Two Days ’til the Mighty Crim

I’m an enthusiastic music listener, lover and pusher, always happy to find new things, always happy to share them. I love to read about music and musicians, and have a large library of criticism and biography, and it satisfies me to find the places and spaces where intellectual (e.g. this is good because . . . ) and emotional (e.g. this makes me want to jump up and down and scream . . . ) responses are well-balanced and proportionate. I’m not generally apt to get overly gushy or fanboy-like about many artists accordingly, as much as I may adore them.

King Crimson are one of the rare exceptions to this rule. I can wax philosophical about them (and often do), but once in the presence of their music on the stereo, I generally tend to fall into raptures and reveries of the sorts normally reserved for mystical experiences and village idiot moments. The Crim are basically capable of turning me into a geeky 13-year old fanboy with hey-presto rapidity.

Robert Fripp, the only constant in their 40-year history, is my favorite guitarist, and also a masterful musical, ethical, social, and business theorist who has written some of the most thought-provoking and attitude-shaping (for me) pieces of rock-related literature that I’ve ever read. Plus he really, really loves his wife and isn’t afraid to say it, a trait which I admire (and share). He has been writing an online diary for ages, well before blogs became the in-thing online, and his views on the music industry and life in general are oftentimes sublime and illuminating.

In May 1998, I laid eyes and ears on Fripp and company for the first (and until this Saturday night) last time, during a show at Valentine’s in Albany by ProjeKCt Two, a “fractal” subset of the then-six-piece King Crimson featuring Fripp, Adrian Belew (playing drums) and Trey Gunn (playing Warr Guitar). I reviewed the show for Metroland, and there’s a copy of the review on the Discipline Global Mobile site, here.

The wrap-up of what I wrote focussed on the potential emotional peril of seeing someone or something you deeply admire and respect, and then being disappointed by what you experience. Fortunately, that didn’t occur that night, as the mostly improvised performance literally moved me to tears at points, it was so beautiful, powerful, and life-affirming to stand in its presence.

I am going to stand in it again soon, as I am off to see King Crimson at the Nokia Theatre in New York City this Saturday night, and I’m already getting butterflies at the thought. The group now features Fripp, Belew, bassist Tony Levin (who I’ve seen and reviewed in Albany a few times as well) and drummers Pat Mastellotto and Gavin Harrison. Reviews of earlier shows on the tour have been rapturous.

I can’t wait.

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