It’s killin’ me, not having any viable way to get to see the Seven- (now Eight-) Headed Beast of Crim on what by pretty much all accounts is a fairly amazing tour. It doesn’t help that much of my TwitFace feed is occupied by Crafties, who understand better than almost anyone how to listen to a muse like Crimson’s, and who are pretty unanimously agog at this most recent group’s efforts, but then there is press such as this, to which I am simply not accustomed. Therefrom:
To be crystal clear: King Crimson 2014-2017 is unequivocally not a tribute band, a legacy band or any other of the epithets applied to so many bands from back in the day that have reformed in recent times to capitalize on the burgeoning progressive rock revival of the past couple of decades. In fact, Crimson sits alongside Van der Graaf Generator as, perhaps, one of but a few bands of such longevity to not only reinvigorate its older material with a fresh approach, but to add new material that, with its own distinctive personality, fits as comfortably and with as much strength as the music that made it famous in the first place. And while VdGG remains a thrilling live act that has, out of necessity, been forced to rearrange its material for the trio version that emerged following co-founder David Jackson’s departure after its 2005 comeback album Present (Virgin/Charisma, 2005) and accompanying tour, Crimson’s approach to much of its 40+ year-old material— barring those where the signatures are so prevalent as to demand greater literalism—is far, far freer.
Bookmarked, here, for its simple utility in being a reference for anyone who wants a crash course on Crim in context. It’s long, but it kinda has to be, too. It’s also worth reading!
And of course there are always Tony Levin’s road diaries, which are always insightful and not infrequently amusing as well. From one recent entry:
And a Crimson train wreck is, well, not like other bands… a King Crimson train wreck takes out the whole train station. And maybe the town it’s in!
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!
One of the things I have always loved and appreciated about KC is the willingness to take huge risks. What’s cool is to hear of so many opinions that mirror my own experience, that sometimes they fall flat on their faces…but the other times make all the train wrecks more than worth it!
So, I’m stoked that things seem to be working so well, but heartbroken that I may not get to see it before it’s concluded!