The evening began with a quirky pre-recorded introduction requesting tonight’s audience to refrain from any recording and photography during the ensuing concert. And was met with a hearty round of applause as Robert Fripp further demanded, “let’s have a party”!
As the seats filled up with men of a certain age, I couldn’t help but think that there must be swathes of empty sheds somewhere in London and its surrounding counties.
However, following this public information broadcast the main entertainment of the evening commenced with all players filing onstage. Then the three front of stage drummers commenced to beat out an impressive percussive tattoo.
If drums could talk then the clatter, chatter and communication between the three skins-men immediately grabbed the attention of the rapt crowd. Even more so as Fripp played a dissonant chordal backdrop of sonics.
Suddenly breaking into the hypnotic cadence of Indiscipline, Jakko Jakszyk added syncopating guitar lines, alongside Fripp, as he sang lead vocals on Frame By Frame. The guitars, bass and sax squabbled out a rhythmic maze of sound.
Fripp playing the mighty mellotron keyboard air to Court of Crimson King, was like a musical bailiff banging on monumental doors to loot the musical jewels within on this prog rock royal anthem. This is dark matter music as brain cells exploded in the minds of the shocked and awed Crimson congregation.
Beneath the entropic sound of musical molecules smashing into each other, there’s a finely tuned craft in the chaos. This is evidenced by the tour de force of Drumzilla, Cirkus and an off the scale Lizard.
The tour debut of Peace: An End delighted the diehard as Pictures of a City concluded the ’sturm and drang’ of the first set.
You know you’re at an old school prog/muso show when the obligatory interval reveals queues for the gents three times longer than that for the ladies. All of whom were looking for slight relief from the finely tuned bedlam they just experienced
Resuming, Fripp’s ferocious, apocalyptic sonics on CatalytiKc No. 9, The Letters and Neurotic made sure nobody moved more than their mental muscles once back in their seats.
Discordance is something Crimson, in all of their variations, has excelled at; testing the ears and mental well-being of their most ardent fans.
However, a regal Epitaph and Islands, songs that John Wetton supremely voiced, brought out the best in Jakko’s vocal delivery this evening.
Furthermore, Jakko stretched his vocal cords to the extreme as the combined players almost sucked out all the oxygen from the hall on a brutal Easy Money.
Under red neon lights, Starless played out like a black hole being formed from its colliding sounds and molecular, musical madness.
Tonight, King Crimson wore the gleaming crown of progressive, expressionist and dissonant sonic discipline with pride.
Moreover, Crimson shocked, soothed but mostly awed their devoted disciples into sweet submission this evening.
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Event Date: 20-June-2019