Surprise 'Supper Club' shows -and Fripp's FraKCtured stunt!
Like all good NYC Crimso fan-addicts, weeks preceding I had ticket in hand for the Town Hall show the next night [14th]. But then the word got out via the fan base - KC would play two essentially unadvertised warm-up shows at the Supper Club down the block, general admission, just get in line before the show. YES! Arriving a 7PM [for the 8PM shows] both nights got me in the front line at the edge of the stage [all standing show, no seats]. I could have reached out without stretching and touched AB or RF [wouldn’t do that, of course] - the stage was that small, the club that intimate. I could now watch, very closely, the hands of all four musicians - including ’the shy one’. Now, during FraKCtured each night [my favorite piece from ConstruKCtion, I tend to gravitate towards instrumentals], the immensity of Fripp’s role in the performance of it blew me away - I had thought that AB and RF were playing their guitars throughout listening to the record. HOWEVER, except for the bridges between the long passages, AB would abandon the guitar to gesticulate over his theremin-like electronic pad. Robert was playing all 3 guitar lines - each at a different volume - simultaneously through most of the piece! (He has ventured the comment that during any performance there must be at least one piece in the repertoire that is so difficult to play, that one must actually be awake for it.) The audience swooned with this amazing feat of guitarrism, but the spectacle that topped it [both nights] was, when the piece ended, Fripp, grinning, dropped his left hand from the neck to blow on his fingertips as though he had scorched them..and then a puff of white smoke arose from his hand!!! Those who were close enough to see this, myself included, had to retrieve their jaws from the floor! He had hidden white [talc] powder in his palm before the piece, and not dropped even a grain whilst playing the entire piece! UNBELIEVABLE!!! [but true] One must seriously consider that this might be a technique for steadiness/economy of motion that he actually [sometimes] employs when practicing [?] - along with his admonition to players that they ’practice in the dark’ so that their hands are familiar with the fretboard without having to look at the changes in fingering (For a good example of this, watch RF’s performance in the French TV video that comes on the DVD portion of the Red 40th Anniversary package.)