Your friendly, neighborhood Monk is right now still on a three figure ticket high. Something that very rarely occurs in my universe. But it’s not every day that a mind-melting eight-man King Crimson lineup comes within striking distance of yours truly. I have seen KC three times before; all very different experiences and they seemingly gave up the ghost around 2006-7. Robert Fripp’s announced retirement from music occurred in 2012 and I figured that was that. Except that a year later his strife with UMG was finally tabled and he put forth a vision of a new KC lineup with three drummers up front and four musicians on the backline.
The tours began three years ago in cities around the world far from the Monk’s Record Cell. In January, dates were announced for America with nothing coming close. Fall dates were promised, and I made certain even before that to sign up for the DGM mailing list, so that the second dates were announced I could pounce. A fat lot of good that did me! I saw the US Fall 2017 dates announced on the web about a fortnight ago, and yesssss, they were playing in nearby Raleigh, at the superb venue that the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra normally uses. I’ve seen the Magnetic Fields there, and it’s a primo venue. There were two dates in equally nearby Atlanta at Centerstage, an intimate venue I first saw The Cocteau Twins at in 1990. A great room, but I was aiming for Raleigh. My friend Tom in nearby Chapel Hill might want to attend with me; we’ll see.
This morning I wondered what was up. The last time I looked, there was no ticket info of any kind given, save for the ultra-posh VIP package for $365 directly from King Crimson, only. Yes, just a dollar-a-day nets you:
- Access to the venue one hour before doors
- Central Seating Rows 1-6
- Insights into the world of King Crimson and DGM by David Singleton, producer and manager (“the ninth man”)
- Q&A with one of the eight band members
- Programme/Photograph signed by all the members
- Exclusive VIP Laminate
- Exclusive Royal Package Tote Bag
Nice. I particularly found the Q+A an intriguing and creative way to “separate me from my hard-earned cash®” but that was too rich for my blood. So I went to the DGM site and clicked a few buttons. Gott Im Himmell! The Raleigh dates were already on sale! They had $57-$202 price spread apart from the DGM VIP seating. I emailed Tom and pressed him to see if he wanted to go. Then, 10 minutes later [remembering that Tom rarely responds to emails] I had a moment of clarity and thought “I’d better buy first and ask questions later!”
I looked at the seating arrangement:
Hmm. There were only 45 seats left in the center $57 section. This is King Crimson, in an eight-man lineup performing music they have not touched in 40+ years on these shows! True! All of the dates I saw in the 90s/00s pulled nothing earlier than the title cut from “Lark’s Tongues In Aspic.” This time, Mel Collins, who hailed from the 1970 KC lineup on sax, was back playing with Fripp for the first time in 45 years and set lists revealed they were playing music from not only “In The Court Of The Crimson King” that I never heard a note of, but crucially, songs [including my favorite] from “Lizard,” the divisive third KC album that went the furthest into jazz territory and is a personal favorite of mine from their “early period.”
With that thought, the B section called out to me. The third row in section B could be mine for $127.15 + fees. I bought two tickets. Just a minute and a half later, for a $315.76 total, I [and possibly my friend] were going to see a brain-melting King Crimson incarnation in just three months. If my friend is not interested, I am certain I’ll have no problem flipping that ticket.
So right now my mind is still racing! This is the tour I have most wanted to see for the last three years and I am fully charged up with excess voltage. They are adding one cover to their set lists these days. David Bowie’s “Heroes.” To hear Robert Fripp playing that iconic guitar solo live is certainly worth three figures, yes? Here’s another reason why, courtesy of bassist/stick player Tony Levin, explaining how a recent performance of “The ConstruKction Of Light” went terribly wrong in a recent slow:
“By now, we certainly knew we had a problem about how to bring this piece together. There’s no just counting ‘one two three four’ when one player’s in 28/8 and others in 7/4 offset a quarter note from each other, and the drummers waiting to join in in 15/8 to signal finally getting beyond the verses!” – Tony Levin
Chaos on stage because Levin waited four beats at one point instead of the prescribed six. Does all of that talk of multiple, complex time signatures make your spine tingle, too? If not, then you may not share my Prog Roots. How about this breakdown of Fripp and Levin’s onstage gear? Old habits die hard, I guess but not even all the punk rock in the world can get this rarefied level of technique out of my system fully. At least, this band won’t be in elaborate capes and ice skates. Care to indulge yourself? It is possible to attend without incurring too much financial damage. I am a notorious cheapskate when it comes to ticket prices and this is the first time I’ve ever gone this high when not buying festival tickets, but I suggest that this is not the time to be meek. Radical Action is called for!
King Crimson | Radical Action US Fall Tour | 2017
19 Oct | Bass Concert Hall | Austin, TX
21 Oct | Music Hall @ Fair Park | Dallas, TX
23 Oct | Center Stage | Atlanta, GA
24 Oct | Center Stage | Atlanta, GA
26 Oct | Duke Energy Centre For The Performing Arts | Raleigh, NC
28 Oct | Lisner Auditorium | Washington D.C.
29 Oct | Lisner Auditorium | Washington D.C.
31 Oct | New Jersey Performing Arts Centre | Newark, NJ
02 Nov | Merriam Theatre | Philadelphia, PA
03 Nov | Merriam Theatre | Philadelphia, PA
06 Nov | Orpheum Theatre | Boston, MA
08 Nov | The Egg | Albany, NY
09 Nov | The Egg | Albany, NY
11 Nov | Miller Symphony Hall | Allentown, PA
17 Nov | Beacon Theatre | New York, NY
18 Nov | Beacon Theatre | New York, NY
20 Nov | Palace Theater | Greensburg, PA
22 Nov | Michigan Theatre | Ann Arbor, MI
24 Nov | Hard Rock Rocksino | Cleveland, OH
26 Nov | Riverside Theatre | Milwaukee, WI
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