Concert Review: King Crimson, November 21, Queen Elizabeth Theatre



As I was making my way out of The Queen Elizabeth Theatre after Saturday night’s King Crimson show, I overheard someone behind me remark to his friend, “Well, we Crimmed.” I wasn’t aware before this that “Crim” was a verb, but I suppose it makes sense. King Crimson has built up a dedicated fanbase over the course of their career and those fans, many of whom surely thought they’d never get another chance to see the band after Robert Fripp announced his retirement a few years back, were ready to experience something. This experience can apparently be described as “Crimming.” (Which actually sounds a bit dirty now that I think about it … but I digress)

For their part, King Crimson are keen to make each show an experience, as the audience became aware in the lead up to the show, the last in the band’s three night stand in Toronto. Before the show, ushers were informing people of the band’s photo policy, which was clearly stated on signs up on the stage and posted around the lobby.

Though they asked the crowd to refrain from using any devices during the show, the band did offer a reasonable compromise – when they stopped playing and bassist Tony Levin took out his camera, this was a signal that fans would then be allowed to take pictures. It was actually kind of amusing and endearing to watch Levin and Fripp snapping photos of the crowd, although some part of me suspects that this was also about Fripp turning the tables and taking the piss out of photo happy crowds – a “let’s see how you like it” move. Something else tells me that the crowd liked it just fine.

As for the show itself, King Crimson is an impressive force. Though each member of the band are masterful players, perhaps the most impressive element of the show (and certainly the most visually striking) was the trio of drummers placed at the front of the stage. Bill Rieflin, Pat Mastelotto, and Gavin Harrison’s interlocking rhythms were a thing to behold and at times they almost seemed to work as one drummer with six arms – kind of like that squid in those old Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Other highlights from their career spanning set included “The Construkction Of Light,” “Epitaph,” and the set closing “21st Century Schizoid Man.” And as they ended their set and a few more photos were snapped, we went on our way, having satisfactorily Crimmed.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts