Saturday, August 23, 2008

King Crimson at the Nokia Theatre

Robert Fripp is either an evil genius or someone's disapproving grandfather. Seated behind his rack of effects, Gibson in hand, plucking away in gamelonian counterpoint to Adrian Belew's animated strumming, slight scowl on his face, Fripp - who was just visible from my excellent seat - looked like he was either trying to direct the show from a hidden bunker 30 stories underground (you know, like an evil genius, or an evil guy who happens to be a genius with his guitar playing), or glaring at the crazy kids and their rock music (you know, like someone's grandfather, an impression helped by Fripp being the only member of the band with completely white hair). Occasionally Belew would do something particularly expressive with his guitar and Fripp would crack a grin, but that was the exception; Fripp even shuttled himself off to one side during the applause, staying out of the stage lights and away from the glory. It was an experience only slightly more unique than seeing King Crimson itself.

I mentioned seats above; that was another unique element of this concert: everyone had assigned seats. I had no problem with this arrangement, in part because my seat was so good, but also because the seats (and the temperature-controlled atmosphere) removed the physical discomfort I felt the last time I saw Tony Levin perform; the aching legs, the dehydration, etc. that probably played a large factor in that night's disturbed sleep. That's not to say I want to have seats every time I go to rock, but when the point is to sit back and groove, to watch a piece of performance art that's as much like ballet or theatre as it as like rock concert, it's better to do so seated, comfortable, relaxed.

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