Now it struck me that I've seen most of the King Crimson alumni playing live now (with the exception of Boz Burrell, Gordon Haskell and some of the lesser known contributors) and this concert was to be the first time I'd see Greg Lake performing. I'd never bothered with his 90s stint with ELP, so when this concert was announced I thought I'd give it a go, not really knowing what to expect.
What I got for my money was a lightning fast gallop through Lake's back catalogue featuring material from King Crimson, ELP and his own solo career. Unlike some of the KC singers out there, Lake still has managed to retain his vocal prowess and it is a big old voice he has there, very impressive. The band was very tight too, though the guitarist Florian Opahle (who looked so young that he might have had to have gotten a note from his mum to appear with Lake) while accomplished, was prone to hard rock widdling and posing. His addition of "wah-wah" guitar to "In the Court of the Crimson King" actually made me laugh out loud...and this was the opening song. Even so, the performances were good and the music intact. Some of the songs didn't do much for me as I am not a follower of Lake's solo career and the band's attempt at "Pictures at an Exhibition" seemed to descend into mush, but it was worth it for the more up-tempo tracks such as "Paper Blood", "Fanfare for the Common Man" and "Touch and Go". I was upset that "Still You Turn Me On" wasn't featured, but we got a decent represenation of "From the Beginning" instead.
I didn't expect the music to touch me in anyway, but about halfway through "Lucky Man" I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck beginning to stand on end. The music was working. And it was a double punch when they followed up this great performance with an absolutely knock-out version of "21st Century Schizoid Man" - I was mightily impressed with the tightness of the performance, the drummer held it together very well and the syncopated stop/start sections were simply brilliant. Yes - I'd got my ticket's worth!
To finish off, while some of the songs weren't exactly to my taste and some of the arrangements were just a little bit too "balls out rock" for my liking, it was a very enjoyable evening and I am glad that we got the chance to see Mr Lake doing his thing. As I said to The Missus in the car on the journey home: "It's prog, Jim, but not as we know it".