The mighty King Crimson held court in Lewiston N.Y last Friday night. The current seven-piece lineup is Crimson leader Robert Fripp’s most ambitious and creative to date, and that is saying a lot considering the band’s alumni and importance over their storied history.
The current lineup has been together since 2013 and surprised many fans because Fripp had expressed he no longer wanted to tour with Crimson. The longevity and relative stability of the current lineup is a testament to the fan’s acceptance of its place in the legacy of the band.
The set drew from all eras of King Crimson, relying the most on the group’s iconic debut, “In the Court of the Crimson King,” and the group’s 1974 release “Red.”
The drum trio in the front of the stage drove the intensity of the show, as Fripp directed the show from the upper right section of the stage, grinning with approval as the night went on.
Crimson’s shows forbid the use of cell phones, which meant that not only were there no distractions from fans, it created an atmosphere where the audience was transfixed on the band and all of the musical magic that was happening onstage. The subtle glances between members underscored the complexity of the material they were performing.
Jakko Jakszyk handled all of the lead vocal duties, and it didn’t matter if he were singing a part originally sung by Greg Lake, John Wetton or Adrian Belew, his vocals were perfect especially on “Epitaph,” and “Starless.”
The group moved seamlessly through musical highs and lows, sounding like a progressive rock band at some points and a thunderous metal band at other times. All the band’s members switched between instruments, with drummer Jeremy Stacey handling keyboards on some tracks and bassists extraordinaire Tony Levin swapping between bass, Chapman stick and Mel Collins filling in parts with saxophone or flute.
The two-hour set was the perfect length, and the sound quality and mix could not have been any better, which was no small feat considering the quantity of instruments onstage. This lineup proved without a doubt that they are worthy of the name King Crimson.
Lark’s Tongues in Aspic, Part One
One More Red Nightmare
Lark’s Tongues in Aspic, Part Two
Radical Action II
The Court of the Crimson King (with Coda)
21st Century Schizoid Man (with Gavin Harrison drum solo)
*There was no photography allowed for this show*
We would like to thank Dave Wedekindt for the tickets to review the show.