Written by Knox Carey
I wish you were here to see it
Heraclitus said that no man steps into the same river twice; I submit that no concertgoer ever hears the same Crimson twice. If you think about King Crimson as a "band" in the ordinary sense, you're missing something essential. King Crimson is more of a process than a band. On the scale of decades, the group coalesces and dissipates. The repertoire is deconstructed, challenged, and refashioned from the materials to hand. If you are interested in hearing a faithful reconstruction of some particular manifestation of King Crimson, recordings are readily available. But if you can put aside your own nostalgia and allow the unfolding process to carry you where it will, you will come to appreciate that reinvention is the key to Crimson's incredible vitality. You must experience it in realtime, at the moment of creation. As rhythmic motifs are volleyed between the percussionists in the introduction to Indiscipline, an intricate high-wire act that seems like it might fail at any moment. As Mel Collins gestures to a backstage confidant after a particularly effective solo. As Jakko Jakszyk, his voice rough toward the end of the show, gives the final push to nail the word "black" in Starless. As Robert Fripp's amused smile melts into open-mouthed wonder during Gavin Harrison's solo in 21st Century Schizoid Man. Live recordings may give you a sense of the magic, but experiencing it in person is a privilege and a delight. I brought my eighteen year-old son to this show — his first King Crimson experience. He was astonished by the virtuosity and sheer energy of the performance, which he characterized perfectly on our walk back to the bus: these guys really put the 'boom' in 'boomer'! High praise indeed.
Written by Jonathan Measor
Whoa! What a show!
Holy shit! Outstanding show. I'm born in the '80s my parents had me on Keith Jarrett, Wagner, and The Rolling Stones for most of my childhood. My scout leader only played Alan Parsons. My good friend and neighbor, G, let me in on the sound of King Crimson. Until a week ago I only listened to King Crimson when G would put it on the HiFi. On 90.7 WFUV I heard Alisa Ali mention the New Haven CT 2021 show. I began to look for tix that I might gift G because he's been a great friend to invite me to many things over time. Oddly, just a few hours later G called offering a Royal Package ticket to King Crimson at PNC. Bizarre. I was honored to accept. Now I began to earnestly listen to Bob Fripp and the Boys last Sunday. I must say that the older recordings and the D/A conversion don't allow for a great listening experience and I had my doubts. Those doubts were soon shattered at the live show; the power, the huge sound, the front row seats, the intimate pre-show Royal Package experience, the woodwinds, and the percussion. Oh! The percussion! By trade, I'm a photographer, but in a previous life, I was a radio technician. The heavy drums lifted the strings and Mel Collins' woodwinds like a transmitter's carrier wave. The sound was so huge and resonant. High amplitude and frequency full was the music. I teared up as the first drum heads were struck with anticipation of what was to come. And what came was nothing more than transcendent. Mr. Fripp spoke of how some experience the show in one way or another, and to me, this was an experience to be envied, to cause me to be lifted. The music is smart, elegant, and extremely artful. Robert Fripp sat in the top corner, stage left, proudly looked over his creation. This arrangement is truly something to behold. About the weight of the sound, to try and quote the simple Lyle "Chip" Chipperson, "the sound was so heavy the devil couldn't lift it up." What a show! Thank you, Mr. Fripp. Thank you, G.