Thursday, November 15, 2018

King Crimson @ Olympia, Paris - November 15th, 2018

I sold my children's kidneys to make sure I would get the best seats to see those eight hunks play their greatest hit singles and I have to say I was most disappointed at the lack of props, smoke bombs and pyro. Also these guys can't dance for shit. It's like they weren't even trying! I was also told by a security guy I wouldn't be able to film the whole set with my phone and that was the last straw! Joke's on them, I did manage to get some pictures, hahaha!
What can I tell you that you don't already know? The band is phenomenal. Probably the best it's ever been. It has elements of every incarnation. Some bits bring back memories of the Double Trio, others harken back to the '73 era... but despite a setlist that's heavy on oldies, this isn't a nostalgia show. It's also not a prog rock concert. In fact I could list all the things that it's not... But what it actually is eludes me still. It's mysterious, it's magical. It's dense, intense, crazy, funny. It's loud as fuck (and fuck knows fuck can be loud) and it's absolutely relentless in its crushing heaviness. Except when it's delicate, ethereal, barely there... Sometimes it's hard trying to find a focus point. They are building something as an ensemble but each player is also building a coherent structure of their own. But sometimes the whole thing is staggering by its pure simplicity. Or its simple purity. Whatever makes the most sense. 

I don't smoke anymore, I seldom drink, I'm married and faithful. Going to concerts is my last vice. I go to a lot of gigs, very different gigs. From jazz to metal, r&b to blues, pop to classical. In all the concerts I've seen, never I have seen such an organic combination of cerebral, emotional and even physical. Because at times these guys can even get quite funky. (The question must have been asked before: is there a KC composition that could be considered appropriate background music for lovemaking? Maybe one of their long improvs from the seventies?)

I'm a somewhat recent convert. I just turned forty (yikes!) and the first time I saw KC was in 2003, and although the band was in a wildly different incarnation my experience was similar. I then saw them thrice in 2015, twice in 2016 and I am seeing them three times on this run. KC has always eluded definitions, confounded expectations and defied conventions while hono(u)ring traditions and I can't wait to see them do just that again tomorrow and the next day. 

Check out the other King Crimson and KC-related shows reviewed on the blog here:

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