“Embrace the moment,” the soothing, English-accented voice instructed the audience in the recorded pre-show announcement. Advising us in no uncertain terms not to even consider using our cell phones, it went on to say, “Use your ears to record and your eyes to video.”
The voice, of course, belonged to Robert Fripp, the leader and one of the founding members of legendary progressive rock group King Crimson, whose first album was released a mere 45 years ago. And lo and behold, the audience, which largely consisted of middle-aged males, obeyed. The two-hour concert was performed with a blissful lack of electronic distractions and blinking lights, allowing the ecstatic crowd to enter the trance-like state that the music clearly demanded.
This incarnation of the group, and there have innumerable ones in its long, on-off history, is its most expansive and possibly its best yet. Certainly, such past members as singer/guitarist Adrian Belew and drummer Bill Bruford, among others, will be sorely missed by longtime fans. But there’s no denying the stunning instrumental virtuosity of this line-up consisting of players that have either been in previous versions or who have a history with Fripp. Its most notable element is its line-up of three, count ‘em, three drummers (Bill Rieflin, Pat Mastelotto and Gavin Harrison), who were lined up at the foot of the stage like a percussive murderer’s row. This Crimson also included Tony Levin on bass and Chapman Stick, Mel Collins on flute and sax, and Jakko Jakszyk on guitar and vocals.
The show at once managed to dig deep into their repertoire, including many songs dating back to the ‘70s, and seem forward thinking as well, with new arrangements that showcased the expanded line-up. Numbers like “Lark’s Tongues in Aspic, Parts One and Two,” “Red,” “Pictures of a City” and “Starless” incited immediate frenzied reactions.
Currently available from Bill Bruford:
|The Summerfold Collection 1987-2008|
DCD - £9.99
|The Winterfold Collection 1979-1986|
CD - £7.99
|Bruford And The Beat |
DVD - £9.99
|Sampler And Interview |
DVD - £9.99
|An Introduction To Bill Bruford's Winterfold Records|
CD - £3.99