The big one: King Crimson plus heavy friends in a sold-out Dome. Light-prog fans were at the conference centre grooving to the Australian Dave (excuse me, David) Gilmour Show hearing and watching what sounded like the same heritage Floyd show. Fripp had collated 3 drummers (one doubling on keyboards), Tony Levin, Mel Collins, and Jakko Jakszyk, and while there were plenty of old tracks (three from “The Court of the Crimson King”, “Larks Tongues in Aspic”, “Easy Money”, “Red”, etc.), some these had not been played sometimes for 40-plus years. Minimal lighting, minimal amplification (but astonishing sound), and advice to sit back and just go with the music meant this felt a more adult event, and not just a re-living of smoke-filled afternoons in late-adolescent bedrooms. Intense, complicated music the way King Crimson fans like it flowed over the crowd, somewhere between heavy metal, chamber music, and psychedelic -progressive music. Two hours passed in minutes though Fripp had minimal engagement with the audience.
What do you think? Men of a certain age, blokes who looked like my accountant, many fathers and sons (saving long-suffering wives from a night of pain), and Tommy Saxondale and Mags-lookalikes wishing they were at the Brighton Conference Centre hearing “Shine on you Crazy Diamond” again. All listened raptly, with no distractions from the music.
It made me think..
I’m a big progressive music fan, but even I have to admit some of it is hokey and for nostalgic purposes only, and the tropes (dry ice, stacked keyboards, psychedelic-whimsical songs with some classical doggerel to dress them up as more serious than they really are) somewhat tired. King Crimson are a more mature version of the music and have always been a more grown-up pleasure. This could not have been a better concert either in the content, or the mature style and presentation.