The Life Of Ponty Cyclops

By pontycyclops

King Crimson - Saint David's Hall

Random Concert Alert!

I had a phone call from my old work mate Gareth the day before yesterday. He said what are you doing Thursday night? I explained that we had crammed as many meetings into this week so we had a clear run until we went to Madeira at the end of the month. Why I asked. He said he had a ticket to go and see King Crimson, his treat, would I want to go ... I said I would re-arrange my diary!

And so I found myself dashing into Cardiff tonight to meet him for a night of classic prog!

I bought him dinner in the Grazing Shed as a thanks! I think he ate one of the biggest burgers I have ever seen! I think he enjoyed it.

So we settled down in the gods (the first time I have been in Tier 6 for a long long time!). There was no support act, just two and a half hours in the company of messers Gavin Harrison, Bill Rieflin and Pat Mastelotto; Tony Levin (bass, vocals), Mel Collins (sax, flute), and Jakko Jakszyk (guitar, vocals) and of course the ever present legend that is Robert Fripp.

The first three people on that list all playing drums! I mean this is prog, and I did wonder why they stopped at three drummers.

They opened with Larks Tongues In Aspic. We were a little perplexed, as the hall was still about a third empty when they started. I am pretty sure it was all but sold out. It became apparent that something was amiss when people started to file in in the middle of the song.

We spoke to the guy next to us who said the tickets said King Crimson + Guests, so they were out in the bar not bothering to come in to see the support act, when they realised there wasn't one. St David's Hall has a policy of not letting people in until a break in the songs. Of course, we are talking prog here so that could be a good 20 minutes in, as was the case here! Faced with a near riot they began letting people in.

Whilst I have a little bit of sympathy for a misleading ticket information, I have little people who chose of their own free will to get there after a clearly started start time. I was even more annoyed by the late comer in front of us who promptly whipped out his phone and started filming despite there being repeating requests not to photograph or film the gig. (This is why you only have a end of concert photo here after the encores have finished). Him and his mate also got up to get to the toilet each shortly after sitting down, and promptly buggered off after about an hour of sitting there. I wondered why they had forked out the £37 to come at all! To be honest I was glad they went.

I am not a huge King Crimson fan, and like most I own just Court Of The Crimson King and a couple of others. So most of the songs were unknown to me. This did not spoil my enjoyment one bit. The incredible interplay between the musicians on stage (even in the self indulgent endless noodles!) was just incredible. A bit like the Dweezil Zappa gig a couple of years back I did wonder at times for whose benefit this was all for, as it did go into the deeper and more darker areas of prog, but that just me. Gareth seemed to be enjoying it!

There were plenty of drum solos between the three percussionists, and the night rattled along quite nicely.

The encore made me a very happy man indeed! They finished with Court Of The Crimson King and 21st Century Schizoid Man, which I think now makes me a fully paid member of Prog Club!

It was an utterly magical night of incredibly talented musicians playing some incredibly difficult and imaginative music. I am so grateful to Gareth for treating me! I owe him one now! Probably more than the burger his probably still digesting!

The setlist:

Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part One
Pictures of a City
One More Red Nightmare
The End of the World (?)
The Letters
Sailor's Tale
Easy Money
The ConstruKction of Light


The Court of the Crimson King
21st Century Schizoid Man

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