In the Court of the Reanimated Skeletal Remains of the Crimson King

Travelled down to NYC to see someone else play (for a change). King Crimson were wrapping up a mini-tour to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the band. We (Stone Document plus auxiliary) went to Friday (Aug 15) night’s show at the Nokia Theater in Times Square. The area around Broadway has to be one of my least favourite places given my intense and seething hatred for Musical Theatre (what’s the emoticon for a sneer?) but the Nokia is a pretty nice venue in spite of it’s locale.

Got there in plenty of time, got in line to be searched (for elicit recording gear presumably), got in (Soundscaping was already audible from the theater) , grabbed a Tanq & Tonic and headed for the merch table. Always good to do your shopping early (before liquid refreshments influence your spending restraint). Snagged a couple shirts and headed for my seat. Relatively far-ish from the stage tho’ the Nokia isn’t that big to begin with. Saw a handful of NY-area Crafties floating around including Tony Geballe (composer/guitarist extraordinaire and producer of a couple tracks on the Stone Document CD) and Tom Redmond (the driving force behind the Hellboys – more on them later).

The show was:

– brilliant
– happy
– occasionally sloppy
– the very welcome return of Tony Levin
– poorly mixed (from my vantage point)
– stolen by Gavin Harrison (new drummer and percussive foil for Pat Mastelotto)
– great mix of post ’80 Crimson (with Red and Larks 2 thrown in)

When the new band lineup was announced the 2 things I was most excited about were the return of Tony Levin and the addition of Gavin Harrison. Tony spent the bulk of the evening playing Stick (I’ve since restarted my Stick practice regimen – I’ve been schooled). The material he didn’t originally play on was the most enjoyable (making parts played by Trey Gunn and John Wetton his own). My only complaint was the bass sound on Sleepless. The Funk Fingers were all thwack and no boom.

There were times where the drumming duo of Pat and Gavin sounded like one guy with 4 arms and 5 legs. Remarkable!
Adrian was… Adrian (what can be said?). The perfect frontman for this band. Robert appeared to be enjoying himself and his playing showed it, too. I know I sound like a vapid fanboy but I can’t find words to describe what he can do with a guitar. Maybe I need Adrian’s thesaurus. Ya just gotta listen.

The audience was enthusiastic although there were a couple of guys near me kvetching about not being able to see Robert for the stack of racks and equipment he had downstage between him and the audience. “After all dese years and he’s hidin’ behind dose things!” I think it was more a comfortable (ergonomic) set up for him and less a Roger Waters-style Wall between performer and audience. If that’s what necessary for him to be able to get onstage then that’s what it takes. I was lucky enough to be seated where I could see him pretty well. Kind of a shame I couldn’t hear him some of the time. My comment after the show was “I liked the band best when Robert was in it.”

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