So, last night I drove out to Ram’s Head on Stage in Annapolis. While I had a great time at Monday’s performance and loved every note I heard, I was hoping I wouldn’t be treated to a duplicate performance. I was not and this made a happy evening even better.
The layout was the same as Monday night, with RF on the far left facing center stage. His rack, the Solar Voyager, to his right, pedals and such arrayed in front of him, the LCG starts to his left and arcs to the front right area of the stage. And I had the honor of sitting next to “Mr. Vonnegut,” who reminded me I needed a wee bit of the McClellan 12.
On Monday, I was far too excited to listen as carefully as I did last night, and I was rewarded for my efforts. I was surprised to hear Flying. I recognized it almost immediately* and it made me laugh. I couldn’t have been happier. There were other musical surprises as well, but this is the one I remember the most.
The only fly in the ointment imo, and mind you it was a wee fly, was the crowd was not as aware of what was expected of them from RF and Co. as the Birchmere audience. This group was far too eager to applaud at the briefest of pauses in the music; the LCG did not let this deter them from continuing and usually the applause died rather quickly. There was also someone who talked a few times a bit too loudly during the silences, but he was politely but firmly asked to “Please be quiet” by someone near him and he did for the remainder of the evening.
These disturbances were minor enough to not ruin the evening. I had another great night listening to some incredible music that I will remember for the rest of my life.
The final thing I’ll mention: while waiting for the room to open pre-show, two older guys came in (hell, average age for the crowd, I felt a wee bit young at 39 :P) to pick up their tix from will call. One had a really nice camera slung over a shoulder. Looked expensive. Long story short, he had no clue as to the performer’s preferences regarding photography. I had to laugh at that as I found it incredible that there’s still people out there who don’t know this about RF. GET A CLUE PEOPLE!! Along that train of thought (“wtf?”), why were people arriving 40 minutes after the show began?
Regardless, thank you, again!, Robert Fripp and the League of Crafty Guitarists for another wonderful experience. I shall never forget it.
*- I couldn’t remember the name at the time, but as soon as I got in my car, I booted up the iPod and found it. When they were playing it, I almost felt like singing along… la la la la lalala. Thanks again!.
Great review, thanks for being there…
You talk about being feeling young in the crowd @ 39 years of age! I’m 26 and my girlfriend is 24, and let me tell you…it seemed like a 95% 40 and over crowd….no question about it. Most of those people should have just waited to see Bruce Springsteen in the up-coming months. When I learned that this concert was going to take place back in August, I bought (what I thought) were the best tickets I could get at the time, to the front-left of the stage. I bought every seat at that table because I know some crimsonites that could not miss this show! Well, we were about 3 feet from Mr. Fripp, but directly behind him. We did not have a very good view of the crafties as a whole organism, but you could still perceive the bouncing notes from ovation to ovation down the row, and the interlocking time signatures throughout the semi-circle. Although we didnt have a great view of the overall stage show, we had an EXCELLENT view of Fripp’s fancy footwork on his effects board and knob flippery on the solar voyager. It was amazing to see how he actually blends two foot-pedals (volume pedals?) with the synth-guitar sounds. It was like sitting behind a mad-scientist in his laboratory. There was one song near the beginning where he kicked in a narsty distortion and it (along with my jaw) dropped like an anvil. The music was so freakin’ HEAVY (not just the song with distortion on the geetar…those riffs the crafties played all night were just plain HEAVY)…….most of the “40 and over crowd” did not “get it” at ALL. Their annapolitan white-bread palette is not adjusted to hear these menacing riffs contrasted with beautiful, almost time-stopping circular melodies and soundscapes. The couple at the head of our table was around 45 years of age and this guy’s wife was kind of concerned about what was going on. After each song was over she would look at her hubby with this strange kind of “pat on the back, I cant beleive I married you” kind of look, and give him a contrived false smile, concealing her true feelings for this bizzare brand of music. She was frightened and confused (and I totally understand why!). The tables right up front were bought by some online ticket selling rip-off company and they were going for around $200 a seat. Some were vacant for the duration of the show. This really pissed me off because they were great seats that NO ONE got to utilize! Not that I was TOTALLY jealous, but my platoon of music-junkie crimsonites and fripp-heads deserved those seats more that the 50 year old housewives, real-estate agents, and lawyers that were sitting front row and center! It was a surprise to hear the Beatles song “flying” as well (which is my favorite cut off of magical mystery tour, next to “your mother should know”). Fripp did turn around once to greet the people who had a really shitty line of sight to the stage. I could feel the warmth of his soul as he looked at each and every one of us. You could just tell how much love and devotion he and the crafties put into each and every performance. Not to mention that this was HALLOWEEN NIGHT. I could not have asked for a more maniacal concert to attend. They all left the stage several times and came back for multiple encores…slowly reeling in the audience until the finale of vroom and mission impossible. Once again they left and returned for a few more….the last one was the LoCG in their purest form…..unplugged from the amplifiers. You are right in saying that the crowd did not have a clue about the silent parts of the show…they would applaud just as pavlov’s dog would salivate on cue. The silence created by the crafties is intended to be just that…a cleansing of the palette…a freshly streached canvas for them to apply more musical brushstrokes to, or for Fripp to use as a void to fold soundscapes into. Not only was the audience disrespectful, but during those periods of silence you could hear the entire staff in the kitchen clanging around and making chit chat…..this was just total bullshit, and I’m sure these kinds of things dont happen when they play in Argentina or Portugal. All and all it was an EXCELLENT show and despite the fact that a recording would be the lowest level of experiencing this music…I want one of the 10/31 show to bring back the memories of that terrific evening! Oh yea, my girlfriends brother noticed some Frippian humor taking place. As the crafties lined up in the beginning and warned about the no photography policy…we could see Fripp in the corner of the room laughing hysterically when they finally all said their messages in different languages AT THE SAME TIME! It was just a cacophonous mess, and it was good to see Mr. Fripp get a kick out of it. We all did to….
Thanks Robert & Co. for the great memories!
Till next time!
Don’t have so much to say as Fat Tony. I was at the Birchmere show. Great stuff. I’m also a former disc golf player. Give me a shout off-blog. / naga3717(at)yahoo(dot)com
I would love to see Mr Fripp live – thanks for sharing this.