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My King Crimson Experiences

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My King Crimson Experiences

Postby Indyrod on Sat May 24, 2003 5:01 am

My first King Crimson concert, was November 26th, 2001, the "Level Five" tour. I had really only become a Crimson fan a few months before after hearing the Crimson King on a local sometimes Prog. Rock station. It just perked my interest, since I had always liked that particular song, and I decided to buy the "ITCOTCK" remaster, and also "The Construction of Light" and "Discipline". After listening to those for awhile, my interest progressed rapidly, and I bought "Red", "Larks Tongue in Aspic", and "Starless and Bible Black". I really didn't even care for LTIA that much at first, but Fracture from SABB caught my interest. After I listened to "Red" for the first time, and heard Starless for the first time, I was hooked. After more repeated listenings of LTIA and SABB, I finally caught on to the amazing music I was discovering for myself. Never had I heard anything even approaching the precision and unusual time signatures that those CDs introduced to me. "Discipline" is actually the CD that changed my music listening experience to what it is today. Although Starless knocked me out as a song, it was the complete album "Discipline" that sealed the deal. After that, there was no turning back just moving forward, by looking back into the history of King Crimson.

While all of these new discoveries were going on with me, I was driving home from work one day, and just by accident heard a short promo about King Crimson appearing here in town. At first, I thought, this is going to be strange for a lot of people, because I don't think they are the Schizoid Man band anymore. I read and read on the Net about Crimson, ET, album reviews, concert reviews, especially from the TCOL tour, because I figured that would be the music they would be playing. In my search for information, I came across KCNN, and decided to join and learn as much as I could. I joined KCNN about two weeks before the November 2001 show, and also the Yahoo King Crimson club, and actually the Yahoo Club gave me the most information. The Forum at KCNN was rather small at that time, but the Yahoo Group had years of posts and was much more informative. I read about the Level Five tour, and that new music was being performed, never before appearing on a studio album. I had already bought my ticket, but I wanted to educate myself as much as I could before the actual concert date. So when the day of the concert came around, I knew about as much as anybody what to expect at that concert, "I Thought".

The night of the concert, I was pretty excited, drove downtown, parked right in front of the venue, and could see, there was not really much of a crowd there. The venue was perfect for Crimson, because it is known for having about the best accoustics in town, even though the place was only about a third full. There were probably less than a thousand there, in a venue that holds about three thousand. I had chose my seat in the front middle of the balcony, because I wanted to be able to see the entire stage. That was a good choice, because the audio is perfect there, and there is no obstruction to viewing the performance. Another reason that I wasted no time in getting my ticket for the show, is because John Paul Jones was opening, and I didn't even know he had a band anymore. Zeppelin being one of my favorite bands of all time, made the night even more exciting for me. Actually, I was probably more pumped about seeing JPJ, than I was seeing KC, because KC at that time was more of a curiosity for me, and a learning experience. Just the thought of seeing a former Zeppelin was amazing, and I really didn't know all that much about Robert Fripp. All of that was slowing changing, as I was turning into a Crimhead after that astounding night.

As I settled in for the start of the concert, I talked a little to the people on each side of me, and to my amazement, I knew more about KC that any of them did. Of course, when I research something, I go to extraordinary lengths to become as informed as I can possibly be. The guy on the right was young, in fact a starving graphics artist, so we talked more about computers and graphics than music, but he really didn't know much about Crim, except they were a pretty famous group from the early seventies. The couple on my left, had come to hear Schizoid Man, Epitaph, Crimson King, and didn't have a clue what they were about to experience. Hell, nobody knew what they were about to experience, except the guys I talked to at the break, that had been driving around following the band.

The time finally came, the lights went down, and JPJ and his drummer and stick player came on stage, and immediately ripped into Zooma and Grind. Holy shit, the music was really loud, which I liked very much, and it just rocked the joint. I had never seen a Chapman Stick before, in fact, I didn't even know what it was. All I knew, it was a band with two bass players, and drums, and how unique that was. JPJ played for just about a full hour of excellent rock 'n' roll, and everybody was enjoying the hell out of it. It was truly a great performance, with even a couple of Zep tunes, so even those fans were greatly satisfied. JPJ played many different guitars, all sorts and sizes, to give very creative sounds, and some heavy headbanging rock. So, JPJ had done his job, and at that time, I was wondering, how will this new King Crimson follow that. HA!! That was definitely not going to be a problem, as I soon found out. During the break, I went downstairs, mingled around, talked to a few people, and ran into the couple that sat to my left and their party of friends, and decided to join in to their chatting. I asked them, what were they expecting to hear tonight from KC. Everybody had the same answer, oh, they couldn't wait to hear Schizoid Man, Crimson King, whatever they've came up with since then. I thought to myself, man oh man, these people are either going to be NEW Crimson fans, or very sorry they even came to the show. Like me however, seeing JPJ, they had already got their moneys worth, regardless of whether they enjoyed Crim or not. I had already been to the mechandise stand, and picked up the "Level Five", and "BMP@M" discs, so I went back to my seat to checkout the setup.

The lights went down again, and I started hearing this strange music which I couldn't even put into words. It sounded like a symphony orchestra warming up, but it seemed to have a little structure to it, but not much. Of course, now I know amongst many other things, that it was Fripp's soundscapes. As the band took the stage and their positions,

[more to come, as I remember it]
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Part 2

Postby Indyrod on Sun May 25, 2003 1:07 am

Continued:

The first song started with a slow pounding tempo, that reminded me a little of Zeppelin's "Kasmir". It was an amazing opening song, one of the most perfect of nearly any concert I have attended. I couldn't identify it, and it just grew and grew, like climbing a mountain, or more like an orgasm building to that eventual climax. It was "Dangerous Curves" of course, and just about when I felt like my jaw was already lying on the floor, it moved on into "Into the Frying Pan", which I recognized immediately, being one of my favorite tracks from TCOL. The thing was, I knew Adrian was not in good voice, from reading reviews of the St. Louis and Chicago shows that preceded this one, so I was not sure what to expect, if anything as far as vocals. The next tune was also new, and from the start, I identified it as being similar to something from "Discipline", with the amazing interlocking guitars. Great song, and Ade announced it as being "EleKtriK", a great name by the way. Since it wasn't on my newly purchased "Level Five" disc, this was indeed a work in process, and a big hit with most of the audience. Next they just flat out tore into TCOL, playing it flawlessly, and rising the bar again, as expectations had already been surpassed. Without any pause at all, they went after that directly into "VROOOM", followed by the "Marine 475 Coda", and I was out of breath. Amazing, just amazing.

Now it was time for some breathing, when those familiar "Elephant Talk" riffs started smacking off the walls of the concert hall. A giant cheer went up, and Ade did a great job, under the circumstances with the vocals. ET was definitely a crowd favorite, as a standing ovation followed it. After that, something else new was happening, as jingles and jangles started filling the hall, with P@ pulling out all the stops. What a great new song, this one had enormous potential, and seemed like it might be also a work in progress. It was of course, "Virtuous Circle". Again, without even a pause, all hell, and I mean HELL broke loose, as "Larks IV" took off in relentless fashion. This was like a nightmare, but the kind I like, as fire and brimstone projected from the stage, and I felt in some other world, as it just flat out brought me into a whole different zone. I closed my eyes, letting the power, the violence, the terror, the extreme horror of Larks IV take me completely over. I was on a trip, and completely sober too, as with Crimson, no extra stimulants are necessary, the music is the only drug you need. When it started winding down, it went into the vocal version of the Coda, and gently let me come down, even though the lyrics are still about horror and violence, it is a very beautiful end to Larks IV. I struggled to breathe, it was something only a music fanatic can relate to, that moment, when you know the band has you by the crotch, and you hope it doesn't let go. As the Coda completed, the band slowly walked off the stage, and the applause started. Standing ovations, and screaming for more, and I just couldn't believe what I had just witnessed. Well, not everybody had experienced the rapture as I did, as the couples to my left took off. All I could do, was shake my head, it definitely is a plus in anybody's life, to be informed. Yep, this was not the Schizoid band anymore folks, this is a whole new dimension in music. Many loved it, but also several had no clue as to what the hell was going on.

