Wednesday, August 13, 2008

King Crimson at the Keswick

King Crimson lives in different bodies at different times and the particular form which the group takes changes. When music appears, which only King Crimson can play then, sooner or later, King Crimson appears to play the music.
—Robert Fripp

This is as true as true can be.

August 12th at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, the Version VIII lineup performed: Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto, Gavin Harrison. Spectacular musicianship, discipline and control, a powerful and encompassing sound — King Crimson delivered.

I've seen Crimson a few times and I've not known them to play much from their older canon, but the concert's set list was full of old favorites. In fact, there was more from Thrak than I could have hoped. [Thrak is a favorite of mine, a desert island top ten, in fact.] Their rendition of Walking on Air was transporting. Dinosaur, Three of a Perfect Pair, Elephant Talk [Belew cracked up at one point] Vrooom — all so excellent. I nearly cried when they started Frame by Frame — hearing Belew wail live was aural heaven. It was all I could do to stay seated when they launched into Thela Hun Ginjeet.

Levin was masterful and it was awesome to see that tall mantis in person. Belew was in fine voice, if slightly raspy and textured from the previous night's concert. Mastelotto and Harrison played as one drummer. My friends and I remarked how other bands attempt two drummers but misuse the concept. Crimson, however, knows how to make this an attack of epic proportion; it's so powerful, layered and dynamic, it's transfixing. Fripp, ninja that he is, was uncharacteristically stage right in front, albeit nearly hidden behind a rack. True to form, he was the master of complexity. I don't think there's anyone quite like him.

Crimson deserves no less than top-notch. I don't know if was the house or the soundman, but the mix could have been better. This imperfection, though, didn't dent my experience. It was a phenomenal show. Three encores only left me wanting more.

It's not just concert afterglow observation; King Crimson truly continues to claim their position at number one in my book.

* * *

Some images for you:
Tony Levin's blog
Sid Smith's photos

You should also know about:
Discipline Global Mobile

Thank you, Mr. Fripp.


Tony said...

Wow - great writeup on what must have been an incredible show. Wish I had been there.

CommonWombat said...

Ive probably seen them 5 or 6 times over the years, and the DC show on the Thrak tour still rates as the best gig I've attended. They were absolutely on fire.

So envious of you.

sparky said...

"Music is the cup which holds the wine of silence. Sound is that cup, but empty. Noise is that cup, but broken."
—Robert Fripp

Guitar Dad said...

Nice to see such deep appreciation of Crimson so eloquently stated. I've been a devoted fan of the group's stirring sounds for 25 years and just keep becoming more and more captivated by Crimson's distinctive blend of sophistication, energy and monumental musicianship.

Toreador said...

What a fantastic show, and review! Thanks! I had wanted to see KC since I first heard the Discipline album in 1981 and finally got to see them last night. It was better than I could have ever dreamed of!

blockdog said...

Nice review ! I'm glad you posted your reaction to the Examiner article. One minor correction, this is officially version VIII
of King Crimson though we never saw a touring version of VII.

Brickgrrl said...


Thanks for your kind words. You made my day!

And blockdog, I've amended my gaffe thanks to you.

Megan Wheatley said...

Ok, first... excellent review. Second.... I think I saw you, either in the bathroom or at the pub across the street! hehehe...

I'm still "in the afterglow" 2 days later.

See my blog (myspace) for my little "review".

Glad you had a good time... Female Crim Fans Unite!

gregor said...

I was at the Monday night show, the set was the same, with the omission of Elephant Talk. Poor Adrian blew a note in the middle of Dinosaur, which caused a collective gasp by the audience and a smile and shrug by Adrian. It was a nice mix and, I too, almost jumped out of my seat on the opening notes of Frame by Frame.
The two drummer thing was great, and very different from the "double trio" line up of the nineties, with Pat and Bruford. I miss Bill's participation, his syncopated beating added a slightly different back to the music.
I think this was the eleventh or twelfth time I've seen them live and each experience is unique and wonderful. I would dearly love to see things patched up between Fripp and Wetton and have him join the band for one tour. Seeing him with Asia last year was a treat.
Great review of the show. Thanks.

shak74 said...

awesome review, i was at both shows (my first two KC shows :) )

enjoyed them and it was nice to see someone write something positive, thanks for your intelligently written review :)

Patricia Fripp said...

Great to read your comments about my brother Robert Fripp and King Crimson.
The Chicago shows at Park West were amazing! I was only there for two of the three and wish I could have gone to all the cities.

You will be happy to know Roberts calls every evening to report in. I asked if he was enjoying the show enough to do a West Coast Tour next year....he said "Yes."

What you may not know is Robert is as good a public speaker as he is a guitarist.
Please spread the word about Robert Fripp’s public speaking events and
Robert Fripp spoken word CDs.

Robert Fripp speaking events in Seattle, LA, and Phoenix on November 8, 9, 11, 2008.

Robert Fripp CDs of his speaking events. You will hear his comments are brilliant, funny and poignant.

Thanks....Patricia Fripp.
The sister of Robert Fripp.

blockdog said...


It doesn't hold a candle to your well written review but, you can read mine ( of the Gnashville shows ) at:

My Belew Marble

Thanks !

Captain Beefheart said...

I saw KC on the "Three of a Perfect Pair" tout at the Mann Music Center. Incredible show. I believe Bill Bruford was the drummer.

BTW, it was humorous to read the review of the show you posted. Why is the person so concerned about Robert Fripp's location on the stage? I remember him on a stool with his head down most of the time anyway.

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