celebration Package was the only regretful aspect of the evening. After finding out that both Jakko and Robert spoke to the very lucky VIP guests, I knew that this was suitable grounds for the blues. Nonetheless, the cohesion of the band, musical prowess of each member in the moment, and the overly generous setlist are just some of the things that made this show unforgettable.
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