King Crimson – Salford 11th September

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21313955272_725a9894be_zVenue – The Lowry, Salford
Gig Buddies – None.
Gig Booty – Two shirts, a tour book (with two CDs) and a badge set.

I still feel like I’m struggling to find the right words to describe the experience but here goes –

I’ll be honest, it had never crossed my mind that I’d have a chance to seen Crimson – I’m reconciled with the fact that a lot of the people I like are either retired or no longer with us – so when it was announced that a new incarnation of the band was to play my home city how could I not leap at the chance? (And my actual home city, not Manchester for a change!)

The Lowry is very plush and purple inside and, at least from the perspective of being seated downstairs, it feels very intimate. I was at the side of the auditorium, a handful of rows from the back and it was still a good view. At this point I am compelled to point out how fab the audience was around me. The gentleman who ended up sat in front of me was pretty tall and he actually took the time to ask if he was obscuring my view too much and tried to sit as low as he comfortably could. I can’t recall that ever happening at a gig before, at least not with someone I didn’t know. (Tall friends at standing gigs usually let me stand in front of them)

Back to the gig – the stage set up was a tad different to most gigs. The three drummers were lined up on the front of the stage and rest of the ensemble was on a riser along the back, including Robert Fripp who spent the whole gig perched on a little chair appearing almost oblivious to the fact there was an audience most of the time.

At a lot of gigs, three drummers would have been overwhelming, especially in a small venue like this, but the sound was stunning in both the emotional and technical sense. The interplay of the percussion was fascinating to watch.

The audience around me took it all in with not much more than an intake of breath at the recognition of a favourite track or an excited hiss of quick whispers during the applause. Mesmerising is the word I keep coming back to about the experience. The was no idle chatter from the stage, no faux banter, just the music.

A friendly announcement at the beginning politely requested that technology be put away for the duration, and largely it was. There was a small flurry of attempts to grab a quick snap on mobiles while the band took their applause at the end of the night but other than that the wishes of the band were mostly respected.

A more than satisfactory setlist, a truly astonishing performance and a very appreciative audience made the whole thing my favourite gig of the year so far.

King Crimson Setlist The Lowry, Manchester, England 2015, The Elements of King Crimson

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