Playlist: An Introduction to King Crimson; The Love Letters

King Crimson recently released their studio albums on streaming services — following a release of some of their live albums late last year. I always respected Robert Fripp’s decision to not make the catalog available, but it’s a good thing that this great music will be available to more people.

I made a introductory playlist to King Crimson on Apple Music.

Fripp has described Crimson as a live band. Performances are “hot dates” while the studio albums are “love letters” — hence the name of the playlist.

Studio and live are two worlds. Would you, the audience, prefer to have a love letter or a hot date? Each have their value. Crimson were always a band for a hot date. From time to time they could write a love letter, too, but for me they were better in the clinches.

I am working on a “Hot Date” playlist from the music available on the streaming services, but that might take some time to put together.

I set a constraint on my playlist that only one song from each album could be used. This provides, I think, a great overview of the breath and depth of the band. Enjoy.

The Musical Box review: From historical re-enactment to tribute band

Last night I saw The Musical Box perform their Genesis Extravaganza in Grand Rapids. I had seen the band perform a few times before in Cleveland where they recreated the tours of “Foxtrot” and “Selling England by the Pound.”

What really set them apart from other “tribute bands” was that they recreated the entire show, with the same instruments and amplifiers, stage banter, costumes and special effects. All of it came from the same time and was engrossing.

What was different about this show is that the musicians did not “play” the members of Genesis; rather, they were themselves playing the music of Genesis.

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The first section was from the “Trick of the Tail” / “Wind and Wuthering” era. The music was fine, but the vocals were, honestly, distracting. To be fair, while I like those albums, they are not my favorite.

They followed that with selections from “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.” Again, great to hear those songs performed live, but didn’t have the same effect as pervious performances. After seeing selections, I wanted to experience the whole album.

However seeing the original slides in the background was worth the performance alone. It really drove home what the band was doing on their most ambitious tour.

(The funniest moment of the night was when, just as “Back in NYC” began, a man stormed the stage like it was a heavy metal show. He turned to the audience to join him, but no one did. Security had to tell him to sit down. I sympathize. I, too, would have been bouncing around if there were no chairs.)

After the intermission, they delved into the early Genesis and Peter Gabriel work. I didn’t know if this would be similar to the shows they played in the past and was surprised when it wasn’t.

They opened with “Time Table,” followed by several songs I’m not sure Genesis frequently played live, including the great “Can-Utility and the Coastliners.”

The highlight for me was “Looking For Someone” from Tresspass, a song I haven’t really given many plays. It was a spectacular piece of Prog I have overlooked.

The Musical Box played one song that Genesis never performed live “After the Ordeal.”

“We’ve always wanted to play this live,” singer Denis Gagné said from stage. And that perfectly summarized the show. While they’ve reenacted Genesis in the past, to great effect, they are at heart fans of the music and band. They want to play their favorite songs, damn historical accuracy.

This was their time to be more like a tribute band than a historical performance, and it was a joy to witness.

 

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Website redesign, hosting changes and new name

I recently began a process of moving all of my websites over to Squarespace. For years, I’ve hosted on Wordpress and really enjoyed it, but as I’ve become more and more busy with work and other things in life, I’ve had less time to focus on the websites.

Much of the time, I found, was playing webmaster.

It’s something I enjoy, but realize more time was spent managing the site than actually writing. So I looked around and Squarespace made sense. Yes, it costs a more than what I was paying before, but the simplicity is worth it (right now).

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