After a few minutes, Trey came back on stage, P@ got back into his rack, and Robert found his resting spot on his famous chair. Something phenomenal was about to happen, as those magical moments we know as "The Deception of the Thrush" began to unfold. What majesty, what a totally unique piece of music, which I had never heard before. Yes, my very first experience of hearing this Crimson classic, and it blew me away. How in the hell, did they do that? This to me meant, I had a lot more reading to do. As "Thrush" came to its beautiful conclusion, Ade came back on stage, and everything that had occurred before this moment was just about to go a notch higher. The highest point to me of the concert, just flat out knocked me back into that zone again, as "Level Five" took command. What a fucking ride, this was of course brand spanking new, and from what I had read before the concert, I thought this might be the jaw dropping "L5" everybody was talking about. Again, my eyes closed, my brain filled with visions of destruction, chaos, horror, heavy fucking metal, like other bands only dreamed about playing. Even though "Larks IV" had tore the roof off the sucker, "Level Five" just caused the whole building to shake, and I had goose bumps running throughout my body, and I knew this was the top of the heap, the crown on the King. As monumental as "Larks IV" and everything else had been, "L5" was the jewel of the concert. The one song that stood out from all the rest, and it wasn't even on a recording yet. What am I saying, I had a jewel case in my sack, that had "Level Five" on the cover!!!! YES!!!! Again, my senses on total red alert, my jaw laying fraKctured on the floor, I didn't just stand up cheering, I jumped up waving my hands, yelling, screaming, clapping, as Crim slowly exited the stage again, with the whole venue in a total frenzy. We had just witnessed an exercise in perfection, by a band that could not be compared to anybody. Every other band I had ever seen, suddenly started to fall into categories, places on the bookshelf, a specific spot in the cd rack, a pile on the floor, but not this band, not King Crimson, this was a band nobody could touch, no other band in existence had moved me in the way Crimson did, it was a totally unique out of body experience. I had become a Crimhead, I knew it, this was just the beginning of a long friendship, and dedication to buying, talking, living, being consumed, by all things Crim.

All these wonderous feelings were going through my body, and finally my consciousness returned to the roar of the crowd, my own endless clapping, yelling out for more, and again, Crimson returned to the stage. Like a heat seeking missle, the band propelled itself, and the audience into a frantic version of the classic "Red". The perfect song to end the evening, a jewel from the past. It was an excellent performance of "Red", very heavy, and it seemed to me, since there were very few vocals or even words from the stage, that they put just that much more energy into the amazing music. It was a perfect concert, perfect music, perfect evening, and I was in a daze as the music concluded. Fripp came back and bowed to the audience, as the cheering went on endlessly. The whole band was standing on stage thanking us all, and all I could think, was sheesh guys, we are thanking you for the experience of a lifetime.

As I left my seat, walking down the stairs, I noticed people with stunned looks on their face, and I'm sure I appeared the same way. It was like, we had just witnessed something too powerful to even put into words at that time. The electricity was still running at high voltage through my body, and it was going to take awhile to come down. My one nagging question, was what were the names of some of those new songs, and I want to know for sure, if that monster that sent me into orbit, was "Level Five". And as I reached my car, I ripped open the "Level Five" CD, popped it in the player, and went directly to the "Level Five" track. Yep, of course, that was it, so the feeling could continue, as I listened to that disc twice more that night, before finally hitting the sack. Little did I know, that the strange album cover my Brother (six years younger) had, that I found one day at my Parent's home would have such an impact on my life right now, some 30 years later. I knew of King Crimson back in the early seventies, because my Brother had the ITCOTCK album, but I was not a fan. Although, Schizoid Man, and Crimson King were songs that always stayed with me, and as I said in the beginning of this, Crimson King playing on the radio was what brought me into all of this. Now, I've just finished playing the first disc of "The Great Deceiver" box, and started the second disc which is into the Glasgow show. How, and I mean how, could I be so stupid, as to wait this long to get this magnificent collection? Over and out, hope you enjoyed this little adventure, as much as I did remembering it all.
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Postby Indyrod on Fri Apr 16, 2004 6:53 pm

Instead of replying in the KC "First Concert" experience Topic, I will direct you again to this story.
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