Tuesday, August 12, 2008

King Crimson at the Keswick Theater

I just landed in Austin about 3 hours ago and am still digesting the show I saw last night. After well over a decade, I was finally able to see King Crimson again, at the Keswick Theater. The 6th in a 9 show tour celebrating 40 years of music. By Fripp's accounting, this is eighth lineup. We'll ignore the transitional lineups and the virtual seventh lineup.

I first became aware of the band when I was 14 years old. After discovering ELP, it was only short time later that I discovered Greg Lake's first band. Of course, a similar path following Bill Bruford's career after Yes, landed in the same place, on Robert Fripp's door stoop. As a result, I can say that I have been a fan of King Crimson for 33 years now.

My trek began Sunday, and I am thankful that despite weather problems, I was still able to arrive in Glenside (a minor inconvenience getting to the hotel at 3AM rather than 7PM). I was grateful that I had decided to fly in the day before the show, correctly foreseeing scenarios that would end up with me missing the show.

Besides finding write-ups at the obvious place, the set list can be found over at Zogworld and Tony Levin has already posted pictures from the show

The highlights of the show for me were hearing two songs from Larks Tongue in Aspic, and significant amount of material from the Discipline and Double Trio eras. Strangely, a review of Tuesday show mentioned that they did not play Sleepless, which I felt they did exceptionally well.

The lowlights for me were some problems with the sound (obvious clipping in the PA when Tony Levin's stick or the Kick Drums hit a strong note) and an interpretive dance troupe of 3, situated about 6 rows in front of me. Later joined by another spastic performance in the middle section.

Quite surprisingly, Robert Fripp seemed quite jovial despite hiding behind his rack. It was quite unusual to see him standing at stage right with a beaming smile, applauding the other members, at the end of the show and the two encores.

All I can say is that I hope they continue touring. I regret not going to the Tuesday show and hearing about the Nashville warm-up gigs, too late.