In July of 2005, the late great Roger Ebert, film critic of the Chicago Sun Times said while he was given a star dedication in his honor that proclaimed in honor his work as a critic for Roger Ebert Day, said, “We all are born with a certain package. We are who we are. Where we were born, who we were born as, how we were raised. We’re kind of stuck inside that person, and the purpose of civilization and growth, is to be able to reach out and empathize a little bit with other people. And for me, the movies are like a machine that generates empathy.” We’re different, and we have a different certain taste of what we do and it’s quite understandable that the movies are like a machine.
Going to a concert, is like watching the show right in front of your eyes and being in awe of what you saw from start to finish. And it’s hard to understand why King Crimson are still going strong since coming back again in 2013. This time, they’ve released another live album which is a part of the King Crimson Collectors Club. This is an official bootleg release recorded during the summer of this year on June 28th at the Chicago Theatre for the Radical Action tour.
When you listen to this 2-CD set, it’s like going back for another round with the maestro to see what Robert Fripp will think of next. Listening to this recording, you can close your eyes and imagine yourself being at one of their performances as if they’re ready for another round to give the audience what they want.
From the moment Robert knew that after their stand-out performance last year in Vienna, Chicago is the place to raise the bars higher by releasing the big massive guns for the current eighth-headed beast. Not only that, but they’ve performed some of the pieces in which they’ve never performed before since 1971. Including Cirkus (Including Entry of the Chameleons) and the last 11-minute piece of The Lizard Suite from their third album, Lizard.
It’s not just going to be a prog-rock show, but a concert and movie inside your mind. And I love how on Cirkus, Mel Collins does this little fanfare for the Greatest Show on Earth to begin. The suite is perhaps a standing ovation. It’s like a tidal wave ready for the beast to embark one of the most challenging parts in the epic. And it is nailed down perfectly.
I can imagine the audience being in awe of hearing those two compositions being performed again. Along with the 2-part pieces that is like an eruptive powder keg ready to explode at any minute of Larks Tongues’ in Aspic. The bell effect on Pictures of a City is a little intro followed by a seas crashing and birds chirping in the distance before it goes into a volcanic explosion.
And with a sonic speed through, the drum sections, Tony’s bass, Jakko, and Robert go into the attack mode followed by the stop-and-go moment as Mel’s sax blare into the darkness. Listening on here with them going through the Adrian Belew-era of the ‘80s ‘era of King Crimson (Discipline, Beat, and Three of a Perfect Pair) with Indiscipline that begins on the second disc, the double quartet adds the mysteries and clues that are shattered all over the floor before getting the pieces back up to the crowds cheering.
And then all of a sudden, comes this blaring effect that gives you some ideas to follow the tracks, step-by-step. Jakko sings the lyrics as the guitar melody follow him as Levin’s Chapman Stick and Vocals help him through the case scenarios. The three-beast drums as if they are scoring a chase sequence on Neurotica before Tony and Mel follow pursuit and the blasting of the chords on the first 2 minutes and 37 seconds.
Robert is walking through a dangerous tightrope and never knowing if the rope is going to be cut loose as he goes through some of the challenging moments on the frets before the band ends with an abrupt cliffhanger ending. Radical Action II which appears on the 3-CD set, Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind, is an interesting instrumental.
You can tell that the brutal beast has been unleashed and showing no sign of giving up for finding its feast and hunger for human flesh. The live version of here, is almost describing about the future is now in sudden hell and Crimson is giving the full details on what’s going on right now and what is about to come in the 22nd century. There’s also a new track that made its world premiere at the Chicago Theatre which is Jakko’s composition, The Errors.
It has an experimental yet futuristic tribal atmosphere and it deals with reflecting through the hallways of mirrors, realizing that while what you have done was wrong, there is a slight chance of hope of fixing them and making sure that will never happen again. The drums do this section between Harrison, Mastelotto, and Stacey do as if it’s (no-pun intended) a perfect pair of three to make it sound like a steel working machine as if they are walking through the mines.
They always want to make sure that the late great David Bowie gets some honor with their take of Heroes. It is always a big stamp of approval for Robert creating the guitar to alter the feedback and almost as if he’s nodding his head up whilst looking towards the heavens to show a nod for the Thin White Duke.
Now Jakko Jakszyk, whether you admire him or not, he is very good at both playing guitar and singing. There’s lines divided in the sand whether to accept him or not, but’s for him to sing these songs, he’s done a good job. For example when you listen to The Letters from their fourth studio album, Islands, he sings very smoothly and not trying to rip Boz’s vocals, but to stay true and honor the music.
Mel’s sax goes through a free-jazz improvisation as it moves from raunchy to an alarming roar that cries out into the night followed by the drumming crescendos and Fripp going from a crystal ball-sque sound to shattering brainstorms. But who couldn’t forget the closer that started everything off 48 years ago of 21st Century Schizoid Man. It closes the second disc by clocking in at 15-minutes, it’s the beast coming together as one by reigning terror.
The eight piece keeps the flames burning more and more by going through some improvisational jazz rock from Mel, Tony, and the three-headed drum Beast by creating ideas in the midsection that made my eyebrows go up. Mastelotto, Harrison, and Stacey go through an incredible drum duel between the three of them as they go through and race as if someone who will can make it to the finish line. You can imagine that you and the audience are in awe and shouting for them to keep going and supporting them more and more.
Live in Chicago as I’ve mentioned before, is you closing your eyes and being at one of their performances and seeing the eight-piece really giving love and support to show that they’re not going anywhere. Staying true honoring the legacies of Greg Lake, Boz Burrell, and John Wetton, it’s a return to know that their spirits and honor will be in their music forever and ever.
The doors are still continuing to punch down for more adventures of King Crimson and seeing where will they come up with next. And so, let’s drink and have a toast for the Court of the Crimson King.