Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Thursday 20 November 2003

Hotel Quite Acceptable Mexico City


Hotel Quite Acceptable, Mexico City.

Pat & Trey have just left the lobby with Bill Munyon & David Norman (our Production Manager) for the airport & flying home. Next time were our parting words.

Last night's performance was the final show in this completion tour, the completion of this particular stage of King Crimson activity (1999-2003) & this particular incarnation, Line-Up Seven.

A completion has potential: nothing is lost, something is gained, something becomes available. Everything is as it was; it is also different.

So, what is the next stage in Crimson's process? January 13th. 2004 is King Crimson's 35th. birthday, five life cycles since the original five young men met in the basement of a cafÈ on Fulham Palace Road. For the 35th. Anniversary Year I have suggested to the other members that:

1. We re-activate The Fifth Man, Tony Levin. Tony has agreed to return to active service in King Crimson. Currently, the plan is for rehearsals to be held at Studio Belewbeloid in the second half of April; then again in June, with a view to King Crimson Line-Up Eight being on full-call for July 2004.

2. Trey moves to The Fifth Man role while TLev becomes re-activated.

3. Once Tony is re-Crimsonised, The Fifth Man is called back to Crimson service, and Trey becomes Crimson-active/available once more.

4. This gives three viable King Crimson performing incarnations:

Quartet: AB, RF, PM, TL >Line-Up Eight
Double Duo: AB, RF, PM, TG >Line-Up Seven
Quintet: AB, RF,PM,TG, TL >Line-Up Nine.

5. All five Crimson members to be in current ongoing-active mode for Crimson ProjeKcting: freewheeling, spontaneous, mobile improv & performance. Initially, this is likely to take place at Studio Belewbeloid. The aims are to generate new material:

for Crimson repertoire;
for music to be made available through new technologies such as the about-to-be-becoming DGM subscription website (incorporating the intent of BootlegTV).

During the Eurotour, I asked Trey to consider the KC Quintet option but, at that time, it didn't appeal to him. I'm hoping that, once TLev is re-activated, it will. Trey has also told me, on this tour, that he has achieved his youthful ambitions as a musician. I have tried to get away from the music industry on several occasions, and failed each time. I hope that Trey is just as successful.

Last night's performance:

Wednesday 19th. November:

Soundcheck was fraught. A new rig to be settled, cable connections not being made, or being made in the wrong place. Onstage, a monitoring nightmare, the sound a distant echoing in a vast chamber that is the Auditorium: a place not designed for music.

Santa Sabina very interesting. I listened & watched front of house and on both sides of the stage. I would like to see them in a smaller & more personal venue, but they were strong & deservedly very well received.

The Crimson performance may or may not have been a musical event, but it was an event. The distance between what-Crimson-could-offer & what-the-venue-allowed was filled by the audience. There is something remarkable about an audience with simple generosity, rather than a generosity tainted by consumer rights which follow the handing-over of hard-earned pay. And when it comes to The Handing Over Of Hard-Earned Pay, an American or European audient has little to offer in instruction on the pain it holds, to someone from a less fortunate country. Not even Mr. Clueless of Budapest, the authority on consumer rights & audience suffering.

Mexico City had the quality of audiences I remember from the early Crimson performing days: greater innocence, directness, connection, contribution, support of the performer. And almost no flashes in an audience of 5,000.

The sound was difficult, leaving the playing to be in faith & despite all sensory input. The final encore-encore, Frame By Frame, took us all by surprise: the FOH & monitoring soundboards were both unplugged & unset. Ade had no vocal monitor and sang to echo coming back from the hall. I need Ade's guitar loud, to lock into his part, but that wasn't on offer either. And the Rhythm Buddies had their own concerns. But in the spirit of things, you jump & keep going.

In the final resort, none of the difficulties matter: what matters is to honour the moment. Tonight, both performers & audience did honour to each other, and to the music. It was wonderful. If this were an example of contemporary performance culture, the world would be different.

The band held A Completion Fisting in the dressing-room afterwards, actually twice because we hadn't anticipated going back for Frame.

15.04 The sun is shining, the sky is mostly blue with an impressive pollution haze that hovers over this city of 25 million, with 100 million total in the region.

Packing is at 99%, the final 1% being this computer. Lobby call is 15.30 for our flight to LAX. My flight is not direct to the UK so I have an overnight at an airport hotel before flying back to the Little Luvvie tomorrow, landing Saturday noon. We have a lunch date. Yippee!